The Institute of American Indian Art’s 50th Anniversary celebration for now is being placed into two camps, those who helped and planned for the Nov. 1 Lensic Performing Arts Center event, and those working on the Open House, which is scheduled for November 4.
For the Open House event, there is intensive planning, which is spearheaded by Kirsten Jasna and her group, who are gearing up again to make it another successful round of putting IAIA in the limelight. If last year’s event is any indication of what the turnout might be like, than we are in for another wave of people who will be able to tour the campus at their leisure or go on a guided tour that highlights the institute’s history while showcasing its present accomplishments.
Visitors can take a peek at the graphics being displayed at the digital dome, enjoy the art of IAIA’s seniors at the Primitive Edge Gallery, enjoy the live music provided by the students of IA’s Music Club, go into the various studios, talk to a professors about their particular craft and meet face to face with heads of departments.
Moreover, the Open House is a chance to see how much IAIA has grown. For instance, I wonder how many people know that our library was once housed within the confines of the area of the Primitive Edge Gallery toward the former senior studios. It is a chance to show how much the Institute has sustained throughout the years in both good and bad times. It is important that we share both because in the end, it shows just how much this school, which had its humble beginnings on completely different grounds, has been through. It shows how we came from having World War II era bunkers to real studios. It is also about our own personal collective histories from tribal members that cover an area that stretches from as far east as Puerto Rico to the Hawaiian islands and the Philippines in the west, and as far north as Canada and Alaska. Then if you think about it, it also contains the stories of all our friends, the visiting artists that have come from all over the globe, to help share their knowledge, history and stories with us.
The open house is a great time to reflect and share with many people what IAIA was, is and will become.