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April /May 2013

Continuing to fulfill its mission to empower creativity and leadership in Native Arts and cultures through higher education, IAIA will honor two of the most successful American Indian artists and authors at its 2013 commencement.

The Institute, which is celebrating 50 years, will bestow an honorary doctorate on artist and alumnus Tony Abeyta (Navajo). The campus' graduating class of 48 students has chosen poet, author, musician and alumna Joy Harjo (Muscogee/Creek) to deliver the commencement address at 11 a.m. May 10. The Institute will also honor Upton Ethelbah III, who is the class of 2013's valedictorian. Ethelbah (Santa Clara Pueblo/Hispanic/White Mountain Apache) will graduate with a B.F.A. and a certificate in Business and Entrepreneurship. Read more about commencement by clicking here.

IAIA will be streaming the event live online. Check www.iaia.edu on May 10 for information where to connect online.

Congratulations class of 2013! 

MFA Creative Writing Director Jon Davis
IAIA's first graduate program

IAIA will officially kick off its first graduate program, a low residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, in July. About 30 people have applied for the program that allows students to live at home and earn a graduate degree.

MFA Creative Writing Director Jon Davis said IAIA's Creative Writing Department has had a long history of success so it was only natural to continue the legacy with an M.F.A. program focusing on Native writers and writing. In the past 22 years, IAIA B.F.A. and A.A. creative writing students have produced 25 books with reputable presses and have gone on to excel in top graduate programs, including Brown and Cornell universities, and the Iowa Writers Workshop. Alumni have also won two Wallace Stegner Fellowships, five American Book Awards, two Whiting Writers Awards, a Lannan Literary Award, just to name a few.

"The low residency format also has been well-tested," he said. "There are more than 50 such programs in the country, and all are producing excellent, young writers. The system works. Adapting the format for Native students also seemed logical and necessary."

What makes IAIA's program unique aside from its reasonable costs is that 85 percent of the faculty are Native American, Davis said.

"For the aspiring Native writer, this is a chance to work with established elders in the Native writing community," he said. "For the non-Native, it's a chance to immerse him or herself in a vital tradition of American literature. One-fourth of the literature read in every course will be authored by Native writers. The residencies will be on Native ground. There will be a sense of ownership and community."

Students will be matched with a faculty mentor who will work one-on-one with the student during a 16-week semester. Mentors include award-winning writers, such as Sherman Alexi, Sherwin Bitsui and Natalie Diaz.

Although the deadline to apply has passed, interested students can still get in an application but will be put on a wait list.

The first class graduates in May 2015. Click here for more information about the program. 

new welcome center & capital campaign  

IAIA has broken ground on a new welcome center, which will house administrative services, as well as some student support services. The two-story building will be "green" built to new Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards of energy efficiency.  
When the welcome center is finished next year, about 10,000 feet of space in the current administration building will be freed to be turned into additional classrooms and studio space. 
New buildings and renovations are needed as student enrollment has grown 115 percent in the past six years. More than 400 students are currently enrolled at IAIA. 
To help pay for construction, the Institute has kicked off an 18-month, $1 million capital campaign. So far, the school has raised about 83 percent of its goal in cash and pledges. IAIA has also received federal grants and state bond funding to pay for construction. Some of the money raised will help staff a student health center. Contact Institutional Advancement Director Alex Shapiro at 424-2309 or ashapiro@iaia.edu to contribute to the capital campaign.

IAIA welcomes new staff  

Several new staff members have joined IAIA in recent months: 
  • Liz Bahe, Registrar 
  • Michelle Barela, Assistant to the Faculty 
  • Chee Brossy, Alumni & Constituent Relations Manager  
  • Chris Dixon, MoCNA Preparator & Exhibitions Coordinator  
  • Andrea Hanley, MoCNA Museum & Membership Program Manager 
  • John Joe, MoCNA Collections Registrar  
  • Jeminie Shell, Retention Director 
  • Ron Solimon, Center for Lifelong Education Director 
  • Lara Trujillo-Barela, Financial Aid Director
  • Joseph Turnipseed, Dome Tech  

PBS' This Old House visits with the CLE's
USDA program

Credit: Nick Halsey 
notables . . .
  • IAIA junior Nicolas "Nico" Salazar was hired by the TEACH (The Native Tradition, Environment And Community Health) program, a collaborative between the University of Washington and Northwest Indian College, to illustrate a comic book. The book entitled The Return is about an expecting mother discovering her connection to Mother Earth, as well as preserving tradition through nature. The book can be downloaded by clicking here.
  • PBS' This Old House visited the IAIA's CLE USDA Grants Manager Luke Reed for a show that will include information about Native American farming practices. The show is set to air sometime between October and spring of 2014.
  • IAIA has officially become a member of the New Mexico Gamma Chapter of Alpha Chi National Honor Society. IAIA students inducted in the society include: Teresa Fields, Fernando Charley, Crystal Worl, Rondee Graham, Upton Ethelbah, Kaylene Big Knife, Brandee Caoba, Katrina Montoya, Koty Jim, Jessica Manko and Moira Garcia. The society is looking for new members and will have an informational meeting next Tuesday. Contact Leah Boss for more information at 424-5732 or lboss@iaia.edu.  

general info

IAIA's mission is to empower creativity and leadership in Native arts and cultures through higher education, lifelong learning and outreach.
We welcome your inquiries: iaiacommunications@iaia.edu

Institute of American Indian Arts
505.424.2300 | iaia.edu

Museum of Contemporary Native Arts
505.983.1666 | iaia.edu/museum

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calendar of events

Museum of Contemporary Native Arts


Ongoing - May 12    
The museum invited four photo and mixed- media artists for this exhibition.

Ongoing - May 12

Jason Lujan - Summer Burial
In this solo show, Jason Lujan utilizes themes, such as portraiture and patterns, to display and mix digital forms with conventional media.

Ongoing - May 12
Golden: MoCNA's Annual IAIA BFA Exhibition

Selected works by IAIA's graduating seniors.




May 5 - We're all Shape Shifters Sometimes - Graduating creative writing students read from their portfolios from 2 - 4 p.m.


May 11 - Golden: B.F.A. Closing Reception  



Center for Lifelong Education Logo 




May 3 -The CLE will host a community planting of vegetable seeds in the IAIA garden at 3:30 p.m. For more info, call 424-2387 or email jgutierrez@iaia.edu


May 13 - 15 - The CLE will host the annual Cultural Tourism Conference in Moenkopi, Ariz. Click here for information. 


IAIA logo     

May 4 - IAIA will host the 2013 Pow Wow. Gourd dancing starts at 11 a.m. Grand entry is at 1 p.m. For more information, click here.

May 10 - 2013 Commencement. Forty-eight students will graduate. The ceremony starts at 11 a.m. Click here for more information. 

Ongoing - May 10 - The Primitive Edge Student Gallery hosts the Senior Thesis Exhibition. Click here for more information. 
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