The IAIA was founded in 1962, and was first located on the grounds of the Santa Fe Indian School. The Institute includes both the college, and the IAIA museum in downtown Santa Fe.
About 375 students are currently enrolled at the college and they represent roughly 100 different tribes from the mainland U.S. and Alaska.
Over the nearly 50 years of its existence, the IAIA has been home to students from about 90% of the recognized native American tribes. And about 15% of its students are non-natives who've come to IAIA to study native art traditions.
The IAIA's location is ideal for furthering its mission--in Santa Fe, which is the second largest art market in the U.S., and near the 19 native pueblos of New Mexico. In addition, the size and setting of the campus allowed it to be constructed in a way that references and respects native traditions (directions, solstices, etc.), and it is home to native plants and wildlife. On-campus housing includes residences for traditional-age students, as well as family housing units for older students. A new daycare center is expected to open soon.
All facilities are full of native art, and our tour included views of studios and galleries, and art that included painting, metalwork, jewelry, glass, beading, and leatherwork.
This painting by an IAIA student, a Native American version of the Last Supper, was hanging in the Administration building.
This spinning wheel in the IAIA library is by Apache artist Bob Haozous, son of Allan Houser (whom I've written about in an earlier blog).
One of the highlights of our trip was the welcome our group received in the student learning support center, where we were treated to a snack of hot blue corn meal (in a form somewhere between oatmeal and hot drink); a note on the blackboard in the student lounge area indicated that it was a "blue corn morning". Thus warmed and fortified, we were able to venture back out into the cold to complete our tour of this impressive facility.