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Larry McNeil awarded NDN Collective Radical Imagination grant

Larry McNeil working alongside curator Steve Henrickson at the Alaska State Museum in Juneau, Alaska.
Larry McNeil working alongside curator Steve Henrickson at the Alaska State Museum in Juneau, Alaska. Photo courtesy of McNeil.

Larry McNeil, professor of photography in the Department of Art, Design and Visual Studies, received a $50,000 Radical Imagination grant for 2022-2023 to support his creative research as an artist and scholar from the NDN Collective. A dedicated philanthropic organization, the NDN Collective builds Indigenous power through activism, grantmaking, capacity-building and narrative change. 

According to their website, the Radical Imagination grant is “intended to support Indigenous artists to imagine, design, and create projects proposing solutions to our most intractable societal problems.” Since receiving the award, McNeil has used the research funds to travel to museums and cultural organizations and make new art. 

Per McNeil, his research as a scholar and artist connect with his current writing and art projects. McNeil will be in the group exhibition “Native Photography” at the Minneapolis Institute of Art in the fall of 2023. The exhibition was co-created by a curatorial committee of Indigenous scholars and non-Native historians. The grant also helped free time for McNeil to write an essay for the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York catalog for the artist Juane Quick-to-See Smith, which was recently published. McNeil also has current work at the Denver Art Museum exhibition “Speaking with Light.”

The Radical Imagination grant allowed McNeil to dedicate more time to outreach to museums, and the New Mexico Museum of Art is acquiring his art for their collection. McNeil’s works in progress involved traveling to the Alaska State Museum in Juneau and the Anchorage Fine Arts Museum, researching Chilkat robes in their respective collections. He worked with curators to photograph many of the rarefied robes. The grant allows for this new work due to the time-consuming and expensive nature of the research.

More information on the NDN Collective and the Radical Imagination grant can be found at