News for Friday, August 6, 2010

US Senate Confirms Presidential Nomination of Dr. Cynthia Chavez Lamar for IAIA Board

Cynthia Chavez LamarCynthia Chavez LamarFormer Director, IARCCynthia Chavez LamarFormer Director, IARC

Press Release, August 6, 2010

The United States Senate voted June 22, 2010 to confirm the nominations of JoAnn Lynn Balzer and Cynthia Chavez Lamar (San Felipe Pueblo/Hopi/Tewa/Navajo), both of Santa Fe, New Mexico, to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA). IAIA is a four-year tribal college based in Santa Fe. As trustees, Balzer and Chavez Lamar will formulate policies and make rules and bylaws for IAIA, as well as direct strategic planning to ensure sufficient resources to accomplish IAIA's mission.

“Both Chavez Lamar and Balzer were extremely well-qualified candidates, and I’m pleased that their nominations were confirmed so promptly,” said IAIA President, Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee Nation). “I look forward to working with them as we advance the mission of IAIA.” The Institute of American Indian Arts is one of three Congressionally chartered schools in the nation; therefore trustees are nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate.

Dr. Cynthia Chavez Lamar grew up in San Felipe Pueblo, New Mexico, which is her father’s home community. Her heritage also includes Hopi/Tewa and Navajo on her maternal side of the family. She is currently the director of the Indian Arts Research Center (IARC) at the School for Advanced Research (SAR) in Santa Fe. The IARC, a division of SAR, manages a collection of 12,000 Native art objects from the Southwest, and supports programs and seminars focused on art-related issues and topics.

Chavez Lamar 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 remains on exhibit at the NMAI on the National Mall in Washington, DC. After five years in Washington, D.C., she moved back to 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.

She received her bachelor of arts degree from Colorado College, and a master of arts 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, and in 2009 she was appointed by Governor Richardson to the New Mexico Arts Commission. She also serves on the boards of the Chamiza Foundation and the Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies.

About IAIA: IAIA’s mission is to empower creativity and leadership in Native arts and cultures through higher education, lifelong learning and outreach.

Offering degrees in studio arts, creative writing, new media arts, Indigenous liberal studies, and museum studies, IAIA is the only college in New Mexico with National Association of Schools of Art and Design accreditation. IAIA is also accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges. IAIA operates two centers, the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts and the Center for Lifelong Education.

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