Timeline of the Institute of American Indian Arts

Celebrating 50 years of American Indian education and arts excellence in 2012, the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) presents this multi-media and interactive timeline of our colorful history.

“To empower creativity and leadership in Native Arts and cultures through higher education, life-long learning and outreach.” IAIA is an accredited college located in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Developing a Contemporary Indian Arts Program

As a result of the Rockefeller Conference on Indian Art held at the University of Arizona, a new, exploratory workshop, the Southwestern Indian Art Project, was created by the Rockefeller Foundation and the University of Arizona. Directed in part by Lloyd H. 'Kiva' New, the workshop hosted Indian youth from around the country during the summers of 1960 and 1961 and taught contemporary art forms and practices. The Southwestern Indian Art Project is generally considered the direct precursor to the fine arts program at IAIA.

Re-Opening of IAIA Museum

After more than two years of renovations, the IAIA museum reopened in the newly acquired Federal Building on Cathedral Place on June 21, 1992.

Need for an Indian Art School

At the University of Arizona, 31 participants convened for the Rockefeller Conference on Indian Art, a meeting that would set the stage for a new discussion regarding Indian art production.

Lloyd H. New takes over as Director

Following the retirement of George A. Boyce in the summer of 1966, Lloyd H. New was appointed Director of IAIA in the fall of 1967. New would hold this position until his retirement in 1978.

First Superintendent

George A. Boyce, a career educator with the BIA and superintendent of Intermountain Indian School in Brigham City, Utah, was hired by Hildegard Thompson to be the first superintendent of IAIA in 1961.

Campus Art

Douglas Crowder was among the primary students responsible for the various sculptures and other public art installations at IAIA in the early years of its operations. The 'Drummers' and Fountain are still present on the campus of the Santa Fe Indian School.

Creation of IAIA

Upon the success of the Southwestern Indian Art Project at the University of Arizona, BIA Commissioner Glenn Emmons, under the advisement of the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, instructed Director of Indian Education Hildegard Thompson to explore the possibility of an Indian art center operated by the BIA. In 1960, dissatisfied with the current operation at the Santa Fe Indian School, Thompson recommended new construction and remodeling of the campus to serve as a new art school. This school would become IAIA.

1st Annual Vincent Price Awards

Creative Writing has long been a strength of IAIA. In the Spring of 1963, Actor and Arts & Crafts board member Vincent Price created a student award for Creative Writing in his name. During the first year of the awards, first prize went to Janet Campbell for 'Red Eagle'. The awards would be held for many years to come with Mr. Price conducting public poetry readings of the work of the winners.

First Board of Trustees Inaugurated

After nearly two years of identifying IAIA board candidates, 10 individuals were sworn in by Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Ross O. Swimmer to serve on the newly formed IAIA Board of Trustees.

Innaugural Invitational Exhibition of American Indian Paintings

Held at the Department of Interior's Art Gallery in November of 1964 through January of 1965, the exhibition compiled the most comprehensive collection of American Indian art to date. Included in the show were IAIA students Larry Bird, George Burdeau, and Hank Gobin.

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