e-Newsletter | January 2015   

Disney Imagineers Visit IAIA

Key members of The Walt Disney Imagineers Team, the unique, creative force that dreams up, designs, and builds all Disney theme parks, resorts, attractions, cruise ships, real estate developments, and regional entertainment venues worldwide, visited the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) campus on December 10 & 11, 2014.  The gathering was organized by Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee Nation), IAIA President;  and

Carmen Smith, Vice President Creative Development, Exclusive Strategies for Walt Disney Imagineering. 


As creativity is central to the mission of IAIA, Dr. Martin invited the Disney team to discuss the creative, innovative, and problem-solving processes and principles that guide their work.  Disney Imagineering's unique strength comes from the dynamic global team of creative and technical professionals building on the Disney legacy of storytelling to pioneer new forms of entertainment through technical innovation and creativity.  Members of the team visiting IAIA included Carmen SmithDavid Crawford, Executive R&D Imagineer;  Creative Executives Zsolt Hormay and Nancy SerutoYves Benyata, Executive Creative Director for the Paris portfolio of Disney attractions;  Laura Cabo, Architectural Design Studio Executive;  and Debbie Peterson, Executive, Creative Development, for Walt Disney Imagineering Florida.  The main goal of the visit was to communicate to the IAIA participants the value of teams working collaboratively to create, build, and accomplish complex tasks that are truly incredible and beautiful - to enhance IAIA's mission to empower creativity and leadership in Native arts and cultures.



After introductions and a loosening-up exercise, the workshop began in earnest on December 11.  Each member of the Disney Imagineering team gave a presentation based on their own personal experiences within the Disney organization.  Stories included addressing cultural and language differences on foreign projects, design and construction narratives, and research and development ideation.  Because of the scope of most Disney projects, teams tend to be multi-national, multi-cultural, and exist only for the length of a particular project.  Due to of the high level of complexity, it is critical that each team member quickly knows and understands their particular role.


Most of the Disney programs involve storytelling - and the team was well-versed in that area.  But each project has a different story (as explained by the Imagineers), and how to tell the story is as important as the story itself.  Each story starts with inspiration:  to share it you then need to do research and develop an execution plan.  As was shared by the team, "chaos is the enemy".  Organization - even in a creative environment - is one of the keys to success. 


In addressing the creative aspect of these programs, a key factor that many of the presenters addressed was "backstory" - what factors from the past (real or imagined) impact the current project - and how that can be integrated into the final design.  Another was "creative discomfort", a concept that celebrates the diversity in the team - and postulates that differences in opinions and viewpoints ultimately lead them to the best and most creative solutions.


Based on their experiences working on projects throughout the world, many of the Disney team reinforced the idea that you need to understand a situation before you can judge or criticize it - and that communication is the most important part of any team project.  When communicating your thoughts, it is crucial to think about the needs of others and be aware that stress impacts both your communications and reactions to other peoples' messages.


The Imagineers also noted that it was important to "learn from the past to guide you through the present and lead you into the future", a truly important concept.



Dr. Martin believes that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interact with - and learn from - an amazing group of creative and intelligent people.  The Imagineers reiterated the importance of collaboration and flexibility in facilitating problem solving.  In summing-up the event, Dr. Martin stated that "Carmen Smith and her Imagineers are some of the most amazingly talented, creative, and nicest people with whom I have had the privilege to work;  and I hope that this event continues to grow Disney's close, collaborative relationship with the IAIA family".


Photos by Jason S. Ordaz

Closing Ceremony Photo by Jacque King

Photo Captions: 

Top: Closing Ceremony (L to R) -- IAIA Distance Education Coordinator Stephen Fadden, (back turned), performing an honor song in gratitude for the generous sharing of knowledge and expertise by Carmen Smith and the Imagineers;  Disney Imagineers:  Nancy Seruto, Yves Benyeta, Carmen Smith, David Crawford, Zsolt Hormay, Debbie Peterson;  Dr. Robert Martin, IAIA President, Eric Davis, IAIA Marketing and Communications Director

Second:  Disney Imagineers with the IAIA Team

Third:  Disney Imagineer David Crawford, R&D, making his presentation

Fourth:  Laura Cabo, Disney Imagineer Architectural Design Studio Executive, showing the 1-milllion square-foot Euro Disney International Retailers' Building

Fifth Creative Executive Zsolt Hormay describing the art of building (and sometimes moving) mountains.


