Nine Talented Native American Youth Artists Selected for SWAIA's Inaugural NextGen Intensive Performing Arts Workshop

Share Article

SWAIA's NextGen Intensive Performing Arts Workshop will explore art, traditional and contemporary music and dance, and spoken word. Nine select Native youth will work with four artist mentors to create a stage production at The Lodge Hotel on November 17th.

Artist Mentors Louie Gong, Ehren Kee Natay, Michelle St. John, Brian Frejo

The NextGen SWAIA Intensive Performing Arts Workshop on November 16-17 will explore art, traditional and contemporary music and dance, and spoken word. Nine Native youth, Soorwhee Chewiwi (Isleta), Qootsvenma Denipah-Cook (Ohkay Owingeh), Chamisa Edd (Diné), Santana Edd (Diné), Sierra Edd (Diné), Ashleigh Hale (Prairie Band Potawatomi/Sioux), Thur-Shaan Montoya (Isleta Pueblo), Louvah Silver (Diné), and SWAIA Class X Film winner Forrest Goodluck (Diné/Mandan/Hidatsa/Tsimshian) have been selected to attend SWAIA’s inaugural program. Throughout the workshop weekend, the students will paint sets, write, sing, and dance under the mentorship of renowned Native artists and performers Brian Frejo, Louie Gong, Ehren Kee Natay, and Michelle St. John. The weekend will conclude with a performance on Sunday, November 17, 3 p.m. at The Lodge Hotel in Santa Fe. The performance is free and open to the public.

About the mentors:

Brian Frejo (Pawnee/Seminole) is a cultural activist, motivational speaker, youth advocate, actor, musician, photographer and DJ. He is a member of the Grammy–nominated drum group Young Bird and plays the Native American flute. Additionally, Frejo has appeared in over twenty feature films and television series in his career.

Louie Gong (Nooksack) is an educator, artist, and activist. Gong is the founder of Eighth Generation, which combines elements of Salish icons and urban pop culture to create art that speaks to questions and statements on identity and culture. Gong is known for his workshops around the world, his partnerships with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, and has been featured on NBC News, in the New York Times, and Native Peoples Magazine. Gong was also named in Native Max Magazine's list of the "Top 10 Inspirational Natives: Past and Present."

Ehren Kee Natay (Diné/Kewa) is a musician, dancer, actor, painter, and jeweler. Natay has toured the nation as a professional drummer and has been awarded various fellowships for his work as an artist, including the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian Fellowship and the SWAIA/Heritage Hotels Rising Artists Fellowship. Natay designed t-shirts and merchandise for the 2013 Santa Fe Indian Market Artist Designed Collection.

Michelle St. John (Wampanoag) is a two-time Gemini Award winning actor with over 30 years of experience in film, theatre, voice, and music. Her film credits include Smoke Signals, Northern Exposure, and The Business of Fancy Dancing. For ten years she was the co-managing artistic director for the award winning play The Scrubbing Project and co-founded the Native women’s theatre company Turtle Gals Performance Ensemble based in Toronto. St. John is currently a producing partner for Frog Girl Films.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Tailinh Agoyo
Follow us on
Visit website