For Immediate Release




Eric Davis, Marketing & Communications Director

505.424.2351, or 

Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) 
Approved to Offer 
MFA Degrees in Studio Arts
Second IAIA MFA Program to Launch

Santa Fe: October 30, 2020

On Wednesday, October 28, 2020, The Higher Learning Commission, IAIA's accrediting organization, approved the school's application to launch an MFA Program in Studio Arts. The change is effective immediately, and students may begin to apply for the degree program soon.

Studio Arts has been the primary focus of IAIA's Academic Programs for more than 50 years. Since IAIA opened its doors as a high school with a fine arts focus, students engage with nearly every artistic medium; painting, ceramics, jewelry, sculpture, printmaking, design, and photography. In 1975, IAIA became a two-year college offering Associate Degrees in Studio Arts, Creative Writing, and Museum Studies. In August 2000, IAIA expanded its academic programs to include Baccalaureate Degrees. Almost from the start, potential students inquired when IAIA would be offering an MFA Program. Now the school can fulfill those requests.

IAIA student in the Pottery Studio

The IAIA MFA in Studio Arts Program will be a Low-Residency Program -- with two intensive on-campus residency periods per year (Summer and Winter) -- on the IAIA campus in Santa Fe, NM. At the end of each nine-day, on-campus residency, students will be paired with a Master Artist Mentor with whom they will work one-on-one, virtually, during the following 16-week semester.

The mentorships are complemented by a series of online Art History courses as well as the intensive residencies offering artist lectures, professional workshops, exhibition and peer critique of work, and an opportunity to engage with a diverse community of artists. 

Students working in the Allan Houser Haozous Sculpture and Foundry Building

The two-year, low residency curriculum is grounded in Indigenous cultures and reflects the history and challenges of our time. The program provides a world-class contemporary arts education and empowers its students to give voice to the Indigenous experience through their art. IAIA's Graduate Studio Arts department is committed to graduating successful artists whose contributions will be recognized nationally and internationally within a global art context.

Students can graduate with a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Studio Arts with the following areas of emphasis: Integrated Practice, Studio Arts 2D Practice, and Studio Arts 3D Practice.

Students in the Printmaking Studio

Many of the country's most illustrious contemporary American Indian artists, poets, writers, musicians, and cultural leaders are IAIA alumni, while others are affiliated with IAIA as faculty, staff, visiting artists, and scholars. Among these are Dan Namingha (Hopi/Tewa), Fritz Scholder (Luiseño), David Bradley (Minnesota Chippewa), Doug Hyde (Nez Perce), Allan Houser (Chiricahua Apache), Charles Loloma (Hopi), Otellie Loloma (Hopi), Earl Biss (Crow), T.C. Cannon (Kiowa/Caddo), Sheldon Peters Wolfchild (Lakota), Darren Vigil Gray (Jicarilla Apache/Kiowa Apache), Sherwin Bitsui (Diné), Rose Simpson (Santa Clara Pueblo), Bill Prokopiof (Aleut), Kevin Red Star (Crow), Joy Harjo (Mvskoke Nation), Irvin Morris (Navajo Nation), Charlene Teters (Spokane), Lloyd Kiva New (Cherokee), Tommy Orange (Cheyenne/Arapaho), and many more. 
Former Academic Dean and Faculty Emeritus, Charlene Teters (Spokane), who was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the program, commented: "This new graduate program in Studio Arts is the natural next step for IAIA -- and like the undergraduate program will be grounded in Native art esthetics, history, and culture. The Studio Arts program has graduated so many prominent alumni that have gone on to be leaders and influencers in the area of the arts. Now they will have an opportunity to teach, mentor, or continue their educational journey here at IAIA."

IAIA President Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee) remarked "That as the birthplace of Contemporary Native Arts, Studio Arts has been the flagship program for the college since its inception -- and offering of this graduate program is another milestone in the evolutionary development of IAIA's mission and programs." 
To interview any of the Studio Arts faculty, 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, Museum Studies, and 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 approximately 500 full time equivalent (FTE) Native and non-Native American college students from across the globe.  IAIA is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission
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 our 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
The Institute of American Indian Arts Foundation is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.  To make a donation on-line, please click here -- or call toll free: 1.800.804.6423.