Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Sat, July 04

Diné College art history department receives $299K in state and federal grants

TSAILE, Ariz. — The Diné College School of Arts, Humanities and English (SAHE) recently received federal and state grants to support art history initiatives.

The federal grant of $99,000 from the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) supports the “Contemporary Navajo Art and Artists: Identity, History and Culture” project.

The state grant is in partnership with the Indigenous Design and Planning Institute at the University of Mexico. That $130,000 grant is from ArtPlace America. The purpose of the grant is to empower students at the post-secondary level at Diné College to reimagine their communities through new curricula focused on indigenous design and planning.

“The NEH grant emphasizes the importance of reading, research and writing as a way of understanding the role that visual arts play within the human experience, particularly with respect to Navajo litera-ture, language, art and history,” said Dr. Karla Brittona, a Diné College art history professor and princi-pal investigator of the two grants.

Britton added that the grants will:

• Deepen Diné College art students’ individual Navajo identity and intellectual development through a more rigorous study of art and design from a Native perspective. “The purpose is to inspire and encourage Diné College students’ appreciation for the integral social role of art and design,” Britton said. “We will develop a series of intensive seminars (on campus) for students in the humanities which will be led by prominent Navajo scholars, historians, artists and writers.”

• Allow SAHE to develop new art history curriculum on the topics of Navajo art, design and planning. The grants will also provide SAHE with funding for an exhibition on contemporary art and design, and an illustrated publication which will be used in art history courses, Britton said.

“As an artist as well as a student of the history of the arts, I am elated to learn of the forthcoming NEH project documenting and sharing the artistic works and personal stories of our own esteemed contemporary Navajo artists,” said Carlon Ami, a Navajo Cultural Arts Program (NCAP) student. “I was therefore so pleased to learn that Tsaile is soon to become the premier center for the study of Navajo arts as well as the depository for the cultural knowledge which is imbued within every piece of intentional art created by our talented artists. I applaud Dr. Britton, The School of Arts, Humanities and English, The Navajo Cultural Arts Program, and Dine College for their collective work on behalf of our people.”

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