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“Raven Put Lights in the Sky”—IAIA Welcomes the Ken Mowatt Crest Pole to Campus

Oct 27, 2021

On Wednesday, September 29, 2021, IAIA welcomed the Ken Mowatt crest pole, Raven Puts the Light in the Sky, to the IAIA campus. Traditionally, the raising of a crest pole is a community event, often celebrated with songs, feasts, and performances. In this custom, Geraldine Barney (Navajo) shared an original prayer and musical performance at the event to welcome the pole as it was raised to a place of honor.

The crest pole, carved from red cedar by master carver Ken Mowatt (Tsimshian/Gitksan) and standing 20 feet tall, depicts how darkness was defeated based on traditional Gitksan stories. Raven Puts the Light in the Sky was initially commissioned in 1980 for the Chase Manhattan Plaza in New York City and moved to New York City’s Wagner Park in 1997. JPMorgan Chase has graciously donated it to IAIA as part of the IAIA Public Art collection.

Video of the installation by by Frosley “Frost” Fowler (Diné) ’16. Download and view the “Raven Put Lights in the Sky”—Mowatt Crest Pole Info Flier.

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).