IAIA 2021 October Newsletter
Santa Fe, New Mexico, October 7, 2021

Welcome to the October edition of the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) Newsletter. This edition includes recent news and past, current, and upcoming happenings at IAIA. For questions, comments, or feedback, please contact IAIA Interim Director of Communications Jason S. Ordaz at jason.ordaz@iaia.edu.
2021 Open House—Manifesting Creativity in Action
With 250 in-person attendees and over 900 livestream views, IAIA’s Annual 2021 Open House had the biggest turnout to date. “The crowd I saw for the bronze pour and the glass blowing was probably the largest that we’ve had,” said IAIA President Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee). “The pandemic didn’t keep people from coming, so that’s really good.” IAIA would like to thank everyone for attending this year, and also thank all in-person attendees for respectfully following all of our COVID-19 mitigation protocols to help keep our community safe. 

The 2021 Annual Open House, which was held Wednesday, September 29 from 1–5 pm, consisted of both virtual and in-person components. Attendees were able to see a bronze pour, a raku firing, an acting class demonstration—which featured skits written, directed, and performed by IAIA students—and readings by both our BFA and MFA in Creative Writing students and alums. Visitors learned more about our Land-Grant program as they watched harvesting demonstrations, viewed the Thunder Bees feeding their young through a Plexiglas bee box, and even had the chance to take home bags of apples from IAIA’s Orchard. 

“What we saw today was people learning more about our mission and programs, what we offer and the opportunities we have for our students,” said President Dr. Martin. “We missed having visitors to the campus [last year]. We want to share as much as possible with the community and we want everyone to know that we are an asset in the community. We’re very pleased that we have the support of the community in Santa Fe and the surrounding area.”

Thank you to all who attended the 2021 Open House—both in person and virtually. If you missed any events, video recordings can still be viewed on our website at www.iaia.edu/openhouse
Construction on Campus—IAIA Expands Its Mission
Many have probably noticed construction on the IAIA campus. Some may have been wondering what this construction is for, while others may have already heard a thing or two about the new IAIA Research Center for Contemporary Native Arts (RCCNA).

The construction, now simultaneously in phases one and two, has been sectioned into three phases and is looking to be ahead of schedule. “We were originally on track to complete phase one in mid-February,” says IAIA Chief Financial Advisor Larry Mirabal. “Now it’s looking like it’s going to be early February. Of course, that’s all subject to change with weather and material availability. Those are the biggest factors right now.”

As often happens when new spaces are developed on the IAIA campus, not just a few, but many changes will occur with the construction of the RCNNA. Phase one involves building an extension onto the Academic Building in the back courtyard. The extension will house the Ethnobotany Lab and the Conservation Lab—to make room for the RCNNA in the Barbara and Robert Ells Science and Technology Building—as well as the Digital Fabrication Lab (Fab Lab), which will be updated with a new HVAC system built specifically for the purposes of digital fabrication, and a brand new Cinematic Arts and Technology Film Studio. The Film Studio, which will sit in the Fab Lab’s current location, will be a blacked-out room with all the necessary power supply and garage door access so student filmmakers can pull directly to the studio to unload their gear, props, and whatever else they might need for their film sets.

For this project, IAIA has teamed with Dyron Murphy Architects and Jaynes Construction. Oscar Tovar from Dyron Murphy Architects has already completed the interior design for the RCNNA space, so once phase one is complete and the Ethnobotany Lab and Conservation Lab are moved to their new homes in the Academic Building, a general contractor can be found to begin phase two—construction of the RCNNA. Phase two, the interior renovation in the Science and Technology Building, involves creating the spaces for the RCNNA, which will include the Archives, the Archives Classroom, and the Collections Classroom.

Once the interior renovation in the Science and Technology Building is complete, the finishing touches will begin in this third phase of relocating the IAIA Archives into its new permanent home in the IAIA Research Center for Contemporary Native Arts. The IAIA Research Center for Contemporary Native Arts is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and has been undergoing development for the past three years. This exciting new space will extend IAIA’s objective to study, preserve, and disseminate traditional and contemporary Native American arts, cultures, literature, and history. By consolidating services that IAIA already provides via the IAIA Archives and the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA) into one location, the IAIA Research Center for Contemporary Native Arts will provide the opportunity for comprehensive and accelerated research of contemporary Native arts.
IAIA Students Celebrate Their Accomplishments at Scholarship Awards Luncheon
On Wednesday, September 15, 2021, 40 IAIA students gathered in the Performing Arts and Fitness Center Gym for the Fall 2021 Scholarship Awards Luncheon to celebrate their success and achievements in receiving scholarships for the 2021–2022 academic year. The entire event was livestreamed from the IAIA website. In addition to the usual photo opportunities, which students enjoyed as much as ever, this year students had the opportunity to shout out to friends and family via livestream and talk about what receiving a scholarship meant to them.

