Standing True to Our Values With Our Conference Art

Standing True to Our Values With Our Conference Art

Elyse Gordon

Every year at Philanthropy Northwest, we take great care in choosing imagery for our conference that reflects the place and character of our host city. We have multiple conversations with our staff, the local representatives on our conference committee, and members from our region. This year, we are extremely proud of the collaborative effort that produced our 2019 conference artwork for our theme: ROOTED. GROUNDED. GROWING. In partnership with Native-owned Eighth Generation, we commissioned this piece as a reminder to us all: every place we call home, every place we practice our philanthropy, has original inhabitants and stewards who are the first peoples of this land. Here in Seattle, we are guests on Duwamish land, part of the larger Coast Salish territory. It is our responsibility as the philanthropic sector to be the best partners we can be to the many tribes, Urban Indians and Native communities who call Alaska and the Northwest home. One of the ways we are expressing that partnership is by directly support native cultural artists, while also using that artwork to foster greater understanding among our members. Our forthcoming report on powerful philanthropic partnerships with Alaska Native and Native American communities across our region will deepen that learning. If you're interested in supporting native artists and culture workers more directly, please consider partnering with Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, Potlatch Fund, First Alaskans Institute and First People's Fund in nearby South Dakota to name a few. See below to learn more about the artist and Eighth Generation. As always, please let us know if you have any questions about our conference and our process. You can see the full, original artwork, online.

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Artist Statement

Louie Gong, M.Ed. (Nooksack) is a self-taught artist and entrepreneur who is widely recognized for his contemporary Coast Salish artwork and the groundbreaking business practices established through Eighth Generation.  

This unique butterfly—composed of two abstract eagles on either side of the Space Needle—is Louie's homage to a city undergoing rapid transformation. It stands as a reminder to both long-time Seattleites and recent transplants that the city's character is rooted in its rich history and communities, and an understanding of this history should lead our decision making as we plan for the future.

Eighth Generation—first Native-owned company to ever produce wool blankets—provides a strong, ethical alternative to “Native-inspired” art and products through its artist-centric approach and 100% Native designed products. Eighth Generation’s Inspired Natives Project, anchored by the tagline “Inspired Natives, not Native-inspired,” builds business capacity among cultural artists while addressing the economic impact of cultural appropriation. Visit Eighth Generation's store online or in-person when you are in Seattle for the conference; they are located in historic Pike Place Market.