The 2015 Writers Festival -- A Great Success 

The Institute of American Indian Arts' (IAIA) Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing presented The Writers Festival -- January 3rd through 9th.  Readings by noted authors took place each night at 6 pm in the Auditorium in the Library and Technology Center (LTC). The final night of readings -- featuring Sherman Alexie (Spokane/Coeur d'Alene) and Jess Walter -- drew an overflow crowd that filled the Auditorium and most of two classrooms!   Other readers included James Thomas Stevens (Akwesasne Mohawk) -- the Chair of the BFA Creative Writing Program -- and Jon Davis, Director of the Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing and the Poet Laureate of Santa Fe;  plus noted authors Joy Harjo (Mvskoke Creek), Linda Hogan (Chickasaw), and Melissa Febos.

Shown at left are Sherman Alexie reading (top), Jon Davis reading (center), and the Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program faculty and students in the Auditorium (bottom).

Photos by staff and students.


Goodbye Old Friend

A long-time visitor to the IAIA campus has left us this month.  The Hamspek Totem Pole, created by Calvin Hunt, hereditary chief Na-soom-yees, Mowochaht Nation -- and on-loan to IAIA from the Ralph T. Coe Foundation for the Arts in support of the Campus Public Art Committee -- left the IAIA Campus on December 18th.    


The farewell ceremony (held in a cold, biting wind), was hosted by Jamelyn Ebelacker (Santa Clara), President of the Associated Student Government.  Attendees included IAIA President Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee);  Ralph T. Coe Foundation President and CEO Rachel de W. Wixom -- as well as two of her board members and a number of IAIA staff and Faculty.


Jamelyn welcomed the gathered group and talked about the sense of love and family the Totem symbolized.  She thanked the Ralph T. Coe Foundation for the Arts, including President Rachel de W. Wixom. Stephen Fadden (Mohawk) performed a ceremonial prayer, followed by comments from President Martin and Ms. Wixom.  She spoke about beginnings: the first beginning when the Totem was created, the second beginning when it was installed at IAIA in February of 2012, and a third beginning when it will be installed at the Foundation's offices.



The Totem Pole is leaving the IAIA campus because of the excessive damage it has suffered due to the harsh southwest climate here in Santa Fe.  Its future home will be indoors at the Foundation headquarters.


Stephen Fadden ended the event with an honor song, then most of the crowd stayed and took their last photos of the totem on the campus.


Photos:  Jamelyn Ebelacker with totem.  (top)

              Dr. Martin with totem. (center)

              Hamspeck Totem Pole leaving campus.  (bottom)

IAIA/Anasazi Heritage Center Exhibit Opens

Shown at left is a brochure for an exhibition at the IAIA/Anasazi Heritage Center in Dolores, Colorado Ancestral Homelands: Connection to Land, Space and Time, which is open December 5, 2014-October 2015.   This project was spearheaded by IAIA Museum Studies student, Therese Lynston (Metis). 


The participating artists of IAIA (students, faculty, and alumni) include:

Ursula Aldrich, Aidan Ashley, Rylan Bourke, Lemuel Charley, Terrance Clifford, Laura Fragua Cota, Del Curfman, Rose Marie Cutropia, Gregory Holmes, Duhon James, Colleen Lucero, Shawn Nelson~Turquoise Man, Seth Picotte, Kiowa Taryole, Carmelita Topaha, Stephen Wall, Veneron Yazzen, and The Santa Fe Indian School Dual Credit Students.



IAIA Staff and Alumni News

IAIA Alum Crystal Worl has a surprise for people who think Native American performance arts are limited to drumming, tribal dancing, and appearances in occasional movies.  Worl (Tlingit/Athabascan), from Anchorage, Alaska, offered a new entertainment option at the recent Winter Indian Market in Santa Fe as an aerialist spinning and posing from hanging fabric. "Crystal's performance adds another dimension to live cultural, traditional and contemporary Native American performance. We (the Santa Fe Indian Market) want to keep current and expand people's perceptions of Native art and culture," said the Market's John Paul Rangel in a news release.


Daniel Banks, Associate Professor of Theatre and Performing Arts -- and a co-director of Theatre Without Borders -- is a co-convener of the Theatre Without Borders/Revolutions International Theatre Festival Symposium in Albuquerque, January 29-February 1, 2015.  The focus of the symposium is The Ritual of Story on Stage, featuring performances, workshops, roundtable discussions, and gatherings.  Spring guest artists will include Hakim Bellamy, Terry Gomez, Bruce King, Rulan Tangen and IAIA's Stephen Fadden -- who will be roundtable participants at the symposium.

For more information and to reserve a place, please contact symposium coordinator Elsa Menendez at elsa@tricklock.com.  


