IAIA and CalArts Explore New Partnership for Indigenous Influence and Collaboration

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Santa Fe, New Mexico, April 7, 2022 — In its ongoing mission “to empower creativity and leadership in Indigenous arts and cultures through higher education, lifelong learning, and outreach The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) is pleased to announce the formation of a new partnership with the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). The partnership will allow schools to collaborate and influence each other through student and faculty exchanges.

“CalArts is at the beginning of a process of indigenization, and we look to the IAIA for guidance on how best to approach this,” said Dr. Chad Hamill (Spokan), CalArts President’s Fellow for the Arts and Literature. native expression. While the IAIA will provide guidance to CalArts in its indigenization efforts, CalArts, located in the Greater Los Angeles Area, will provide IAIA students with access to cutting-edge and experimental art-making technologies, as well as future job opportunities. The school has strong ties with animation and film studios, the theater and music industries, and experience design companies.

Felipe Colón (Laguna Pueblo), Academic Dean of the IAIA, explains the history that led to this partnership saying, “As a school that has been in existence for sixty years, the IAIA has established links with many institutions interested in Indigenous arts and artists. IAIA has a long, informal community connection with CalArts through our students, alumni, and faculty. Through this partnership, we will build a reciprocal and collaborative relationship for the future.

CalArts is a nonprofit, interdisciplinary arts institute offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in many programs of study, including traditional and digital media arts, film, performance, and music. Its mission is to “promote a community of artists who, through artistic practice, seek to transform themselves, each other and the world”. As CalArts enters its fifty-first year, the school seeks to diversify its student body, staff, faculty, and program by establishing collaborations and sharing resources with artists, educators, nations, and institutions. indigenous like IAIA, the only college in the world dedicated to the study of contemporary Native American and Alaska Native arts.

CalArts President and CEO Ravi Rajan believes that the missions of the two schools are complementary and that their shared goals can provide a solid foundation for mutual growth and exchange. “The mission of the IAIA is something very, very important,” he says. “It’s meant to amplify Indigenous voices in the arts and culture space through contemporary practice, and it’s conspicuously absent in the contemporary culture space in the United States.”

“As an indigenous institution, we believe that indigenous ideas and values ​​are not exclusively indigenous,” says Felipe Colón. “Indigenous peoples have much to teach the world. By exposing more of who we are to CalArts students, they will learn Indigenous values, practices, and in some cases, techniques that they can pass on in their work, practice, and their conscience as artists.”

Potential areas of cooperation may include film arts and technology, creative writing, and museum studies, as the two schools have already established programs. Early ideas involve joint educational collaborations, public engagements (e.g., performances, seminars, symposia, and conferences), and faculty-student exchanges.

Abigail Severance, acting dean of the School of Film and Video, commended IAIA President Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee) for ensuring student experiences and opportunities were front and center. of the partnership framework. “Student exchanges would be of great interest, and it feels natural and organic in the way we have worked with other schools before.”

Image Credit: Gallery Night at CalArts, photography courtesy of CalArts

Eve LaFountain (Chippewa), CalArts Assistant Director of Admissions for School of Film and Video, grew up in Santa Fe and attended CalArts. She expressed her enthusiasm for the future prospects of the partnership. “On a personal level, it’s exciting to see these things come together. Everything I knew about contemporary art before I left home came from the IAIA.” LaFountain has family who went to IAIA, and she participated in special programs here as an undergraduate student. She says the one-on-one conversations about the IAIA she’s had with her peers at CalArts have resulted in rewarding exchanges, and she looks forward to seeing what opportunities will emerge from the IAIA-CalArts partnership. “I’m just very excited to be a part of it.”

For now, the agreement is in its exploratory phase. Presidents Rajan and Dr. Martin agree that the structure of the partnership should form organically in response to the needs and desires of both communities. “If we force a problem here, it’s unlikely to last,” says Rajan. “It’s something we want to establish and make sure it stays for a long time.”

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