eNewsletter | April/May 2020
AUGUST 22, 2020, 11:00 am MDT
Alumna and US Poet Laureate
Joy Harjo to give Keynote Speech

After consulting with New Mexico health authorities, faculty, staff, and students, we have made the difficult decision to conduct a virtual graduation ceremony. As with other changes resulting from the pandemic, this one is especially disappointing to everyone here that has been looking forward to an in-person celebration in honor of the class of 2020's achievements.   However, the safety and health of the students and the IAIA community have remained our highest priority.   

Two-term United States Poet Laureate and IAIA Alumna  Joy Harjo  (Mvskoke Nation) '68 has been selected to give the Institute of American Indian Arts' 2020 commencement address at 11:00 am MDT on Saturday, August 22, 2020. 
The on-line ceremony will include recorded and live-streamed speeches from the class Valedictorian, MFA Creative Writing Program student speaker, Faculty of the Year, IAIA President Dr. Robert Martin  (Cherokee), Board of Trustees Chair Loren Kieve  (Cherokee), and Joy Harjo .  

The program also will be comprised of a video montage announcing each graduating student with visuals of them in their cap and gowns or regalia -- as well as honor songs and footage of students, staff, and faculty.  In addition to participating in this virtual ceremony, graduates will have the option to take part in the 2021 graduation ceremony as well.

To stream the event on-line, please visit  www.iaia.edu/commencement  on the morning of commencement.

IAIA Reduces Tuition 10% for the
2020-2021 Academic Year

IAIA Student Emergency Fund
The  Institute of American Indian Arts   Student Emergency Fund  was established specifically to assist our students and their families in times of unexpected need and exceptional circumstances.   The challenges the students face in the upcoming months will test their resolve to remain in school.  The Student Emergency Fund allows the college to provide additional financial support so students can afford basics like food, safe and secure housing, supplies, and remote learning tools.

Many of IAIA's Native American and other scholars are  currently at high risk of dropping out of college due   to the demands of assisting their families in securing the basics during this crisis . Whether it be food, clothing, assistance securing a safe place to live, or remote learning resources like a laptop, an iPad, Internet access, or cellular access --  our Student Emergency Fund helps meet the fundamental needs of our students and their families .
As always, thank you for your generous support over the decades.
Gratefully yours,
The Students, Faculty, Staff, Trustees, and Foundation Board of IAIA

IAIA Community Members in
First American Art

Tiffanie Irizarry
(Ihanktowan Dakota Sioux/Puerto Rican)
Suni S. Vizcarra Wood
2020 TCJ Student Cover Art Contest

IAIA Community Members Named as Native Arts and Cultures Foundation 2020 Mentor Artist Fellows

Tania Larsson (Gwich'in) '17, Keri Ataumbi (Kiowa) '96, more, in Vogue

Seeing Red
Radio Archives Digitized

United States
Poet Laureate
and IAIA Alumna
Joy Harjo
(Mvskoke Nation) '68
Named to
Second Term

In New York Times

on Poet's House

On BeLatina.com

in ABQ Journal

on YouTube

Daniel McCoy
 (Muscogee Creek/Citizen Band Potawatomi) '03
in Pasatiempo

Seventh Annual IAIA Cine Award Winners

Best Sound Design
Miles DeVesty for “Warbaby”
Best Music
Gary Medina Cook (Genízaro/Cherokee) for “Tomena”
Best Animation
Charine Gonzales (San Ildefonso Pueblo) for “Bear News”
Best Editing
Miles DeVesty for “Warbaby”
Best Cinematography
Leroy Grafe for “Warbaby”
Best Actor Tie:
Gary Medina Cook (Genízaro/Cherokee) and Anthony Warren (Peepeekisis Cree Nation) for “Tomena”
Best Actress
Laura Hinman (Mesa Grande of Mission Indians) for “The Dust in Our Eyes”
Best Screenplay
Jedadiah Richards (Oglala Lakota Sioux) for “Sister”
Best Director
Miles DeVesty for “Warbaby”
Third Place for Best Film
“Tomena” by Gary Medina Cook (Genízaro/Cherokee)
Second Place for Best Film
“They Return” by Lonnie R. Begaye (Navajo Nation)
The Audience Award
“Sage Me Not” by Erik Sanchez (Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe)
First Place for Best Film
“Sister” by Jedadiah Richards (Oglala Lakota Sioux)
Luci Tapahonso
(Navajo Nation)
on Poets.org

