The American Indian Community House (AICH) Gallery records include papers, postcards, photographs and video recordings that document the activities of the Gallery from 1978-2007. Over the course of 30 years, approximately 100 exhibitions were shown including the work of hundreds of Native artists.
Scope and Contents:
Series 1: Gallery Exhibits and Other Events is divided into two Subseries. Subseries 1.1: AICH Gallery Exhibits and Subseries 1.2: Other Gallery Events. Subseries 1.1 includes documents, postcards, photographs and video recordings related to exhibits organized by the AICH Gallery from 1978-2007. There are gaps of exhibit materials between 1985, the end of G. Peter Jemison's tenure as curator, and 2000 when Kathleen Ash-Milby became curator of the Gallery. Subseries 1.2 includes materials related to other events hosted by the AICH Gallery outside of it's exhibition program. This includes-- Indian Art market, poetry readings, film festivals, lectures, and benefits.
Series 2: Subject Files includes materials related to the everyday work of the gallery and general information about AICH. This includes--AICH Bulletins and board of directors meetings, job guidelines and operations manuals, calendars and day planners used by G. Peter Jemison, as well as press lists and information about other art Galleries supporting Native American artists work.
Series 3: Photographs of Native Artwork, includes slides collected by AICH curators of Native American artists work. These slides were used as reference and encompass a range of Native artists, both geographically and stylistically. NMAI does not hold the rights to these images.
Arranged into three series. Series 1: Gallery Exhibits and Other Events, arranged chronologically, Series 2: Subject Files, arranged alphabetically, and Series 3: Photographs of Native Artwork, arranged alphabetically by artist and topic.
Biographical / Historical:
In 1978, The American Indian Community House created an art gallery with the purpose of consistently and exclusively exhibiting contemporary Native American art. Over the course of 30 years, from 1978 to around 2007, approximately 100 exhibitions were shown in the Gallery which included the work of hundreds of Native artists. Some of the field's most well-known artists exhibited their work in the Gallery, many early in their careers, including Edgar Heap of Birds, Kay WalkingStick, Jaune Quick-to-See-Smith, Alan Michelson, Shelley Niro and Jeffrey Gibson. The majority of the exhibitions organized by founding Gallery Curator, G. Peter Jemison, focused heavily on group exhibitions and artists from the Northeast. Succeeding curators, Lloyd Oxendine (1985-1993) and Joanna Bigfeather (1993-1999) expanded the roster, including artists from throughout the United States and Canada. Kathleen Ash-Milby (2000-2005) and Sarah Sense (2006-2007), focused more on solo exhibitions and exhibitions with more work from fewer artists. Although AICH struggled to fund the Gallery, it became a dynamic nexus for contemporary Native art, offering opportunities for artists and guest curators.
Biographical note provided in 2019 by Kathleen Ash-Milby, member of the Navajo Nation, and former associate curator at the National Museum of the American Indian.
The American Indian Community House is a not-for-profit organization serving the needs of Native Americans residing in New York City. Founded in 1969, the mission of the AICH is to improve and promote the well-being of the American Indian Community and to increase the visibility of American Indian cultures in an urban setting in order to cultivate awareness, understanding and respect.
AICH Website: https://aich.org/
Gift of Kathleen Ash-Milby and G. Peter Jemison, 2022.
Access to NMAI Archives Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
The NMAI does not own the copyright to any of the images of artwork in Series 3: Photographs of Native Artwork. Permission will need to be aquired from the artist/artist's estate.