IAIA - Institute of American Indian Arts

Karita Coffey

Photo by Teresa Fields

Karita Coffey (Comanche Nation) has taught ceramics at IAIA since 1987. She is a much-honored sculptor whose work has been collected by museums throughout the nation and featured in major periodicals.


Karita Coffey earned her B.F.A. and M. Ed. degrees from the University of Oklahoma.

Major Professional Activities

She has been involved with professional art activities, such as the National Advisory Board for Handmade in America, Asheville, NC; judging art competitions for the Eiteljorg Museum’s Annual Indian Market (Indianapolis); the Santa Fe Annual Indian Market; serving an art residency at Cameron University in Lawton, OK. And she recently received a Kellogg/MSI American Indian Higher Education Consortium Leadership Fellowship.

Her work is represented in various collections, including the Millicent Rogers Museum, Taos, NM; Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ; Fred Jones, Jr. Museum of Art at Oklahoma University, Norman, and others. She has been featured in major publications, such as “Winter Camp – Honoring the Legacy: Contemporary Expressions of Oklahoma Tribal Art,” National Cowboy Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City; “Anticipating the Dawn”, Gardiner Art Gallery, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater and most recently “Changing Hands 2,” Museum of Arts & Design, New York City.

Professor Coffey has also been highlighted in Who’s Who in American Art; American Women Sculptors: A History of Women Working in Three Dimensions, by Charlotte Rubinstein and Mixed Blessings, by Lucy Lippard.

Teaching Statement

“One of the greatest values of IAIA is its dynamic energy that the many students bring to the arts curriculum through their rich and varied experiences as Native peoples. They’ve developed new forms of expression because of who they are. IAIA provides a safe place for students to explore and strengthen their artistic identities. It is a safe haven for students to really learn about themselves, as individuals and as Native people. My intention is to help guide students in these processes of growth and discovery.”


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