Construction on Campus—IAIA Expands Its Mission

Oct 13, 2021

Many have probably noticed construction on the IAIA campus. Some may have been wondering what this construction is for, while others may have already heard a thing or two about the new IAIA Research Center for Contemporary Native Arts (RCCNA).

The construction, now simultaneously in phases one and two, has been sectioned into three phases and is looking to be ahead of schedule. “We were originally on track to complete phase one in mid-February,” says IAIA Chief Financial Advisor Larry Mirabal. “Now it’s looking like it’s going to be early February. Of course, that’s all subject to change with weather and material availability. Those are the biggest factors right now.”

As often happens when new spaces are developed on the IAIA campus, not just a few, but many changes will occur with the construction of the RCNNA. Phase one involves building an extension onto the Academic Building in the back courtyard. The extension will house the Ethnobotany Lab and the Conservation Lab—to make room for the RCNNA in the Barbara and Robert Ells Science and Technology Building—as well as the Digital Fabrication Lab (Fab Lab), which will be updated with a new HVAC system built specifically for the purposes of digital fabrication, and a brand new Cinematic Arts and Technology Film Studio. The Film Studio, which will sit in the Fab Lab’s current location, will be a blacked-out room with all the necessary power supply and garage door access so student filmmakers can pull directly to the studio to unload their gear, props, and whatever else they might need for their film sets.

For this project, IAIA has teamed with Dyron Murphy Architects and Jaynes Construction. Oscar Tovar from Dyron Murphy Architects has already completed the interior design for the RCNNA space, so once phase one is complete and the Ethnobotany Lab and Conservation Lab are moved to their new homes in the Academic Building, a general contractor can be found to begin phase two—construction of the RCNNA. Phase two, the interior renovation in the Science and Technology Building, involves creating the spaces for the RCNNA, which will include the Archives, the Archives Classroom, and the Collections Classroom.

Once the interior renovation in the Science and Technology Building is complete, the finishing touches will begin in this third phase of relocating the IAIA Archives into its new permanent home in the IAIA Research Center for Contemporary Native Arts. The IAIA Research Center for Contemporary Native Arts is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and has been undergoing development for the past three years. This exciting new space will extend IAIA’s objective to study, preserve, and disseminate traditional and contemporary Native American arts, cultures, literature, and history. By consolidating services that IAIA already provides via the IAIA Archives and the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA) into one location, the IAIA Research Center for Contemporary Native Arts will provide the opportunity for comprehensive and accelerated research of contemporary Native arts.


For more information, please contact IAIA Interim Director of Communications Jason S. Ordaz at

About the Institute of American Indian Arts

The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) is the only college in the world dedicated to the study of contemporary Native American and Alaska Native arts. IAIA offers undergraduate degrees in Cinematic Arts and Technology, Creative Writing, Indigenous Liberal Studies, Museum Studies, Performing Arts, and Studio Arts; graduate degrees in Creative Writing and Studio Arts; and certificates in Broadcast Journalism, Business and Entrepreneurship, Museum Studies, and Native American Art History. The college serves approximately 500 full-time equivalent (FTE) Native and non-Native American students from around the globe, representing nearly a hundred federally recognized tribes. Named one of the top art institutions by UNESCO and the International Association of Art, IAIA is among the leading art institutes in our nation and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

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