Poeh Cultural Center: Supporting Tribal Arts And Tourism

Courtesy/Poeh Cultural Center


In 1988, the Poeh Cultural Center & Museum was established as a “gathering place” and a way to promote Pueblo arts and culture.

Owned and operated by the Pueblo of Pojoaque, the Poeh Cultural Center is a great example of how tribes have fused cultural arts and tourism into a successful enterprise.

The Center’s business model includes a renowned museum, gallery and gift shop, with an emphasis on art programs and classes that teach and sustain traditional arts. The educational arts programs offer entrepreneurial opportunities for artists, with beautiful state-of-the-art studios on site.

The Center encourages “shop native” and showcases artists by hosting events, gallery exhibitions and art markets. Additionally, the Center, which has one of the most notable fine arts collections in the country, manages a million-dollar art collection at the Buffalo Thunder Resort.

Learn how the Center continues to develop new jobs and economic opportunities for the Tribe by creating a world class facility that welcomes visitors while celebrating local culture.

Date: 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 10

Register at this link.


Jake Viarrial (Pueblo of Pojoaque), Tourism Coordinator, Poeh Cultural Center
Jake Viarrial has been with the Poeh Cultural Center for 8 years. Viarrial started as a Gift Shop Attendant in the Poeh Museum in 2013, and has worked with many different departments at the Center since. He currently works as the Tourism Coordinator, where he is responsible for tourism related programming including guided tours, marketing and art markets. One of Viarrial’s goals as Tourism Coordinator is to work together with the six Tewa-Speaking tribes to become a hub for Tewa tourism.


Cris Velarde (Jicarilla/Santa Clara Pueblo), Traditional Pueblo Weaving, Poeh Cultural Center

Cristopher R. Velarde, a member of the Jicarilla Apache Nation, with blood ties to the Pueblo of Santa Clara, comes to the Poeh Cultural Center as the newly appointed Cultural Arts Specialist. Growing up as a young child with many relatives as artists, Velarde was always watching and asking questions about the type of work they were creating. Learning beadwork and working with clay was just the beginning of his artistic journey. A graduate of St. Catherine’s Indian School in Santa Fe.

In 1977, Velarde was privileged and honored to travel with the world-renowned musical group, “Up with People.” Here he learned a different type of art- singing and dancing- and performing for thousands of people. Noticing how the art of weaving was not common in Northern New Mexico, Velarde decided that weaving would be his next passion. Now with 11 years of weaving experience under his belt, he is an instructor for the Poeh Center.


Bianca Mitchell (Pueblo of Acoma), Education Manager, AIANTA

Bianca Mitchell (Pueblo of Acoma) joins AIANTA as the organization’s Education Manager. With an extensive background in events management, donor development, communications and marketing, Mitchell brings years of experience to AIANTA. In her role as the Education Manager, she will identify, develop, implement, market and promote technical assistance and training programs, webinars and certificate programming. Mitchell’s goal is to assist in growing and enhancing the program model for and with AIANTA.


For nearly two decades, the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) has served as the national center for providing tourism and recreational travel technical assistance, training and capacity building to American Indian nations. AIANTA is a 501(c)(3) national nonprofit association of Native American tribes and tribal businesses and was incorporated in 2002 to advance Indian Country tourism. AIANTA’s mission is to define, introduce, grow and sustain American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian tourism that honors traditions and values. For more information, contact: Bianca Mitchell | 505.433.2120 | bmitchell@aianta.org; Sherrie L. Bowman | 505.209.2479 | sbowman@aianta.org