From its beginning, the mission of Turquoise Skies has been to preserve and promote the traditional skills and techniques of Native American jewelry-making. Through our jewelry store and our non-profit artist co-op, this mission drives what we do and how we do it. Now we’ve begun to expand that vision through the KITA program.
Keeping Indigenous Traditions Alive (KITA) brings the mission of Tskies together with those who are looking to their own futures as Native jewelry artists. The program includes two facets: scholarships for students enrolled in CNM’s Bench Jewelry program and internships at Tskies. By focusing on these two areas, the KITA program ensures that students will be able to finish their studies and receive the hands-on experience they need.
KITA scholarships are designed to cover costs that other programs often do not, from transportation costs to living expenses to the purchase of tools and textbooks. Applicants complete the application and the recipients are decided upon by members of the Tskies Artist Co-Op.
Internships are designed to provide hands-on experience with various techniques and tools as well as marketing training to help recipients learn how to create their own brand and market their jewelry. Interns receive a stipend for their work. Members of the Co-Op choose each semester’s intern and create a curriculum that will cover the areas they wish to work on. Interns must work a set number of hours over the fifteen weeks of the semester.
The KITA program embraces the mission of Tskies in a practical way, providing the means for new jewelry artists to obtain the education and the experience they need. Funds for the programs come from donations and the sales from some of Tskies’ live shows.