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Background

In late 2023 the Newark Earthworks became one of eight locations designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites in Ohio, becoming host to international visitors interested in learning about the indigenous peoples of this area and the magnificent ceremonial earthworks the Hopewell peoples created. GCA supports not only raising the awareness about these powerful ceremonial places but also more importantly giving agency to the many living (contemporary) cultures directly linked through millennia to these monumental historic sites. Native American artists have the capacity to create that link, clearly demonstrating through their own qualitative processes the proposition that the ancient sites are part of a living culture.

The residency will extend GCA’s mission of developing greater awareness of Ohio’s cultural treasures, the Hopewell ceremonial earthworks, creating a parallel appreciation of the living cultures of contemporary indigenous people through the visual and verbal storytelling of Native American artists.

Equity and justice underlie our mission.  An artists residency will initiate a qualitative process to begin eradicating “the presence of the absence” or the irrevocable loss and cultural vacuum created when Ohio’s tribal groups were forcibly removed from their homeland and placed in ‘camps’ or reservations forever, far from their true spiritual place of origin.

Significantly the noticeable absence of Ohio’s tribal groups can be interrupted by the presence of contemporary Native American artists creating and producing visual and verbal messaging using the same universal worldview as Ohio’s ‘removed’ tribal groups and also their ancient Hopewell era founders.

The indigenous artist residency will enhance the visibility of contemporary indigenous artists from a range of tribes, raising awareness of a Native American presence in Ohio—a state where tribal communities once flourished but today struggle to attain acknowledgement and agency. Our intention is to invite Native American artists from across North American to directly experience the Hopewell ceremonial earthworks and to reflectively create artworks viewed through the living lens of indigenous heritage and worldview.

How are we doing this?

Artists are selected from across the spectrum, established artists as well as young emerging artists.  The application and selection process is robust, inclusive and balanced. Funding grants help GCA to waive application fees and all artists are encouraged to apply regardless of formal training.

Who are we collaborating with?

GCA has the support of Denison University, The Newark Earthworks Center, Explore Licking County and the Ohio History Connection.

What are we looking for?

GCA is looking to expand its vision of a future in which the inscribed ceremonial World Heritage sites will be seen as something more than archeological tourist attractions.  We want central Ohio, home of the Newark Earthworks, to be recognized for supporting and appreciating diverse cultures through the arts, while championing underrepresented indigenous artists.  We are building a program for Native American artists to receive support and freely present their indigenous creativity

Outcome

The envisioned outcome for the Artist Residency program is a specifically Native American body of work or collection, inspired by and responding to the sites, initiating a shift in perception and amplifying the Native American voice, bringing greater awareness and appreciation of these magnificent ceremonial monuments.

The Great Circle Alliance (GCA) is a non-profit organization created to develop and offer public programs, exhibits, and an indigenous artist residency with the aim of bringing a more contemporary voice to the ancient ceremonial sites of the Newark Earthworks.

Help us to preserve the history, art and ancient monumental indigenous sites of Ohio