VANCOUVER, Wash. – The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF) has announced that the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), in Santa Fe, New Mexico, will be honored with the NACF’s first “Creative Spirit Award.” The award recognizes an organization that promotes innovation and creativity in the arts, provides exemplary programs, and has a history of service to Indigenous communities and cultures. The IAIA will be presented with the award at the Foundation’s gala fundraiser to be held May 17 in Portland, Oregon.
The Institute of American Indian Arts was established in 1962 during the administration of President John F. Kennedy and opened on the campus of the Indian School in Santa Fe. Under the leadership of Dr. George Boyce, Lloyd Kiva New and others, the Institute embodied a bold and innovative approach to arts education. Many of the 4,000 students who have attended IAIA have gone on to earn recognition as acclaimed artists, writers, educators, and leaders in their professions. In 1986 Congress established IAIA as the Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture and Arts Development making IAIA one of only three Congressionally chartered colleges.
The Institute became the only national center of research, training, and scholarship for Native Americans devoted solely to American Indian and Alaska Native arts and culture, recognized by Congress as “our only native art form and cultural heritage.” Today, IAIA awards baccalaureate degrees as a four-year college, and offers both two- and four-year degrees in creative writing, Indigenous liberal studies, museum studies, new media arts, and studio arts. It remains the only four-year college in the nation dedicated to the study of contemporary Native arts.
“The IAIA is to be commended for its important role in providing education to generations of Native artists,” says NACF President/CEO T. Lulani Arquette. “The Institute embodies what we mean when we talk about ‘keeping the creative spirit alive’ and supporting Native communities; the IAIA is doing this every day through its curriculum, its insightful exhibitions, and its public programs which have touched so many people throughout the decades and helped them to understand and appreciate Native arts and cultures.”
“It is with honor and gratitude that IAIA accepts the Foundation’s first ‘Creative Spirit’ Award,” says IAIA President Dr. Robert Martin. “As the college celebrates its 50th anniversary, we are proud to be in essence the birthplace for contemporary Native art. We continue to be inspired by the vision, originality and achievements of our alumni and current students. Creativity is at the heart of IAIA.”
The gala, which will start at 5:30 p.m. at the Leftbank Annex (101 North Weidler Street), is billed as a spectacular evening of entertainment, sumptuous food and celebration. “This will be a wonderful and unique opportunity to mingle with like-minded patrons and support Native arts and cultures,” says Arquette. Guests will meet and interact with NACF grantees and sponsors, who will come from across the country.
A Native-inspired dinner of Hawaiian, Alaskan and Native American cuisine will be served. The evening program also features musical performances by award-winning and internationally acclaimed musician Gabriel Ayala and singer Raiatea Helm (Native Hawaiian) and a visual arts auction featuring work by prominent Native artists, including Tony Abeyta (Diné), Preston Singletary (Tlingit) and Jeremy Frey (Passamaquoddy), “Best of Show” winner at the 2011 Santa Fe Indian Market. For out of area guests, there will be suggestions for an extended weekend visit in Portland/SW Washington.
Tickets to the event can be purchased online at www.nacf.us/gala or by calling the Foundation’s office at (360) 314-2421. Individual tickets are $150. Sponsorships are $500–$35,000.