NEWS RELEASE                

For Immediate Release 


   Eric Davis,  Marketing & Communications Director
                505.424.2351, or
   Patsy Phillips Director, IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts 
                505.428.5901, or

A Celebration of the Life and Legacy of
James Luna

Presented by  
Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) and the 
IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA) 

SANTA FE: March 14, 2018. IAIA and the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts present a Celebration of the Life and Legacy of internationally renowned performance and installation artist James Luna ( Payómkawichum (Luiseño)/Ipi (Diegueño and Mexican-American).

The event will take place on Thursday, March 22, 2018 from 6:15 pm until 7:30 pm in the LTC Auditorium on the IAIA Campus.  The IAIA campus is located at 83 Avan Nu Po Road, minutes from the intersection of Rodeo Road and Richards Avenue, on the south side of Santa Fe.  For directions and a map of the campus, click here. The event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow.

James Luna

Luna was born in 1950 in Orange, California. He moved to the La Jolla Indian Reservation in California in 1975, where he lived until his death in 2018. In 1976, he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of California, Irvine, and in 1983, he earned a Master of Science degree in counseling at San Diego State University. In 2012, Luna received an Honorary PhD from the Institute of American Indian Arts. He taught art at the University of California, San Diego and, he spent 25 years as a full-time academic counselor at P alomar College in San Marcos, California.

With over 30 years of exhibition and performance experience Luna has given voice to Native American cultural issues, pursued innovative and versatile media within his disciplines, and charted waters for other artists to follow. His powerful works transform gallery spaces into battlefields, where the audience is confronted with the nature of cultural identity, the tensions generated by cultural isolation, and the dangers of cultural misinterpretations, all from an Indigenous perspective.

James Luna at IAIA

The Tribute will include remembrances by IAIA Dean Charlene Teters (Spokane), IAIA Associate Dean Dr. Lara Evans (Cherokee), IAIA Musuem of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA) Director Patsy Phillps (Cherokee), noted ceramic artist, IAIA Alumna, and former MoCNA Director Joanna Big Feather (Cherokee) AFA '87, and IAIA Visiting Professor Amber-Dawn Bear Robe (Blackfoot/Siskita). There will also be a video presentation of Luna's works produced by IAIA Archivist Ryan Flahive.  
(L to R) Ryan Flahive, James Luna, Tatiana Lomahaftewa-Singer, and Lara Evans
IAIA President Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee) commented that "we are deeply saddened by the loss of James and wanted an opportunity  to come together as a community to pay tribute and celebrate his life and remarkable contributions to IAIA, Indigenous arts, and scholarship".  
For more information please contact Eric Davis at 505.424.2351, or .
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Offering undergraduate degrees in Studio Arts, Creative Writing, Cinematic Arts and Technology, Indigenous Liberal Studies, and Museum Studies -- a minor in Performing Arts -- an MFA in Creative Writing -- along with certificates in Business and Entrepreneurship, Museum Studies, and Native American Art History -- IAIA is the only college in the nation dedicated to the study of contemporary Native arts. The school serves 517 full time equivalent (FTE) Native and non-Native American college students from across the globe.  IAIA is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission -- and is the only college in New Mexico accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. 

About IAIA -- For over 50 years, the Institute of American Indian Arts has played a key role in the direction and shape of Native expression. With an internationally acclaimed college, museum, and tribal support resource through the IAIA Land Grant Programs, IAIA is dedicated to the study and advancement of Native arts and cultures -- and committed to student achievement and the preservation and progress of their communities.  Learn more about IAIA and our mission at




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