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IAIA and Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Partner on Student Fellowship

Feb 23, 2023

IAIA Student Kimberly Becenti (Tohono O’odham Nation)

IAIA Student Kimberly Becenti (Tohono O’odham Nation)

The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum are pleased to announce they have been approved by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to receive a Grants for Arts Projects award of $25,000. This grant will support a paid, year-long collections management fellowship for a student in IAIA’s award-winning Museum Studies program. This is one of 1,251 Grants for Arts Projects awards totaling nearly $28.8 million that were announced by the NEA as part of its first round of fiscal year 2023 grants.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts projects in communities nationwide,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “Projects such as this one with the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and the Institute of American Indian Arts strengthen arts and cultural ecosystems, provide equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, and contribute to the health of our communities and our economy.”

IAIA student Kimberly Becenti (Tohono O’odham Nation) has been selected for the Fellowship which will offer experiential learning opportunities in all aspects of collections management, including registration, documentation, and evaluation of items, including artwork, textiles, and furnishings. Becenti, a graduate of Baboquivari High School in Sells, Arizona, is a mother of two pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Museum Studies. She is the treasurer of the IAIA Museum Club and remains an active member in her community of Cold Fields Village, Arizona.

“I feel honored and excited to be chosen for this fellowship,” Becenti said. “The opportunities to work within the wide breadth of the O’Keeffe’s collection is why I chose to pursue a degree in Museum Studies. Hands-on experience with everything from artwork to personal belongings in exhibition prep and collections management will be valuable in my career and education after graduation from IAIA.”

Becenti joins at an exciting time as the O’Keeffe Museum recently opened two new exhibitions, is preparing rotations within the Santa Fe Galleries, and will soon open a new exhibition at the Museum’s Welcome Center in Abiquiú. Becenti will work with the Museum’s curators, registrars, and exhibition designer in a wide range of tasks and duties in the Museum’s curatorial department.

“Collaborating with IAIA, a pillar in the Santa Fe art community for the past 60 years, aligns with the Museum’s goals to support experiential learning for students that will make the museum field more inclusive and equitable,” said Jennifer Foley, Deputy Director for Collections and Engagement of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. “Kimberly is a welcomed addition to the Museum and we look forward to learning from her as much as she learns from us.”

The fellowship offered through this unique partnership was open to graduate and undergraduate students. It offers an immersive learning experience at the O’Keeffe Museum and its historic properties in Abiquiú and at Ghost Ranch.

“Working closely with the work and personal belongings of Georgia O’Keeffe, who’s legacy has such a profound impact on the Southwest, is an outstanding opportunity for Kimberly to exercise the skills she has gained in the IAIA Museum Studies program at one of the leading institutions in our community. I’m excited for potential future collaborations between IAIA and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, supporting their focus on inclusive experiential learning, a tenet central to the IAIA Museum Studies program.”

Mattie Reynolds (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma)

Department Chair, IAIA Museum Studies

Media Inquiries

Jason S. Ordaz, Communications Director, Institute of American Indian Arts, (505) 424-2348,
Renee Lucero, Public Relations Manager, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, (505) 946-1063,

Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Since 1997, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum celebrates the art, life, and independent spirit of Georgia O’Keeffe. Located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Georgia O’Keeffe lived the final decades of her life, the O’Keeffe has sites and experiences in two historic destinations, Santa Fe and Abiquiú.

Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA)

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, Studio Arts, and Cultural Administration; 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).