Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

Ideas for a Native Design Laboratory

Textile by Lloyd Kiva New (Cherokee), ca. 1960s. Silkscreened and hand-painted cotton fabric. Museum of Contemporary Native Arts. CHE-9.

After his successful run as a fashion designer, Lloyd Kiva New began developing his ideas for an art school that would provide new opportunities for Native youth. In the late 1950s, he stated:

“My next project will be the establishment of some kind of a design laboratory. We’ll teach Indian boys and girls, just out of school, how to make a living with their own native craft-work. I’d like to put the bead work of the Yuma Indians, and the native fabrics of the Navajo, Hopi, and Sioux into high fashion too!”

These ideas for a ‘design laboratory’ led to the opening of the Institute of American Indian Arts in 1962.