SWAIA names Bernstein new executive director

Dr. Bruce Bernstein, new SWAIA executive director (Photo courtesy of SWAIA).

Dr. Bruce Bernstein, new SWAIA executive director (Photo courtesy of SWAIA).

SANTA FE, N.M.-The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA), the nonprofit organization responsible for the annual Santa Fe Indian Market, Fellowships for Native American artists, the upcoming Winter Showcase, and more, is pleased to announce that Dr. Bruce Bernstein has been selected as SWAIA's new executive director. He will work part time through November, and will become permanent Dec. 1.

"We welcome Bruce to this new role with the premier American Indian art show in the country," SWAIA board chair Vivian Arviso explained. "His experiences and skills are an asset for SWAIA's growth into new programs and services. The board looks forward to working with Bruce."

Bernstein acted as a management consultant for SWAIA during the 2007 Santa Fe Indian Market and has served as a board member, judge and volunteer of the organization for 25 years.

Before returning to Santa Fe, he was a senior scholar in the Smithsonian's Anthropology Department in Washington, D.C., where he finished research and writing projects on Native arts, including a project about the Santa Fe Indian Market. Prior to that, he was the assistant director for Collections and Research the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI).

While there, he created collections programs such as the contemporary art section and new acquisitions, and was also responsible for opening the new Cultural Resources Center. He curated five shows at NMAI's Gustav Heye Center in New York City, as well.

He is very familiar with the artistic landscape of New Mexico, having held several positions in the state such as director and chief curator of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe for ten years, former associate director of the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian (also in Santa Fe) and a position at the University of New Mexico's Maxwell Museum of Anthropology in Albuquerque. He is widely published and has curated numerous exhibitions of American Indian art.

"I am glad I had the opportunity to be part of such large and important projects in Washington," Bernstein said, "But I am thrilled to return to Santa Fe and pleased to bring my experience to Indian Market and SWAIA. I am honored and humbled to be chosen as the new executive director of SWAIA. It is a tremendous organization with strong roots and long traditions, and there are many accomplishments to celebrate and potential to realize."

"As a first step, I am looking forward to initiating a series of public and private forums to discuss the meanings of Indian Market and Native arts to Santa Fe, New Mexico and the Southwest. I want to ensure that SWAIA and Indian Market continue to play an essential role in the economic and cultural sustainability and viability of Native arts," he added.

For more information about SWAIA or the Santa Fe Indian Market please visit www.swaia.org or call (505) 983-5220.

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