Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) Receives Grant for Preservation of Pop Chalee Archives

Pop Chalee

Published May 29, 2017

SANTA FE – The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) Archives received a grant of $3,328.98 from the New Mexico Historical Records Advisory Board (NMHRAB) to support a project aimed to preserve and make available the recently acquired Merina Lujan Hopkins [Pop Chalee] Collection.
The archive was a primary resource to The World of Flower Blue: Pop Chalee: An Artistic Biography, by Margaret Cesa (Red Crane Books, 1997). Merina Lujan Hopkins, otherwise know as Pop Chalee (Taos Pueblo) was a celebrated student of Dorothy Dunn at the Santa Fe Indian School during the 1930s and “…transformed a traditional style of painting to create magical, idyllic images of wide-eyed animals, ceremonial figures, and woodland settings,” according to art historian John Villani.
The Chalee collection is rich in photography and press clippings from her prestigious art career and date from the 1920s through the 1990s. Two photograph albums document her life in Utah, Taos, Los Alamos, Santa Fe, and on the road as a celebrity. The grant will fund the conservation of delicate scrapbooks, some digital imaging, as well as arrangement and description of the collection.

This is not the first NMHRAB grant received by the IAIA Archives;  a grant was awarded to fund the processing of the Lloyd H. New Papers, donated by New’s widow Aysen in 2010.

“The generous grant from the NMHRAB allows us to properly preserve and make available this important collection,” states IAIA Archivist Ryan Flahive. “The archive tells the story of an important figure in New Mexican, Native American, and women’s art history and we’re pleased to have received a grant to help us in our efforts to make it accessible to a wider audience.”

The mission of the New Mexico Historical Records Advisory Board is to advocate the preservation of the historical records of the state and to stimulate public access to the state’s historical records.

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