Tristan Ahtone 
(Kiowa) '06 in
New York Times

Dear Members and Friends,

As we enter a new month of COVID-19, I want to let you know, how and what we’re doing at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA). I’m happy to report that all of our staff are healthy, cautious and protecting themselves from this serious virus. Beginning on March 18th, our staff worked from home and were extremely productive. On May 18th, some employees returned to work in the museum and a few continue to work from home. In the office, we are using all the recommended precautions. We aren’t sure yet, when the museum will reopen to the public, but rest assured when we do, all precautionary measures will be in place for the public and you will be among the first to know.

In early March we received word from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) that MoCNA received accreditation—the highest national recognition afforded to the nation's museums. Accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, to governments, funders, outside agencies, and to the museum-going public. AAM Accreditation brings national recognition to MoCNA for its commitment to distinction, accountability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement. Less than 10% of museums nationwide have received accreditation from AAM. Of the nation's estimated 33,000 museums, only 1,070 are currently accredited. 

Until we open to the public, we have exhibitions and programs happening virtually. We invite you to visit:

  • The exhibition Indigenous Futurisms: Transcending Past/Present/Future will stay on view in the museum until January 3, 2021. The traveling show we planned to install in its place this summer, When I Remember I See Red from the Crocker Museum, was unfortunately cancelled due to COVID-19. Since not many of our visitors were able to see Indigenous Futurisms after it opened in February, we decided to keep this exceptional exhibition on view. The catalog was just released and is now available in the museum store at: https://iaia.edu/store/ Until you can see the show in person, we invite you to visit the exhibition virtually: https://www.artsteps.com/view/5e6bb844c131b94e2168ad2b

  • Resistance Through Existence is co-curated by the Institute of American Indian Arts’s museum studies student Faithlyn Seawright (Chickasaw) and MoCNA’s chief curator, Dr. Manuela Well-Off-Man and features 12 graduating IAIA seniors. The exhibition tackles a wide variety of topics ranging from the revitalization of tribal regalia and mask making to healing from traumatic events that happened as a result of European colonization. Inspired by their ancestors and culture, many of the artists examine what it means to be Indigenous and part of a living culture. Resistance closes May 29, 2020, but can be viewed virtually: https://iaia.edu/vr-experience-resistance-through-existence/

  • Way of Sorrows, an installation by Charlene Teters (Spokane), addresses current issues such as forced migrations and the US-Mexico border crises, while asking questions about responsibility and identifying new myths. This exhibition closes May 29, 2020, but can be viewed virtually: https://iaia.edu/event/charlene-teters-way-of-sorrows/

Two new exhibitions will be installed June 4th. Staff may also turn these shows into virtual exhibitions, but hopefully you’ll be able to see them live and in person later this year. 

  • Tom Jones: Strong Unrelenting Spirits, June 4 - March 28, 2021. Strong Unrelenting Spirits features new works from Tom Jones' series of portraits that are rooted in his Ho-Chunk identity. The works extend the boundaries of photography by incorporating beadwork directly onto the photographs. 

  • Tamara Ann Burgh & Luanne Redeye: FRAMED, June 4 - January 24, 2021. The exhibition FRAMED investigates issues of self-representation and identity and examines the "American Experience" from a Native perspective through mixed media works by Tamara Ann Burgh (Iñupiat-Kawerak/Swede) and Luanne Redeye (Seneca Nation of Indians/Hawk Clan). Both artists often include family and found portrait photos in their artworks, which they alter through overpainting. Presented in seemingly nostalgic, decorative frames, which evoke American folk art and Victorian-era Iroquois beadwork, these works invite viewers to contemplate alternate histories, intergenerational trauma and authenticity.

In addition to our exhibitions, we welcome you to engage with contemporary Native art through our array of online virtual educational resources. Through artmaking, curriculum guides, and other fun activities, visitors of all ages can learn more about various works of art in MoCNA's exhibitions and collections. The following resources can be found at:  https://iaia.edu/mocna/mocna-education/.

