The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) is a college focused on Native American art, located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Many IAIA graduates transition into full-time careers as self-supporting artists, while others continue their education at universities and art schools nationwide.
The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) was created by the United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), in 1961. The multi-tribal art school was created upon the recommendation of the BIA Department of Education and the Indian Arts and Crafts Board. Three factors led to the creation of IAIA: dissatisfaction with the academic program of the Santa Fe Indian School (SFIS), a BIA paradigm shift towards post-graduate education, and the influence of the Southwest Indian Art Project and the Rockefeller Foundation. IAIA began operations on the campus of the SFIS in October 1962. From 1962-1979, IAIA ran a high school program and post-graduate art courses and beginning in 1975, was accredited to grant college degrees in various formats culminating in the accreditation of four-year degrees in 2001. In 2013, a two-year low residency MFA Program in Creative Writing was approved and implemented. In 1986, The Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture and Arts Development was congressionally chartered as a non-profit organization, similar to the structure of the Smithsonian Institution, removing it from the control of the BIA. Today, IAIA sits on a beautiful 140 acre campus 12 miles south of Santa Fe and also operates the downtown located Museum of Contemporary Native Art and the Center for Lifelong Education.
In 1991, The Institute of American Indian Arts Museum, now called the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, was founded by the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, as the only museum to focus on contemporary intertribal Native American art. IAIA operates the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, 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. The museum, which showcases work by Native artists, features the Allan HouserSculpture Garden. The museum houses the 7,000+ piece National Collection of Contemporary Indian Art.
Performance art piece by Rulan Tangen at the Museum of Contemporary Native Art (2010)
Performance by Wayne Gaussoin at the Museum of Contemporary Native Art
IAIA is a member of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), which is a community of tribally and federally chartered institutions working to strengthen tribal nations and make a lasting difference in the lives of American Indians and Alaska Natives. IAIA was created in response to the higher education needs of American Indians. IAIA generally serves geographically isolated populations that have no other means accessing education beyond the high school level.