Institute of American Indian Arts
83 Avan Nu Po Road
Santa Fe, NM 87508
Mission, Vision, Educational Philosophy
The mission of the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) is to empower creativity and leadership in Native arts and cultures through higher education, life-long learning, and outreach.
As the only four-year fine arts degree institution in the nation devoted to contemporary Native American and Alaska Native arts, IAIA aims to be the premier educational institution for Native peoples in Native arts and cultures. IAIA promotes several core values including collaboration, upholding high standards for all, encouraging creativity, fostering respect for all cultures, perspectives and identities, and integrity.
IAIA first opened its doors as a high school formed under the Bureau of Indians Affairs in 1962. Originally a high school formed under the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs, IAIA began offering two-year associate degrees in 1975. Congress officially chartered IAIA and committed funding through the Culture and Art Development Act in 1986.
By the 1990s, IAIA had outgrown its original location on the campus of Santa Fe’s Indian School. In 1992, IAIA relocated its Museum of Contemporary Native Arts to downtown Santa Fe. The college relocated to its permanent 140-acre campus in 2000. IAIA also expanded its academic programs to offer its first baccalaureate degree programs in 2000. In 2006, a Museum Studies and Indigenous Liberal Studies bachelor’s degree program began.
In the fall of 2010, IAIA added over 60,000 square feet of building space to its campus with the completion of new facilities.
IAIA received its original accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in 1984. IAIA is also the only school in New Mexico to receive accreditation for its certificate, associate’s, and bachelor’s degree programs from the National Association of Schools of Arts and Design.
Geographic Features and Challenges
IAIA’s relocation to its permanent campus on the southern edge of Santa Fe presented new opportunities to the institution and its students. New facilities on the campus include the Library and Technology Center, completed in 2003, which provides lab space for courses in graphic design, motion graphics, and digital video and a 260-seat auditorium. The new Residence Center opened in spring 2008, followed by Family Housing during the fall 2009. Most recently, a new Science and Technology Center and Sculpture and Foundry Building have opened. Each addition has added not only to IAIA’s reputation as a premier arts institution, but also to its ability to recruit new students.
Academics and Students
IAIA programs include certificate programs (two), associate’s degrees of arts (two), and associate’s degree of fine arts (three). For students wishing to pursue four-year degrees, IAIA offers bachelor’s degree of arts (two) and bachelor’s degree of fine arts (three) programs.
Approximately 325 students attend IAIA annually, with 68 percent pursuing their studies full-time. Eighty-three percent of IAIA students are Native American and 51 percent are female.
IAIA experienced a slight dip in the number of degrees conferred between the 2006-2007 and 2009-2010 academic years. In 2006-2007, IAIA conferred 13 associate degrees and 22 bachelor’s degrees. In 2009-2010, it conferred four associate’s degrees and 20 bachelor’s degrees.
IAIA’s rich history attracts world-renowned Native artists, authors, and scholars to its faculty. It employs 33 full-time faculty and 22 part-time faculty and additional staff members to serve the student population.
Other Outstanding Accomplishments
IAIA’s Museum of Contemporary Native Arts moved its 7,500-piece collection, the National Collection of Contemporary Native American Art, to a new state-of-the-art storage space on IAIA’s campus. The new 7,000 square foot collection storage facility adheres to the best practices in collections care. With the new on-campus location, students can access the collection and receive hands-on experience working with professional staff and instructors to care for the collection.
New partnerships with the motion picture industry have garnered IAIA national attention in recent years. IAIA hosted workshops held in tandem with television and film studios that also provided internships to IAIA students. The college’s media arts program also collaborated with the state of New Mexico and the Screen Actors Guild to host panel discussions and workshops addressing employment opportunities for Native Americans in the television and film industry.
Many consider the vast national and international success of its alumni the most significant accomplishment. In the 50 years since its inception, IAIA has nurtured and educated some of the most prolific Native artists in the country.