Karen Barrett

photographer / filmmaker / activist

photographer / filmmaker / activist


Karen Barrett is a photographer, documentary filmmaker and community organizer.  In 2012 she founded the Vision+Makers of Red Lake Nation, an innovative program dedicated to using digital media as a tool for healing.  She currently stands In Progress's lead contact and organizer in Red Lake and is acting as a curator for our upcoming EXCHANGE TOUR program, scheduled to launch June 2018. 

Karen is a self-taught artist, learning by working with others.  She seeks mentors and collaborators of all ages in the creative process.  Her work centers around the value of history and culture, specifically as it relates to life in Red Lake.   "The importance of knowing I can create and have a vision will always help me to become a stronger artist. When the vision is there then I am eager to be creative. And always having and feeling the passion of being able to create something beautiful.  And investing more time in my art."


  • photography

  • chemical health professional

  • cultural educator

  • community organizer

  • curator


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The Way of the Drum / Rough Draft           © 2017

Artist Statement

Describing my core artist style is basically using my Native culture in ways to teach others and myself about preserving our culture for future generations. I love to take photos and create  meaningful stories that people can be moved by in every sense.  The style of my art in photos help me bridge generations and community together and it brings  out awareness of my pride the imagery of tribal life existing in photographs, stories, song and dance and the tribal people. I get excited when I see what I can capture behind the lens and in digital stories.  Having a connection with my spirit and culture brings out the creativeness in my soul and I am able give through my art in many ways as possible.

My main motivation is seeing the beauty in progressive visions and working on that vision to make something to celebrate, raise awareness, enjoy and make others happy and make myself happy.  The importance of expressing me creatively feeds my spirit and the energy I feel from that I can share with others to help them to be positive, feel love, and express their good creative vibes. I want to make the community a better place and if I can share my art it helps me heal, learn, express, and teach.