Tony Abeyta receives honorary doctorate at IAIA

Jun 14th, 2013 | By | Category: Online TC News, Tribal College News, Web Exclusive

HONORARY DOCTOR. Tony Abeyta received an honorary doctorate in the humanities during IAIA’s commencement ceremony this past May. Photo by Carolyn Wright

At its May 10 commencement ceremony, the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA, Santa Fe, NM) granted an honorary doctorate to artist and alumnus Tony Abeyta. Abeyta studied at IAIA and graduated with an Associate of Fine Arts degree in 1986. He went on to attend various art schools in France and Italy, eventually receiving a bachelor’s degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art. In 2002, he earned a Master of Fine Arts from New York University.

Abeyta is known for colorful contemporary work ranging from charcoal drawings and large-scale oil and sand paintings to abstract mixed-media pieces. His pieces are housed in collections throughout the nation, including the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, the Southwest Museum, the Heard Museum and the Montclaire Art Museum.

Abeyta comes from a family with deep roots in Santa Fe’s art scene. His father attended the Santa Fe Indian School in 1936 when it was a boarding school, and in the 1970s his two sisters enrolled at IAIA. Abeyta said he is proud to follow their steps.

“On behalf of my entire family, many mentors, instructors, fellow students and my own passion to create, I am proud to receive this honorary doctorate from IAIA in their honor,” he said. “Without their encouragement or direction, I might not have pursued a career in art. This is an award to remember them all by and a reminder to keep learning.”

IAIA President Robert Martin says Abeyta is an example of what IAIA’s visionaries sought to create long ago—revolutionary artists pushing innovation and imagination in the contemporary Native arts.

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