The Problem

The greatest deficits in the Indigenous arts world are a shortage of venues to show work, a lack of understanding about Indigenous art in mainstream art spaces, counterfeiting, and overall economic hardship.

Solution Summary

By creating a space for high-end collectors to purchase unique and beautiful works from individual artists and educating our customers about what makes Indigenous art special, Iapi Gallery will stimulate the economy of our communities and foster the evolution of our art and cultural forms.

Iapi Gallery will focus on creating economic opportunities through the arts in order to foster the development of tribal cultural and artistic resources. As the work of Indigenous artists gains worldwide prominence, Iapi Gallery will highlight multidimensional perspectives of Indigenous artists engaging in critical approaches to creating and exposing our deep relationships to each other and the world around us. Iapi Gallery can create a venue for Indigenous art to be sold and collected—a place where people can learn about contemporary Indigenous art through beautifully curated shows.  


  • Iapi means “they speak” in Dakota.

Market Opportunity

  • An estimated 30 percent of all Native peoples are practicing or potential artists and most live below the poverty line.
  • The Indian Arts and Crafts Board (IACB) within the US Department of the Interior promotes the economic development of American Indians and Alaska Natives of federally recognized Tribes through the expansion of the Indian arts and crafts market. The IACB provides promotional opportunities, general business advice, and information on the Indian Arts and Crafts Act to Native American artists.
  • The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 is a truth-in-advertising law that prohibits misrepresentation in the marketing of Indian arts and crafts products within the US to maintain integrity and avoid counterfeit production

Organization Goals

  • Create a business plan
  • Obtain sustainable financing
  • Identify an excellent gallery location
  • Connect with artists to represent Oceti Sakowin and other tribal communities regionally, nationally, and internationally

Partnership Goals

  • Provide business strategy
  • Website development
  • Financing 
  • Location scouting
  • Tribal museum connections
  • Cultural resource office connections

Fellow Team


Medford, MA, USA

Project Stage: 


Working in:

United States

Team Members: 



Solution Team:

Indigenous Communities Fellowship

Supporting Indigenous Arts

Fellow Iapi Gallery, which supports economic vitality through Indigenous fine arts, received a $10,000 grant from Solve in 2019 for being selected as an Indigenous Communities Fellow.

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