Degrees offered through the Native Art program include:
Native Art Program
The Native Art Program offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in Native Art studio practice. UAF is the only school in Alaska to offer a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Native Art and is only one of a few universities in the country to offer a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Native Arts. The studio is equipped with indigenous and contemporary carving tools. Areas of study include wood, ivory, stone and bone carving, woodblock printing, skin sewing, beadwork, basketry and mixed media. Courses offered include beginning, intermediate and advanced Native Art Studio classes each semester to approximately sixty students, many of which are Alaska Native.
Native Art Center
In addition to studio course offerings, the Native Art Center serves as a clearinghouse for information and services on and about Alaska Native art, reaching both the University and Native community of Fairbanks and Alaska.
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. The Native Art Center also presents workshops off-site in coordination with statewide art and village-based programs. Faculty and staff also assist in coordination and development of special projects including exhibitions and conferences.
The Native Art Center has been in existence for over 50 years offering art studio courses, workshops with Native Artists and elders, and artists-in-residence programs including outstanding Yupik, Inupiaq, Athabascan, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Alutiiq and Aleut artists from throughout Alaska.
The Native Art Center was established in the 1965 under the direction of Ron Senungetuk who brought together Alaska Native artists from rural communities to study Alaska Native art at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Over the past forty years, the Center has evolved to become an academic-based program including courses in studio art and Native art history and special workshops and symposia on topics including mask making, bentwood traditions, basketry, sculpture and carving. For the past fourteen years, the Native Art Center has been directed by Alvin Amason, continuing the tradition of providing workshops and residencies in the studio, with Native elders and artists from throughout Alaska. Mr Amason retired in 2008.
Da-ka-xeen The Thlinget Artist by Da-ka-xeen Mehner, Assistant professor in Native Arts
Selected Student Work
The studio is equipped with indigenous and contemporary carving tools.
Professor of Native Art, Current Department Chair
FINE ART 308
Da-ka-xeen Mehner (b. 1970) is a transdisciplinary artist whose work explores Indigenous identity, and equity and examines power structures through a lens of personal narrative. His work has been exhibited internationally and can be found in numerous public and private collections.
Da-ka-xeen received his A.A. from the Institute of American Indian Arts, and his B.F.A. from the University of New Mexico. From 1994-2000 Mehner served as the founder and director of Site 21/21, a contemporary art gallery in Albuquerque, NM, and was a founding member/owner of the (Fort) 105 Art Studios in downtown Albuquerque in 1998. Da-ka-xeen returned to Alaska in 2000 and earned his M.F.A in Native Arts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2007.
Mehner has been recognized for his work with several fellowships including the Rasmuson FoundationFellowship, Native Arts and Culture Fellowship, Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship, and the United States Artists Fellowship 2015
Mehner’s home studio is located in the vast boreal forest outside Fairbanks Alaska where he lives with his family. He is currently the Director of the Native Art Center and Chair of the Art Department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.