Cynthia Chavez Lamar

Director, IARC


Cynthia Chavez LamarCynthia Chavez LamarDirector, IARC
Cynthia Chavez Lamar
Cynthia Chavez Lamar (3-D)Cynthia Chavez Lamar (3-D)Courtesy of Jason S. Ordaz

Build your own 3-D glasses (PDF, 315 KB) or visit Southwest Crossroads in 3-D to receive a free pair.
Cynthia Chavez Lamar (3-D)

Cynthia grew up in San Felipe Pueblo, New Mexico, her father’s home community. Her heritage also includes Hopi/Tewa and Navajo on her maternal side of the family. She received her B.A. from Colorado College and an M.A. in American Indian Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. In 2001 she completed her Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of New Mexico, where she focused on combining her interest in Native art history with museum studies. In 2008 she received an honorary doctorate from her alma mater, Colorado College. She serves on various boards, was appointed by Governor Richardson to the New Mexico Arts Commission in 2009, and was nominated by President Obama to the Institute of American Indian Arts Board of Trustees in 2010.

She began her career at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), where she served as an associate curator from 2000–2005. Her major accomplishment during her tenure was leading the development of the inaugural exhibition, Our Lives: Contemporary Life and Identities, which currently remains on exhibit at the NMAI on the National Mall in Washington, DC. After five years in DC, she longed for New Mexico and accepted a position at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center (IPCC) in Albuquerque as the museum director. While there, she revitalized the educational programming and exhibits. Much of her work at NMAI and IPCC focused on fostering collaborative relationships and projects among Native peoples, organizations, and institutions. She continues to advance this type of work at IARC.

Cynthia’s research interests include contemporary Native arts, issues of representation in museums, and cultural heritage rights of Native peoples. She is currently researching Pueblo, Navajo, and Apache moccasins for the development of a small traveling banner exhibit that will be available for exhibit at Native communities and other venues.