IAIA - Institute of American Indian Arts


Apprenticeships place students in a direct one-on-one mentoring relationship with an elder, a master artist, or a cultural expert who is willing to share his or her expertise and experience with a student.  The student is to provide assistance to the mentor on a specific project or undertaking.  In this way, through observation and direct involvement, students will become familiar with new artistic processes, cultural practices and related approaches.

All students keep a journal to document their learning.  Each student will write a final reflective paper.  Mentors will complete an evaluation commenting on student learning through this experience.

Over four years, students may enroll in two levels of apprenticeships for variable credit.  Students may enroll in 1-6 credit apprenticeships.

Apprenticeship I 295
Apprenticeship II 495

Apprenticeships are available in the following programs:
MUSM295, MUSM 495 Museum Studies-for one-on-one learning with an independent curator or related project.

ARTS295, ARTS495 Studio Arts-for one-on-one learning with a master artist or craftsperson.  Any of the following prefixes may be used:  CERA, JEWL, PRTM, SCUP, PHOT, PTNG.

IDST295, IDST495, Indigenous Studies-for one-on-one learning from a tribally-acknowledged expert.

NMAD295, NMAD495 New Media Arts-for one-on-one learning with an independent media artist or graphic artist.

CRWR295, CRWR495  Creative Writing-for one-on-one learning with a writer.

“I apprenticed with a master artist, and it helped me see what it takes to make it in the art world.”

“I worked for four years at the Museum of Contemporary Native Art while I was a student. This is IAIA’s museum in downtown Santa Fe. I met people from all over the world as I learned how to become a spokesperson for Native American art and artists.”

“I apprenticed with a master artist and it helped me see what it takes to make it in the art world.”

“My independent studies in creative writing helped me to progress as a writer. The individual attention and feedback from the faculty was incredible!”

“The opportunity to go to Turkey and create a site specific work with my sculpture professor is the most exciting thing I’ve done in my educational career!”

“As a student, I attended the Venice Biennial with faculty and staff from IAIA and it lifted my awareness of indigenous art globally. This was central to my receiving a full scholarship at Cornell University to achieve my doctoral degree. Without IAIA this would never have happened.”

“I am hoping to spend the fall semester in Mexico documenting curanderismo/a as it is practiced by indigenous healers today. I have been given their permission to photograph and interview them. This is the most exciting educational opportunity I can imagine. Thank you, CLE and IAIA, for bringing the curanderos to campus!”

“The Creative Writing program sends students to conferences and workshops every summer. I got to go to Naropa and it was the first time I saw myself as a professional writer with an important voice. I truly felt valued.”

“IAIA was my stepping stone to the world. I come from a very rural reservation and at first Santa Fe was a big city to me. Now I’ve received my MFA from Brown University and I returned home to teach at Dine College. This would not have happened without the unique learning opportunities and the support I had at IAIA.”

> Download the apprenticeship form (.pdf)