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IARC Director, Brian Vallo, Resigns to Assume Role as Acoma Pueblo Governor

Jan 7, 2019

Brian Vallo, four-year director of the Indian Arts Research Center (IARC) at the School for Advanced Research resigned on Friday January 4, 2019. Starting immediately, Vallo will assume the role of Acoma Pueblo’s governor. Upon his resignation, Vallo shared, 

“I am humbled by this great honor to serve my community as Governor, the responsibility is tremendous and the opportunities equally great. I have enjoyed working with such an amazing and competent staff to enhance signature programming and expand IARC’s capacity to make an even greater impact to programs and new initiatives. This work has, and will continue to set new standards for collaboration, education, community engagement, and collections stewardship. SAR must take great pride in the positive impact of its initiatives to further advance the field of museology and capacity-building among tribal communities. I have every confidence the IARC and SAR will continue to lead important and impactful initiatives.”

As the director of the IARC at SAR, Vallo led a significant and nationally-recognized initiative on proper stewardship of Native American collections by spearheading the development and 2016 publication of a protocol for how source communities and collecting institutions can work together, known as the Guidelines for Collaboration. Vallo advised museum curators and exhibition-design teams on the implementation of the Guidelines, including recent work with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Field Museum in Chicago. Under his guidance, the IARC collections grew to over 12,000 works of primarily Southwestern Native American art that span the sixth century to the present and SAR’s Native American artist fellowship program continued to thrive. In his new role as the Governor of Acoma Pueblo, Vallo will continue to be influential in the emerging dialogue concerning source communities and collecting institutions. SAR President, Michael F. Brown, noted,

Michael F. Brown, President of SAR

Michael F. Brown, President, School for Advanced Research

“It has been an honor to work with Brian Vallo over his time at SAR. Through his steadfast dedication to the IARC and the collections we steward, we have become a leader in best practices for collecting institutions that care for Native American art. He and his staff have built important relationships with source communities, with museums around the world, and with contemporary Native American artists. This foundation ensures that the IARC will continue to expand and grow. Brian’s role as Acoma Governor is an exciting new step for him, and we look forward to opportunities to work with Brian within his new role.”

SAR is pleased to have Elysia Poon, IARC curator of education, serve as acting director for the IARC.

Elysia Poon, Curator of EducationElysia Poon
2007–Present
Under the guidance of Elysia Poon, the Indian Arts Research Center at the School for Advanced Research, has furthered a Native Artist Fellowship program that is now one of the most nationally recognized opportunities for Native American artists. The program offers three artists a year the opportunity to live and work on campus and draw inspiration from SAR’s historic campus and the IARC collections which includes 12,000 works of primarily Southwestern Native American art spanning the sixth century to the present. Poon received her BA in art history and criticism from the University of California, San Diego and MA in art history from the University of New Mexico. Prior to coming to SAR, Elysia worked for the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Autry National Center in Los Angeles, Museum of Indian Arts & Culture in Santa Fe, and Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. Her responsibilities have also included IARC public programming and education outreach.

For questions regarding IARC business please contact Elysia Poon, curator of education at poon@sarsf.org.
For general information or media inquiries contact Meredith Davidson at davidson@sarsf.org, 505-954-7223.

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