For the 2021–2022 academic year, 247 IAIA students were awarded scholarships, amounting in over $935,000. Excitement showed on the faces of every student who attended the event. Receiving scholarships is an exciting achievement for all college students—for many students it’s an award that validates their hard work, and for others a scholarship is proof that they have support in the IAIA community. For some students, receiving a scholarship defines their educational path as it determines whether or not they stay on track for their anticipated graduation year.

“I wasn’t planning on coming back next semester,” said Soledad Flores Gudino, class of 2025. “My family and I are dealing with a lot of money issues right now, and I didn’t think it was going to be possible to come back. This scholarship takes a lot of weight off my shoulders. I no longer have to worry about whether or not I’ll be able to continue at IAIA.”

Xeneca LeClair (Otoe-Missouria), class of 2023 shared how she wishes to spread love and joy with her art work. “These donors have given me hope again,” LeClair said. “This scholarship helps me continue living my dreams and creating my art.”

If you were unable to attend the 2021–2022 Scholarship Awards Luncheon, the event can still be viewed on our website at www.iaia.edu. View a photographic gallery on Dropbox.
$10,000 Broadcast Journalism Scholarship Now Open
For nearly 60 years, IAIA has played a major role in empowering Native storytellers to give voice to the Indigenous experience and share their perspectives in mainstream media. In the Fall 2021 semester, IAIA expanded this role with the new Certificate in Broadcast Journalism.

The 24-credit Broadcast Journalism Certificate program incorporates pre-existing courses from the Creative Writing, Cinematic Arts and Technology, and Performing Arts departments, and involves writing courses, hands-on training, and an internship. The certificate was designed in response to IAIA's recent partnership with NBCU Academy, which is granting scholarships of $10,000 to third- and fourth-year bachelor-degree-seeking IAIA students who declare the certificate. IAIA is one of 17 colleges/universities that NBCU Academy has partnered with as part of their commitment to diversify their newsrooms. “In all aspects of storytelling, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, it’s important for Native storytellers to take responsibility and ownership over their own stories,” explains Cinematic Arts and Technology Department Chair James Lujan (Taos Pueblo), who oversees the Broadcast Journalism Certificate. “The Broadcast Journalism Certificate is a good opportunity for Native storytellers who want to tell stories from their own community, from their own point of view. This certificate will give them the tools to be able to do that and take ownership of their stories.”

In addition to providing students with the necessary skills and experience to pursue careers in broadcast media, students in the Broadcast Journalism Certificate program will have an internship to add to their résumés and students who receive the NBCU Academy scholarship can also add that they are NBC News Fellows. The deadline to apply for the $10,000 NBCU Academy scholarship is December 3. 

Photograph by Lonnie R. Begaye (Diné) ’21.
IAIA Shares Stories of Resiliency During the Pandemic
On Sunday, September 26, the Santa Fe New Mexican published IAIA Shares Stories of Resiliency During the Pandemic, an op-ed piece written by IAIA President Dr. Robert Martin. The following is an excerpt from the published piece.

“Over the course of the past 18 months, the IAIA community has demonstrated remarkable resilience in the face of adversity caused by the Pandemic. The cooperation and respect shown each other has resulted in the safest environment possible in which students can continue to learn, grow, and create.

IAIA students have confronted multiple challenges during the COVID-19 Pandemic—in many cases, their communities have been disproportionately impacted by the Pandemic—yet a high percentage of our students have remained focus on their academic goals. In fact, student enrollment has stabilized, and the number of graduates increased in 2020 and 2021. This accomplishment is a tribute to the commitment of our students, faculty, and staff to IAIA’s fine arts mission.  

The IAIA community has taken personal responsibility for keeping our campus safe through their compliance with our COVID mitigation protocols. In addition to face coverings, maintaining social distance, and requiring COVID-19 vaccines for students attending in-person classes, we have implemented weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing in a safe and convenient on-campus location. 

