Diné College to expand successful arts certificate program; NCAP receives a $540,500

Students of Diné College’s Navajo Cultural Arts Program (NCAP) pose for a recent photo. NCAP recently received a $540,500 grant.  (Photo courtesy of Ed McCombs/Diné College)

Students of Diné College’s Navajo Cultural Arts Program (NCAP) pose for a recent photo. NCAP recently received a $540,500 grant. (Photo courtesy of Ed McCombs/Diné College)

TSAILE, Ariz. — Diné College’s Navajo Cultural Arts Program (NCAP), which offers classes, workshops and lectures on silversmithing, weaving, basket-making and moccasin-making, has has announced that it will continue its Navajo Cultural Arts Certificate Program.

It will also create two Bachelor of Fine Arts emphasis areas: A Navajo Silversmithing B.F.A. and Navajo Weaving B.F.A.

Expansion of the program is made possible through a new $540,500 grant from Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies.

Sheryl Benally, NCAP program assistant, said the certificate program is popular. Benally, who started with the NCAP as a federal work-study intern a few years ago and has since moved into a staff position, explained, “It’s really thriving. I’ve seen the program grow first-hand.”

Christine Ami, Ph.D., who oversees the NCAP, added that the success of the program is with kinesthetic learning: “Most of our students really enjoy the hands-on approach that they experience in the classes.” Ami continued, “It is consistently the second highest in terms of certificate graduates ever year — behind the Public Health Certificate. That leads us to believe that our community values the cultural arts almost at the same level as they do public health. As our program dialogues with holistic well-being, I am not surprised. Perhaps we can integrate the programs in the future!”

But the successes of the certificate program are not the end of the NCAP’s aspirations. The next two years will be dedicated to making the certificate program self-sufficient within the School of Diné Studies and Education and building the Navajo silversmithing and Navajo weaving B.F.A. emphasis areas under the School of Arts, Humanities and English.

The newly created B.F.A. emphasis areas will be added to the three existing tracks: Photography, Painting and Graphic Design. Ami said students graduating with any of the B.F.A. emphasis areas, specifically with Navajo silversmithing or Navajo weaving, will be credentialed to teach, create small businesses, engage in cultural arts markets, apply to M.F.A. programs or even start to take hold of the largely non-Native run Southwest Indian markets.

The NCAP will be offering summer classes that will go towards both the certificate and B.F.A. programs (Summer Session I: NCA 101 Navajo Pottery; NCA 132 Navajo Cultural Arts Materials and Resources; Summer Session II: NCA 201 Advanced Navajo Pottery; and NCA 136 Navajo Cultural Arts Business Systems.

More information about the Navajo Silvermithing/Navajo Weaving B.F.A. programs or the Navajo Cultural Arts Certificate is available by calling (928) 724 6616/6879. Additional information as well as archived lectures and newsletters can also be found at www.navajoculturalartsprogram.org.

Information provided by Diné College

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