IAIA on the radio! Wednesday January 14th at 4:00 PM, KSFR, 101.1 FM launched "Through Our Eyes", an IAIA-produced show examining a wide variety of issues relating to Native Americans. Hosted by Eric Davis, 

Director of Marketing & Communications for IAIA -- the first show featured guests Dr. Robert Martin, President of IAIA and Patsy Phillips, Director of the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts.  A permanent time-slot for the show has yet to be determined.  Show number two will air at 4:00 pm, Wednesday, January 21st.  You can stream the show live at KSFR.org or check out the podcast on their website any time you'd like.


Walk the Juniper Ridge Trail and Enjoy the Poems!  A big thank you to instructor James Stevens and students who contributed poems on the campus' Juniper Ridge Trail.  Take a moment while walking the trail and enjoy!


Henry and the Animals, featuring actor John Flax and directed & produced by Peter M. Kershaw (Adjunct for Cinematic Arts, IAIA) has started a film festival life -- kicking off with official acceptance into the 8th International Children's Film Festival, Bangladesh. The Festival, founded in 2008, is the most prestigious film festival in Bangladesh. It is the only film festival for children and young adults and also the biggest film related event in the country and the biggest children's film festival in south Asia, held simultaneously all across the country. The film will play in January, 2015.  Closer to home, you can also see Henry and the Animals playing as part of New Mexico Filmmakers Showcase on Sunday, January 25, 2015 -- during the Block F: Horror, Other and Sci-Fi/Fantasy Category -- 3:30 pm at the Jean Cocteau Cinema, here in Santa Fe.  In addition to his film work, Peter Is now a student of IAIA in the MFA Creative Writing Program, with an emphasis in Screenwriting.


Carmen Henan, Dean of Students, completed an weeklong Title IX Investigator/Coordinator training in Phoenix. The Student Life Department will be sending members of our Student Hearing and Review Panel (formerly the Student Life Appeals Board) to Title IX training in February as well.



JoAnn Bishop, Director of the IAIA Fitness & Wellness Department, will be attending National Archery in the Schools training and certification January 10, 2015, sponsored by New Mexico Game & Fish Department.  The purpose of the training is to develop competitive archery, archery skills and range safety for students in the State of New Mexico. 



Our Activities Coordinator Nocona Burgess earned his Master's in Art Education from UNM this past May. He's an IAIA alumni and has been working here for 12 years.



The IAIA Student Government President Jamelyn Ebelacker (Santa Clara) will be attending the AIHEC 2015 Winter Meeting in Washington DC in February.





Celeste Adame has three poems forthcoming in Congeries.

In November, Crisosto Apache was invited to sit on a panel for the Denver Quarterly's 150th Anniversary Special Edition commemorating the Sand Creek Massacre to discuss his piece, "K'us  t�dini tsąąbi' (+2)"  [Thirty-eighty Necks (plus two)].  Crisosto was also featured in the Tribal College Journal ("X")Toe Good Poetry ("Double Helix"), and Hawaii Review ("Quadrants"). He has two poems forthcoming in Congeries.

Jason Asenap published interviews with IAIA alums Tristan Ahtone and Micah Wesley in his column "Asenap in ABQ" for Indian Country Today.  Jason also acted in a new Blackhorse Lowe film to be screened at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York - The George Gustav Heye Center.  Additionally, he is working on a documentary with Tristan Ahtone for Al Jazeera America.

Bryan Bearhart has had poems in recent issues of PANK, Big Bell, Cream City ReviewTupelo QuarterlyPoetry City, USA, and Yellow Medicine Review. He has four poems forthcoming in Congeries.

Chee Brossy has prose poems out in Sentence and forthcoming in Denver Quarterly. He was a featured reader at Sunday Chatter in Albuquerque.

Paige Buffington has a poem forthcoming in Narrative Magazine and five poems forthcoming in Congeries.

Alice Rose Crow's essays, "It is Juneteenth," "Live," and "Look and Then You'll See Hawai'i" appeared in the September 2014 issue of Yellow Medicine Review.  Her essay, "What Comes From Hitting Sticks" is featured in the Tribal College Journal, August 2014.  in addition, her essays, "Lord Have Mercy for These Days," and "Kaapaat" appear in River, Blood, and Corn. Another essay, "Cal Lensink," is forthcoming from Camas in Winter 2015. Her essay "Thanksgiving" was a winner in Brevity's Holiday Smile contest and appeared on the Brevity blog.

Timothy Dorsey was a 2014 Lambda Literary Fellow in Creative Nonfiction. He has four poems forthcoming in Congeries.

Dara Elerath has four poems forthcoming in Congeries.

Ramona Emerson has work in Literary Orphans and Yellow Medicine Review.  She is also a 2013 recipient of the SWAIA Discovery Fellowship, the Edna Furber Fellowship for Women studying Creative Fine Arts, as well as the 2014 Best Student Film for "Hidden Talents" from Tribal College Journal. Her short film "Opal" was chosen for national screening on Comcast XFinity on Demand for the month of November.