We also have encouraged vaccinations for faculty and staff. As a result, 98% of students, faculty, and staff are vaccinated. The recent surge in positive cases caused by the delta variant, however, has reinforced the need for increased vigilance, mitigation measures, and communication.

This semester, 50% of our classes are offered in-person and 50% are either online or HyFlex, in which students can choose to attend classes in person or online. Our goal is to effectively and safely conduct our classes so that students can continue their educational journeys without interruption, whether in attending in person or online. We know that often our students prefer in-person classes because of poor Internet connectivity and economic and food insecurities experienced in their home communities.

Although confronted with increased uncertainties, anxiety and stress, faculty and staff have remained focused on expanding our mission and programs to better serve Indigenous communities. In 2021, IAIA launched the Master’s of Fine Arts in studio arts program and completed plans for an MFA in cultural administration. In addition, we began offering a certificate in broadcast journalism and have made significant progress in establishing our new Research Center for Contemporary Native Arts, which will dramatically increase Indigenous scholarship...”

Read the op-ed on the Santa Fe New Mexican website. Photograph by Andrew Collins.
IAIA Facilities Acquires New ADA-Compliant Van
IAIA’s new ADA-compliant van is packed to the hilt in features, says Chief Financial Officer Larry Mirabal. The 2021 Toyota Sienna Minivan hybrid is equipped with a fully automatic wheelchair entrance which can be activated with a key fob—including lowering capabilities that eliminate the need for a lift, and an extending ramp. With one permanent wheelchair space and the possibility to convert the passenger seat into an additional wheelchair space, the van can accommodate five total individuals including the driver. “The passenger seat sits on its own stand and wheels out,” says Larry Mirabal. “A person could easily remove it to make room for another wheelchair, even though the seat is heavy.”

As a hybrid, the new ADA van is extremely fuel efficient, averaging around 45 miles to the gallon. To take advantage of such an environmentally friendly travel option, the van will be used for many purposes at IAIA, but because it may be needed for accessibility purposes, it is the one van that will not be allowed for overnight check out. Right now the van is solely operated by Facilities, but once enough staff and faculty members are trained on how to use it, it will be available for any staff and faculty members who could make use of the van and are willing to undergo the short training.
An Honoring and Memory Exhibition For Professor Jeff Kahm
The IAIA Community came together in tribute on Friday, September 24, for the opening reception of Indigenous Abstraction: A Legacy for the Next Seven Generations, a juried exhibition in honor of IAIA Alumnus and Associate Professor Jeff Kahm (Plains Cree, 1968–2021) and the legacy that he leaves behind. Indigenous Abstraction features artwork created by IAIA students, staff, faculty, and alumni inspired by Kahm’s warmth, dedication, mentorship, and signature linear abstraction painting style—as well as artwork by Kahm. The exhibition will run through Friday, October 22, 2021, in the IAIA Balzer Contemporary Edge Gallery.
Artist-in-Residence Artists for the 2021 Fall Semester
The IAIA Artist-in-Residence (A-i-R) program has an impressive cohort of artists for the Fall 2021 semester. The A-i-R program hosts Native and First Nations artists for variable-length residencies for art-making and interaction with IAIA students, staff, faculty, and the greater Santa Fe arts community. Residencies take place on the IAIA Campus.


  • Heidi K. Brandow (Diné/Kānaka Maoli) 
  • Tamara Burgh (Swede/Inupiaq-Kawerak)
  • De Haven Solimon Chaffins (Laguna Pueblo/Zuni Pueblo)
  • Avis Charley (Spirit Lake Dakota/Diné)
  • Hollis Chitto (Laguna/Isleta/Mississippi Choctaw)
  • Karma Henry (Paiute/Italian/Portuguese)
  • April Holder (Sac/Fox/Wichita/Tonkawa)
  • Ramson Lomatewama (Hopi)
  • Paul Moore (Chickasaw)
  • Crystal Rose Demientieff Worl (Tlingit/Athabascan) 
  • Hoka Skenandore (Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin) 
  • Olivia Skenandore (Oglala Sioux Tribe)
  • Will Wilson (Diné) 

The program demonstrates the diverse ways in which art is an integral part of cultural continuity and the intergenerational transference of knowledge. Artists participate in opening and closing receptions, public workshops and demonstrations, classroom visits, critique sessions with students, and events hosted by other organizations in Santa Fe.
Raven Puts the Light in the Sky—IAIA Welcomes the Ken Mowatt Crest Pole to Campus
On Wednesday, September 29, 2021, IAIA welcomed the Ken Mowatt crest pole, Raven Puts the Light in the Sky, to the IAIA campus. Traditionally, the raising of a crest pole is a community event, often celebrated with songs, feasts, and performances. In this custom, Geraldine Barney (Navajo) shared an original prayer and musical performance at the event to welcome the pole as it was raised to a place of honor.