1. The MoCNA Education Program has created a series of educational workbooks for each of the artists featured in the Indigenous Futurism exhibition. These workbooks explore topics related to the artwork and interests of each artist. The first workbook, "Storytelling Through Comics," is inspired by the work of Jeffrey Veregge (Port Gamble S'Klallam). Learn how to create your own comic book through storytelling and learn about the Indigenous world of superheroes.

2. Enjoy coloring pages depicting a work of art from MoCNA’s collection or exhibitions created by IAIA alum, Daniel McCoy Jr. (Muscogee Creek/Citizen Band Potawatomi). Simply download, print, and color away. Share your creations with us on Instagram by tagging  @iaiamocna . We can't wait to see your creations!

When we have a date to re-open safely, I will send another letter with details regarding our plan to protect our members and visitors from COVID-19. We hope everyone is staying safe, and we look forward to seeing you in-person when we can all meet again. 


Patsy Phillips (Cherokee)
Director, IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

Manuela Well-Off-Man and IAIA Alumni in Hyperallergic
Visit the
IAIA Online Store


Frank Buffalo Hyde (Nez Perce/Onondaga) ‘95 on Colores!

Kim Parko in Pasatiempo

Students, Alumni, and Mentors of the IAIA Low Rez MFA Program continue to make waves throughout the literary world. Click on the red headline for the story.
Current MFA Mentors
Give a Gift Today
The mission of IAIA is “to empower creativity and leadership in Native Arts and cultures through higher education, life-long learning, and outreach.” You can designate your gift by giving to one of the Foundation’s major funds: 

Scholarships.  Needed by more than 80% of our students to help pursue their studies at IAIA. 

Academic Programs.  IAIA needs support for visiting artists, student interns, artists in residence and innovative equipment to keep IAIA at the forefront of educational offerings. 

Student Emergency Fund.  The fund provides crucial assistance when a student has a sudden emergency with no available resources or funds. 

General Operating Support.  This helps IAIA take advantage of sudden opportunities to enhance the student experience. 

Planned Giving.  Please consider IAIA in your estate planning. 

Give right now by credit card , or contact Sandra Narvaez,  Advancement Services Manager,
505.424.2310, or sandra.narvaez@iaia.edu.
Et Cetera
Et cetera contains information about happenings in the IAIA community - be it on campus, at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA), or elsewhere.

Click on the red headline for more of the story.

CJT Electric, t he electrical contractor we use here at IAIA has generously donated 12 gallons of hand sanitizer to IAIA. It is the same sanitizer we are currently giving out to staff and faculty. We would like to thank them so much for their gift in these difficult times.
IAIA and MoCNA Happenings

Sat, August 22, 11:00 am–1:00 pm

For up-to-date information about Happenings, see the COVID-19 web page .

MoCNA Exhibitions

Tue, January 1, 2019–Thu, October 1, 2020

Mon, July 29, 2019–Sun, July 11, 2021

Mon, August 5, 2019–Tue, June 30, 2020

Fri, February 7–Sun, May 29

Thu, February 13–Sun, July 26

Thu, June 4, 2020–Sun, March 28, 2021

Thu, June 4, 2020–Sun, January 24, 2021
General Information
IAIA's mission is to empower creativity and leadership in Native arts and cultures through higher education, lifelong learning and outreach.

Visit the IAIA website at  www.iaia.edu for up-to-date information, or for questions and inquiries please contact us at  by email here.

Institute of American Indian Arts
(505) 424-2300
IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA)
(505) 983-1666
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 is committed to student achievement and the preservation and progress of their communities. IAIA is accredited by both the Higher Learning Commission and the National Association of Schools of Art & Design. Learn more about IAIA and our mission at www.iaia.edu .

Newsletter writer, editor, and contributing photographer:
Eric Davis

Contributing photographer: Jason S. Ordaz

Contributing editor:
Nicole Lawe (Karuk)
IAIA Radio Show - New Day and Time!

The IAIA Radio Show Through Our Eyes airs on alternate Wednesdays from 6:00-6:30 pm, on KSFR, 101.1 FM, Santa Fe Public Radio. It is an IAIA-produced show examining a wide variety of issues relating to the Native American community. Hosted by IAIA Director of Marketing and Communications Eric Davis , the show features conversations with Native American Scholars, Artists, Tribal Leaders, and more. You can listen to the show live on the radio or stream it on your computer at KSFR.org. Past shows are podcast on their website, so you can listen any time you'd like at the following link: www.throughoureyes.libsyn.com