IAIA will present the IAIA Making History Symposium on October 17, 2022, a day-long illumination of the school’s sixty-year evolution from an arts-focused Native American high school to a technologically advanced college.
The Institute of American Indian Arts has come a long way from its early days as a high school funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to where it is now—a world-class institution devoted to creating, interpreting, and preserving ground-breaking contemporary Indigenous arts. On October 17, 2022, IAIA will present the IAIA Making History Symposium, a day-long illumination of its sixty-year evolution from an arts-focused Native American high school on the old Santa Fe Indian School campus to a technologically advanced college offering a variety of certificate, AFA, BFA, and MFA programs taught from an Indigenous perspective.
Established in 1962, IAIA grew from the vision of fashion designer Lloyd Kiva New (Cherokee), Dr. George Boyce, and their associates. They founded the Institute with financial support from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. New, the first art director and longtime president of IAIA, encouraged the school’s students to envision and create artworks that grew out of their cultural traditions and took on personal narratives. He emphasized that Indigenous art doesn’t have to fit into any preconceived definitions. By doing so, he created an environment in which original and experimental contemporary Indigenous art could flourish.
“Indian art of the future will be in new forms, produced in new media and with new technological methods. The end result will be as Indian as the Indian,” said New. During the early years, notable artists, including instructor Fritz Scholder (Luiseño) and students T.C. Cannon (Kiowa and Caddo) ’65, and 23rd poet laureate of the United States Joy Harjo (Mvskoke) ’68, walked the school’s halls.
The IAIA Making History Symposium will be held as a hybrid event. Attendees can register to participate in person on the college campus at 83 Avan Nu Po Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico, or virtually via an internationally accessible simulcast livestream on the IAIA website. Beginning at 8:30 am MDT, speakers, including celebrated alums and current and former faculty and staff from the college and the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (which celebrates its semicentennial anniversary this year), will discuss and reflect upon the past, present, and future of the art institution. Speaker sessions will be organized by time and place, following the school’s historical and physical journey across three campuses: the Santa Fe Indian School, the College of Santa Fe, and its current 140-acre campus in Rancho Viejo, where it is surrounded by stunning views of the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez Mountains.
If you want to learn more about the history of the Institute of American Indian Arts, the college will offer educational brown-bag lunches and discussion panels throughout the academic year, adding to the growing library of IAIA living history that forms a cornerstone collection for the IAIA Research Center for Contemporary Native Art.
Sponsored by IAIA and the City of Santa Fe Arts and Culture Department