Releases | New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs

Museum of Indian Arts and Culture Announces 2022 MIAC Living Treasure

November 10th, 2021

SANTA FE – The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC) is pleased to announce Virgil Ortiz (Cochiti Pueblo) as the 2022 recipient of the MIAC Living Treasure award. This award is part of the annual Native Treasures Art Market and honors Native American artists who have made outstanding artistic contributions to the field of Indigenous arts and culture. 

Virgil Ortiz’s artistic contributions combine art, décor, fashion, video, and film. One of the most innovative potters of his time, Ortiz’s exquisite works have been exhibited in museum collections around the world including the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. 

Ortiz, the youngest of six children, grew up in a creative environment in which storytelling, collecting clay, gathering wild plants, and producing figurative pottery was part of everyday life. His grandmother Laurencita Herrera and his mother, Seferina Ortiz, were both renowned Pueblo potters and part of an ongoing matrilineal heritage. “I didn’t even know it was art that was being produced while I was growing up,” he remembers.  

Ortiz keeps Cochiti pottery traditions alive but transforms them into a contemporary vision that embraces his Pueblo history and culture and merges it with apocalyptic themes, science fiction, and his own storytelling. 

“It is vital that our traditional methods and materials are not forgotten but carried forward,” said Virgil Ortiz. “Art is as essential as our Pueblo language and way of life. It creates the connection to the next generation to advance into the future while utilizing relevant, engaging storytelling and modern, high-tech devices and platforms. This means formulating ideas that awaken the imagination and provoke fascination, emotion, and empowerment.” 

Interim Executive Director Matthew Martinez said, “MIAC is honored to name Virgil Ortiz as the 2022 MIAC Living Treasure. His artistic talents and story-making traditions continue to positively impact the narrative of what it means to be Indigenous in modern times and beyond.” 

The 2022 Native Treasures Art Market will be held over Memorial Day weekend at the Santa Fe Convention Center. The public is invited to see the works of Virgil Ortiz and many other talented American Indian artists. 

For more information about the Native Treasures Market visit:


About the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture  The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, under the leadership of the Board of Regents for the Museum of New Mexico. Programs and exhibits are generously supported by the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and our donors. The mission of the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology is to serve as a center of stewardship, knowledge, and understanding of the artistic, cultural, and intellectual achievements of the diverse peoples of the Native Southwest.


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Virgil Ortiz 2

Virgil Ortiz

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