Abel Ryan is seen here in 2008 in a University of Alaska Fairbanks workshop where he used handmade tools to carve detailed masks and other artwork.

Abel Ryan is seen here in 2008 in a University of Alaska Fairbanks workshop where he used handmade tools to carve detailed masks and other artwork.

To Hone Your Craft in Native American Art, Consider the University of Alaska Fairbanks

Founded in 1917,  the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) has come a long way from its humble beginnings as an agricultural institution.

Today, more than 11,000 students attend UAF. And as of fall 2011, 21 percent are Native American/Alaska Native. The university offers 170 degrees and certificates, including a bachelor of fine arts in Native art, the only university in Alaska to do so.

The Native Art Program grew out of the Native Art Center, which was established in 1965. In 1987, students were offered the option to earn a bachelor of fine arts degree through the art department. The program offers courses in Native art history and studio hours where students are equipped with indigenous and contemporary carving tools to study skills like stone and bone carving, skin sewing, basketry, and more. According to the school’s website, “Each semester the center strives to expose students to the diversity of Alaska Native arts by providing lectures, demonstrations, workshops and residencies by visiting Alaska Native artists.”

Consider other mainstream universities offering Native American art courses:

• The University of California, Davis

• The University of Oklahoma

• Oregon State University

Colgate University

If you prefer to attend a tribal college, consider:

• The Institute of American Indian Arts

Ilisagvik College

Da-ka-xeen Mehner in the University of Alaska Fairbanks Gallery

Da-ka-xeen Mehner, a master of fine arts candidate in 2007, is seen here with pieces from his portfolio in the University of Alaska Fairbanks gallery.

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To Hone Your Craft in Native American Art, Consider the University of Alaska Fairbanks

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