The Flagstaff Arts Council has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant to support Trauma & Hope in a Poisoned Land, a 2017 project and art exhibition that will explore uranium mining poisoning and contamination on Navajo lands, and its effect on people and the environment.

Trauma & Hope will educate and train select artists through a week-long intensive session on the impact of uranium mining on the Navajo people and land. After the training, artists will transform their learning into new art for the exhibition which will open in August 2017 at the Coconino Center for the Arts. This project follows the model of the award-winning 2015 exhibition Fires of Change, in which selected artists were trained by fire scientists and managers about the impact of wildfires in Northern Arizona.

Atlas Uranium Mine tailings alongside Colorado River at Moab, Utah

Atlas Uranium Mine tailings alongside Colorado River at Moab, Utah. Photo by Michael Collier.

The NEA grant for $60,000 will provide funding to cover the work and materials of the participating artists, and also fund the training – including site visits, conversations and forums with Navajo residents – and presentations from scientists, health practitioners, and social workers. Remaining grant funds will cover associated costs such as speakers’ fees, signage, promotion, and documentation. The Arts Council must match NEA funding, so the overall project budget exceeds $120,000.

Trauma & Hope will open in August 2017 at the Coconino Center for the Arts in Flagstaff, Arizona. More information about the project will be posted on this site later in 2016.