The pole, carved from red cedar by master carver Ken Mowatt (Tsimshian/Gitksan) and standing 20 feet tall, depicts how darkness was defeated based on traditional Gitksan stories. Raven Puts the Light in the Sky was initially commissioned in 1980 for the Chase Manhattan Plaza in New York City and moved to New York City’s Wagner Park in 1997. JPMorgan Chase has graciously donated it to IAIA as part of the IAIA Public Art collection.
Jeff Kahm Memorial Scholarship—Make a Contribution Today
The Jeff Kahm (Jeffery Lyndon Kahmakoatayo) Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in 2021 through a generous gift from Barbara and Robert Ells. The Ells’ generous gift in memory of Jeff Kahm will provide scholarship support for three Studio Arts Major students for four years.
We encourage our colleagues, friends, alumni, and other supporters to contribute to the Jeff Kahm Memorial Scholarship in celebration of Professor Kahm’s dedication to IAIA and our students.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day—Celebrate with IAIA and MoCNA
Celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day with IAIA and MoCNA by attending virtually and in person. Watch the livestream community event for staff, faculty, and students on our website at www.iaia.edu/indigenous, and attend in-person happenings at MoCNA in Downtown Santa Fe.

There will be a series of public programs at MoCNA, including a hoop dance performance by Lightning Boy Foundation, Inc., free admission, and a 15% discount at the Museum Store during the day-long event.

MoCNA Happenings

  • 11 am–12 pm: Walk-in tours of Exposure exhibition with MoCNA docents
  • 11 am–3 pm: Printmaking demonstration with artist Rebecca Lee Kunz (Cherokee Nation) in the Museum Store
  • 12–1 pm: Walk-in tours of Exposure exhibition with MoCNA docents
  • 1–1:30 pm: Hoop Dance performance by Lightning Boy Foundation, Inc. in the MoCNA Art Park
  • 2–3 pm: Pueblo stories with Cactus Eddie (Isleta Pueblo) in the Museum Store

IAIA and MoCNA requests that all visitors for public events be fully vaccinated and wear face coverings. The Indigenous Peoples’ Day happening on campus is closed to the public.
Providing Outreach Excellence—Continuing Education
The IAIA Continuing Education (CE) Fall 2021 Courses are available for registration. The course schedule features unique and affordable educational offerings, including Indigenous language and literature classes, business and entrepreneurial courses, and art and gardening workshops.

Continuing Education is committed to providing comprehensive training and adult education for the advancement and growth in workforce skills, lifelong learning, and empowerment through community-based learning opportunities.

Continuing Education is always looking for interesting course ideas and opportunities. If you would like to suggest or teach a course, please contact continuinged@iaia.edu or submit a “Suggest a Course” or “Teach A Course” proposal at www.iaia.edu/ce. If you are an IAIA Alumni or member of the IAIA community and you are interested in teaching, please submit your ideas.

If you missed a webinar last semester, some recent webinars are posted to the IAIA Continuing Education web page.
2021–2022 IAIA College Catalog
“The 2021–2022 academic year will be one of recovery and renewal for each one of us, our home communities, and the world. I want you to know that IAIA will do everything it can to protect your safety and support your academic and personal growth.”
—IAIA President Dr. Robert Martin

Download and view the 2021–2022 IAIA College Catalog.

The cover art features Jeff Kahm’s Converse. This catalog is dedicated to the memory of IAIA Assistant Professor Jeff Kahm, MA, and to everyone in the IAIA Community who has suffered loss and hardship during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Join the IAIA Community—View Open Positions
IAIA is looking to hire driven individuals who believe in and support IAIA’s mission, “To empower creativity and leadership in Native Arts and cultures through higher education, lifelong learning, and outreach.”

