Since 2010, the Artisan Fund has sponsored at least one artisan to attend the annual International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, where 150+ master folk artists from 60 countries gather to promote their work and celebrate culture. In 2022, the Artisan Fund sponsored the Tally Assuit Women's Collective, a group of multigenerational textile artisans from Egypt, and Tomomi Kamoshita, a Japanese artisan who specializes in kintsugi, the ancient art of mending broken pottery with golden lacquer.
Lindblad Expeditions believes in forming meaningful relationships with the people who live in the places they share with guests. One way they help bolster local communities is by supporting local artisans through the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic (LEX-NG) Artisan Fund. Launched in 2007, the LEX-NG Artisan Fund helps empower artisan communities by offering training programs, supplying workspaces and equipment, issuing grants for local projects benefiting artisans, and educating shipboard guests on the value of buying handmade goods. Because when you buy artisanal handcrafts, you’re not only acquiring an object of quality and beauty, but you’re also making a difference in an artisan’s life.
Shipboard Shopping with a Purpose
Lindblad Expeditions is unique in that 5% of sales made in the fleetwide, shipboard Global Galleries are automatically directed toward the LEX-NG Artisan Fund, creating a renewable cycle of support for artisan communities worldwide.
The Lindblad-National Geographic Artisan Fund, conceived by Sven Lindblad, Founder of Lindblad Expeditions, positively affects the communities in which we explore—a core value of Lindblad Expeditions.
Supporting a First Nations community as they work to preserve endangered culture
In February 2019, Lindblad Expeditions hosted a multi-generational group of Kwakwaka’wakw chiefs, elders, and artists from the U’mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay, British Columbia in their New York office. The group shared traditional song and dance with Lindblad staff in appreciation of their longstanding support of the Kwakwaka’wakw community.
Lindblad’s relationship with this First Nations community runs deep—they’ve been bringing guests to Alert Bay for 30 years and introducing them to the Kwakwaka’wakw’s culture, history, and traditions. At the U’mista Cultural Centre—which ships in the Lindblad-National Geographic fleet called at 12 times in 2019—guests are treated to a similar performance by a larger group of singers and dancers from the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations in their spectacular ceremonial Big House. Guests also have the opportunity to visit exhibits on display, including the world-renowned Potlatch Collection which includes ceremonial regalia surrendered under duress in 1922 during the era when the potlatch ceremony was illegal in Canada.
Empowering Artisans Around the World
In 2008, the Artisan Fund launched the Glass Adaptive Reuse project to bring glass working equipment and training to artisans in Galápagos. Participants at these workshops learn how to recycle glass bottles—which would normally go through the expensive and energy-consuming process of being shipped off the islands for disposal—turning them into beautiful works of art and utility.
In collaboration with nonprofit Minga Peru, the Artisan Fund helped fund the creation of 25 new radio broadcast segments about artisan development, empowering artisans in the Upper Amazon with tips and training on handcraft design, best business practices, the use of sustainable natural materials, and more. In an area without internet and where radio is the primary means of information sharing, this powerful project reached over 120,000 listeners in remote regions of the Amazon.
In Southeast Alaska and British Columbia, Lindblad Expeditions has supported efforts by First Nations communities to preserve endangered art forms like Raven Tail weaving and Spruce-Root weaving, and funded a project that enabled a local artisan to research and recreate (through carving) a culturally-significant Kwakwaka’wakw rattle that was previously thought to be lost to time.
Artisans in the Galápagos are transforming paper waste into beautiful beaded jewelry—with support from the Artisan Fund. In 2011, the Artisan Fund invited Ugandan bead-maker Sarah Akot to host the first of several “paper to pearls” workshops for local residents in Galápagos. Today, artisans like Daysi Patiño of Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz (pictured), continue to pass on the skills they learned, fostering an ongoing, decade-long legacy of sustainable handcraft development.