News Release – Diné College BFA program receives Silversmithing equipment

Nicki Adler
Retired Artist, Nicki Adler

Diné College BFA program receives $50,000 worth of Silversmithing equipment donation


August 10, 2021

TSAILE, Ariz. — The Diné College Bachelor of Fine Arts program received about $50,000 worth of silversmithing equipment for the silversmithing program from artist Nicki Adler.

Nicki Adler, a retiring Tucson, Ariz. based artist, grew up in New York City where she earned a BFA in Graphic Design from Carnegie Mellon University. Her work ranges from the graphite and charcoal drawings of her youth, to graphic design, knitting, working in ceramics, sewing, and metalsmithing. Jewelry design and silversmithing became a serious commitment for her in the mid- 2000s, when she took numerous classes at her local Community College and Parks and Recreation Department, traveled out of state for specialty workshops, and began selling her creations at the Museum of Contemporary Art and elsewhere. It was also during this time that she built her professional studio, the contents of which will be donated to Diné College in summer 2021.

Nicki Adler said rather than trying to sell items piecemeal, my son-in-law suggested donating the equipment and books to an organization that would be happy to keep everything together. “A contact at Tohono O’odham Community College suggested reaching out to Diné College, and we were delighted to find what seems to be a perfect fit,” said Nicki Adler.

Nicki Adler said she first came to this region in 1968, and was stunned by the landscape, history, and the incredible crafts of the Diné. “Now that I can no longer work in my studio, I am deeply moved to know that the equipment, furniture, and books will be put to great use in the college’s silversmithing program,” said Nicki Adler.

Diné College’s Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program promotes Diné culture, creativity, and excellence in the creation of art. The program supports and promotes personal development in the visual, traditional, and literary arts.

Dr. Christine Ami, Diné College Associate Professor said the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Navajo Silversmithing is the first of its kind in the country because it is specifically focused on Navajo silversmithing rather than metalsmithing. “The intent of this program is to reintroduce Navajo silversmithing to this new generation and intended to revitalize the economy of Navajo silversmithing, inspire the younger generation and use as a way of self-employment,” said Dr. Ami.

“We appreciate the generous donation by Nicki Adler to the Diné College BFA Navajo Silversmithing program. We are very appreciative of any support that we receive as it goes to help the students,” said Dr. Ami.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program promotes Diné culture, creativity, and excellence in the creation of art. Specifically, the program supports and promotes personal development in the Visual Arts. The teaching/learning approach is imbedded in the DEP (Diné Educational Philosophy) Paradigm of Nitsáhákees (Thinking) Nahat’á (Planning), Iiná (Living and Achieving), and Siihasin (Evaluation and Competency).

The program is offered on a full-time basis at the Tsaile Campus. Individuals may apply at any time of the year but are formally considered in spring. The application deadline is June 1. This allows for an admission decision prior to the Navajo Nation Scholarship deadline.

Diné College is a four-year tribal college located on the Navajo reservation with six campuses and two microsites across Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah and primarily serves Navajo students. The school offers 20 bachelor degrees, 16 associate degrees, and 6 certificate programs. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The college, established in 1968, is the first tribal college and was formerly named Navajo Community College.


Jazzmine D. Martinez, Interim Marketing & Communications Officer

Dillon Nopah, Videographer

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