IAIA offers competitive salaries and an outstanding benefits package for regular full-time positions, which includes, medical, dental, vision, term life, long term disability, short term disability, a 403B investment plan, and Employee Assistance Program.

To see available positions, view the Employment page.
Town Hall Meetings Hosted by IAIA President
Watch Town Hall Meetings hosted by IAIA President Dr. Robert Martin.

The Vimeo playlist includes 19 videos, all of which are archived and can be viewed at anytime. (Includes town hall meetings, convocation, and others.)
New Officers in Associated Student Government
The following new officers have been appointed to the IAIA Associated Student Government (ASG).

  • Shannon Hooper (Fallon Paiute Shoshone), President
  • Paige Busick (Chickasaw), Secretary
  • Davidsarah Kaplan (Citizen Potawatomi Nation), Treasurer
  • Shantel Chee (Diné), Public Relations

The ASG was chartered to give students representation in the college community and offers a variety of services and opportunities for expression, leadership, and involvement. It represents students in decision-making, and is an important link between the student, faculty, and administration.
IAIA Alumni Spotlight—LaShawn Medicine Horn ’19
Over the past two years, IAIA Alumna LaShawn Medicine Horn (Yankton Sioux) ’19 has been making her mark as a tattoo artist. Upon graduation from IAIA, she began a year-long apprenticeship learning the ins and outs of tattoo artistry and is now a fully licensed artist who hopes to contribute to the elevation of the art form.

A studio arts major whose primary area of study was mixed media and installation work, she set out to expand her abstract paintings to new mediums, and the human canvas presented an exciting new challenge. Her studio arts background and education serve as a solid foundation that directly translates to her career in the tattoo industry—examples of both are available on her online portfolio on Instagram.

As she further evolves as a tattoo artist, her goal is to continue to merge her fine arts training with this centuries-old art form. She aims to take up space via exhibitions and pop-ups in institutions where tattoos have not traditionally been considered fine art.

Medicine Horn works out of The Dungeon Tattoo and Piercing in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she is available for appointments.
Community News and Happenings
The following contains information about recent happenings and news within the IAIA community.

Upcoming and ongoing Happenings at IAIA and MoCNA.

Current Exhibitions at MoCNA.

Additionally, you can view the IAIA Community Calendar, which includes community-only happenings, as well as important dates from the Academic Calendar. (IAIA Community: If you would like to subscribe to the IAIA Community Calendar, please send a request to jason.ordaz@iaia.edu.)
From the Collection

This month’s featured image from the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts’ digital collection.

Parker Boyiddle (Kiowa/Chickasaw), Birth (New Life), Edition 505–1000, Offset print of woman giving birth amid the clouds with various animals hidden in background, 29.375 in x 22 in, 1978, Museum Purchase, 1983, Courtesy of the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe, NM.
From the Photo Archive

This month’s photographic session from the archive is the 2015 IAIA Open House Polaroid Booth.

The photographs from the archives show participants holding their polaroid. IAIA hosted its annual Open House event on November 27, 2015.
Correction: In the September 2021 IAIA Newsletter story, “IAIA’s Recent Graduate Art Market and Partnership with SWAIA Indian Market,” Mr. Thomas Tapia (Tesuque Pueblo) was incorrectly listed as an IAIA alumnus. (Mr. Tapia is not an IAIA alumnus.)

For questions, comments, or feedback, please contact IAIA Interim Director of Communications Jason S. Ordaz at jason.ordaz@iaia.edu.

Newsletter written by IAIA Communications staff Jason S. Ordaz, Nicole Lawe (Karuk) ’16, and Veronica Clark ’21. All photographs by Jason S. Ordaz, unless cited otherwise.
About the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA)
The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) is the only college in the world dedicated to the study of contemporary Native American and Alaska Native arts. IAIA offers undergraduate degrees in Cinematic Arts and Technology, Creative Writing, Indigenous Liberal Studies, Museum Studies, Performing Arts, and Studio Arts; graduate degrees in Creative Writing and Studio Arts; and certificates in Broadcast Journalism, Business and Entrepreneurship, Museum Studies, and Native American Art History. The college serves approximately 500 full-time equivalent (FTE) Native and non-Native American students from around the globe, representing nearly a hundred federally recognized tribes. Named one of the top art institutions by UNESCO and the International Association of Art, IAIA is among the leading art institutes in our nation and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).