Jamie Figueroa was a recipient of a scholarship award for DISQUIET: Literary and Culture Exchange in Lisbon, Portugal (Summer 2014); the Scholastic Teaching Award for Fall 2013; and the Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Arts Award (Fall 2013-Spring 2015).  Participating in Poetry Storm 3.0, she organized and hosted a reading with the Cut+Paste Society.  Jamie's work has been featured in Eleven ElevenHinchas De PoesiaAs/Us, and Sin Fronteras.

Millissa Kingbird has two poems forthcoming in Congeries.

Sasha LaPointe has an essay, "Blood Running," in the current issue of Portland Review and will be interning for Copper Canyon Press this spring. She is a Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Arts Award recipient (Fall 2014-Spring 2016) and is currently interning at Copper Canyon Press.

David Lindblom is co-director, editor and cinematographer of a series of short films. His work has garnered him an official selection in the Bolder Life Festival for work on Cheyanne's Story, and his work for Jessica's Story won best LGBT film in late September at the 2014 Golden Door International Film Festival.  His 2013 film, Four Stories About Water, toured throughout the world with the traveling International Uranium Film Festival, and was an official selection of the International Uranium Film Festival in Rio de Janeiro in May of 2014.

Terese Mailhot's short story, "Heartberries," is forthcoming in Carve Magazine.

Kateri Menominee was a winner in the first Muse Times Two College Poetry Prize and was invited to read her work at Collected Works Bookstore. Her chapbook, In Tongues, was published in Salt Press's Effigies II, edited by Allison Hedge Coke.

Ruby Murray's flash fiction has been selected for Yellow Medicine ReviewSpring, 2014.  Her poetry has been selected for About Place Journal, 2014.  Ruby will also have an essay in Wild in the Willamette from Oregon State University Press, 2015.  Ruby is attending a Fellowship Residency at Playa, Summer Lake, OR.  She also has a scholarship to the Palm Beach Poetry Festivalto work with Maurice Manning in early 2015.

Pat Natseway won "The Write Now" contest hosted by Flagstaff Live.

Penny Perkins is the winner of Beecher's Magazine Fiction Contest 2014 for her short story, "Car Ride Through Corn Fields (1975)." Her creative non-fiction piece, "A Girl's Mouth" was featured in the September issue of Hoax #10.  Penny's flash fiction,  "I Am the Minotaur," "Making the Cut," and "Vampires at Dusk" appeared in Waxwing #5.

Barbara Robidoux has fiction in Yellow Medicine Review, and her poetry has been featured in Santa Fe Literary Review, Ribbons: Tanka Society of America Journal, and  Moonbathing: A Journal of Woman's Tanka.

Sable Sweetgrass's play Awowakii was selected to premiere on the closing night at this year's Weesageechak Begins to Dance Festival presented by Native Earth Performing Arts. She was also featured in Muskrat Magazine.

Teri Tibbett has just completed a chapter entitled, "Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder as a Mitigating Factor in Alaska" for a book on the topic of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and the legal system, to be published by Springer Publishing.

David Weiden's short story, "Sourtoe," appeared in Tribal College Journal. He presented a paper entitled "Red Noir: Examining the Possibilities for Indigenous Crime Literature" at the 2014 Native American Literature Symposium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


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

Museum of Contemporary Native Arts
(505) 983-1666

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Located in the Center for Lifelong Learning. Open Monday-Thursday, 10:00 am-4:00 pm.



Upcoming Events


January 23 - IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts - Winter/Spring 2015 Exhibitions - Opening Reception:  5:00 - 7:00 pm

January 24 through March 31, 2015Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

South Gallery

Chris Pappan: Account Past Due, Ledger Art and Beyond

Honor Gallery

Mihio Manus: Heavy Volume, Small Spaces


January 24 through July 31, 2015 Museum of Contemporary Native Arts 

Main Galleries

Dark Light: The Ceramics of Christine Nofchissey McHorse

Fritz Scholder Gallery

Star Wallowing Bull: Mechanistic Renderings

North Gallery

War Department:  Selections from MoCNA's Permanent Collection

January 29
Community Gathering 
11:45 am to 1:15 pm - CLE-Commons 2nd floor.  To discuss the upcoming AIHEC Student Conference.
Lunch will be served.



February 26 -  5:00 pm, Opening Reception - IAIA Staff and Faculty Art Exhibit, Balzer Contemporary Edge Gallery, IAIA Campus


  PLEASE NOTE:  The 2015 Commencement ceremony will be held on  Saturday May 16th!


Editor:  Eric Davis
Photographer:  Jason S. Ordaz

The Institute of American Indian Arts Foundation is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.  
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