Institute of American Indian Arts

The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) is a public tribal college in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The college focuses on Native American art. It operates the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA), which is housed in the historic Santa Fe Federal Building (the old Post Office), a landmark Pueblo Revival building listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Federal Building. The museum houses the National Collection of Contemporary Indian Art, with more than 7,000 items.

Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA)
TypePublic tribal college
PresidentRobert Martin
Location, ,
United States

35.587°N 106.010°W / 35.587; -106.010
ColorsSilver & Turquoise          
Federal Building
Early 20th Century postcard depicting the Federal Building
Location108 Cathedral Place at Palace St., Santa Fe, New Mexico
Coordinates35°41′13″N 105°56′11″W
Area1 acre (0.40 ha)
Built1920 (1920)
Architectural stylePueblo
NRHP reference #74001207[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPAugust 15, 1974
Designated NMSRCPJune 4, 1982


The Institute of American Indian Arts was co-founded by Lloyd Kiva New (Cherokee, 1916–2002) and Dr. George Boyce in 1962 with funding from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.[2] The school was founded upon the recommendation of the BIA Department of Education and the Indian Arts and Crafts Board. Three factors led to the school's founding: growing dissatisfaction with the academic program at the Santa Fe Indian School, the BIA's emerging interest in higher education, and the influence of the Southwest Indian Art Project and the Rockefeller Foundation.

IAIA began on the SFIS campus in October 1962. From 1962 to 1979, IAIA ran a high school program, and began offering college- and graduate-level art courses in 1975. In 1986, the Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture and Arts Development was congressionally chartered as a nonprofit organization, similar to the structure of the Smithsonian Institution, which separated the school from the BIA. In 2001, the school was accredited, including the accreditation of four year degrees. A two-year low-residency MFA in creative writing was accredited in 2013.

Today, IAIA sits on a 140-acre campus twelve miles south of downtown Santa Fe and also operates the Museum of Contemporary Native Art, which is located in Santa Fe Plaza, as well as the Center for Lifelong Education.

IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

In 1991 the college founded the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum, now the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA), in downtown Santa Fe, with a focus on contemporary intertribal Native American art (the C. N. Gorman Museum at the University of California, Davis, which also has a contemporary intertribal Native art focus, was founded in 1973.[3]) MoCNA is housed in the historic Santa Fe Federal Building (the old Post Office), a landmark Pueblo Revival building listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[4] The museum also features the Allan Houser Sculpture Garden.


IAIA is a member of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, which includes tribally and federally chartered institutions working to strengthen tribal nations and make a difference in the lives of American Indians and Alaska Natives. IAIA generally serves geographically isolated populations of Native Americans that have few other means of accessing education beyond the high school level.[5]

During the early 1970s, faculty member Ed Wapp, Jr.'s E-Yah-Pah-Hah Chanters toured nationally with the Hanay Geiogamah's American Indian Theatre Ensemble, a company in residence at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in New York City.[6] A program from this tour describes the musical ensemble as "students from the Institute of American Indian Arts at Santa Fe, N.M., and are under the direction of Ed Wapp, Jr. Their music is presented in both the traditional and contemporary American Indian forms. Songs are selected from the Plains, Eastern, Great Basin, Southwest and Northwest Coast areas of Indian Country."[7]

Notable faculty

Notable alumni

Notable administration and staff


  1. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. "Lloyd Kiva New, 86, Teacher of Indian Arts". New York Times. 10 February 2002. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  3. Tsinhnahjinnie, Hulleah J.; Passalacqua, Veronica. "About the C.N. Gorman Museum". C.N. Gorman Museum. University of California, Davis. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  4. "National Register of Historical Places - NEW MEXICO (NM), Santa Fe County". Retrieved 2018-05-14.
  5. American Indian Higher Education Consortium Archived 2012-06-14 at the Wayback Machine
  6. La MaMa Archives Digital Collections. "Tour: American Indian Theatre Ensemble US Tour (Feb-April 1973)". Accessed May 14, 2018.
  7. La MaMa Archives Digital Collections. "Program: Na Haaz Zan and Body Indian (1972)". Accessed May 14, 2018.
  8. "Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations". Penguin Random House. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  9. Kleinfeld, Judith S.; Wescott, Siobhan (1993). Fantastic Antone succeeds!: experiences in educating children with fetal alcohol syndrome. Fairbanks, Alaska: University of Alaska Press. p. 55. ISBN 0-912006-71-4.
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