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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Mescalero Artist Awarded Art Grant
by Jessica Palmer - Alamogordo News

Davis to teach traditional Native American arts and crafts

Mescalero artist Raul Davis was awarded funds from the Emerging Native American Artist grant.

Davis was featured in the October issue of the Native Hoop magazine and in Native People in August.

The grant is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and sponsored by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The grant was received by the Board of Regents of Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute. It is administered by the Board of Regents of SIPI. The 11-member board represents and are appointed by several tribes, including: Jicarilla and Mescalero Apache; the Navajo, both New Mexico and Arizona; 8 northern Pueblos; 10 southern Pueblos; the Southern Ute; the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona; the Joint Oklahoma Tribes, and the Great Plains Tribal Chairman's Association, along with the SIPI student senate.

The grant is part of the Proficiency, Pride and Prosperity, Economics Built on Traditional Skills. SIPI and grant recipients will provide instruction in traditional arts and crafts to at least 100 people each year. It is also designed to provide instruction in small business management to at least 60 people per year, with the idea of establishing their own business, and assist a minimum of five people in marketing and managing a business that features authentic traditional arts and crafts or traditional food items.

Davis was one of the 100 chosen. He could not estimate how much money he will receive, but he said, "This is a wonderful program. Anyone can apply. You have to show your CIB, Certificate of Indian Blood."

The grant will furnish the art supplies for Davis and other funded artists. He has already received glass, oils and pastels from Hobby Lobby.

Davis works in various mediums—such as glass etching; wood burning; antler art creating lamps, tables, jewelry and buttons with elk or deer horn; carvings in both wood and stone, drip art and ledger art.

He also received a computer, software and table and chair. He is working on putting a website together.

The grant also funds trips for artists to show their work.

"It pays for the booth, registration fees and hotel if I travel out of town for an art show," Davis said.

Davis must pass on his skills and teach others in Native American arts as part of his obligation.

"Through this grant we are able to give back to the community. I'm putting on a wood burning class and the grant will provide all the wood for the students," Davis said.

He will be doing photography and Indian basketball prints.

He hopes not only to pass on his skills, but also to open a store in Ruidoso where he can showcase his pieces and those of other Mescalero artists.

"One thing for sure I want to open my own art studio and an art gallery for my people," Davis said.

He plans to call it Native Soul Arts.

He wants his success to inspire others.

"I feel like I'm being catapulted into the art world. I want other Mescalero to use this economic engine," Davis said.

To this end, he has donated his favorite piece to an auction which will be taking place in the SIPI gymnasium in Albuquerque today.

"It is a drip painting of a horse," he said.

The proceeds from the raffle and auction will be used to fund other Native American artists. For more information about the program, call 505-346-7709.

Davis has mixed ancestry. His mother is Mescalero Apache while his father is a Baptist minister and a descendent of Buffalo Soldiers 10A Cavalry Regiment based in Fort Union, Las Vegas.

He embraces both cultures.

"I hold onto my heritage and my culture," Davis said. "Every single piece I dedicate to my late mother and my late sister."

Davis' art is on display and for sale at the White Sands National Monument Trading Gift Shop and Tanners' Traditions in Ruidoso.

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