Lloyd Kiva New was a leading artist and designer in Scottsdale's burgeoning arts and crafts community following World War II before emerging as a national leader in arts education.
Born in Oklahoma in 1916 to Cherokee and Scot-Irish parents, Lloyd New graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago. "New came to Phoenix in 1938 to teach art at the Phoenix Indian School, where he also supervised student illustrators who contributed art to bi-lingual textbooks for Hopi and Navajos," according to historian of Scottsdale Joan Fudala.
After serving in World War II, he returned to Phoenix and re-branded himself as Lloyd Kiva. He opened a boutique in Scottsdale as part of a larger group of artists who had begun working at the Arizona Craftsmen Center. Along with other artists, he fostered native and non-native artists through building a collaborative community for their work.
New moved with Phillips Sanderson, and Lew Davis into E.O. Brown’s then-abandoned general store on the corner of Brown Avenue and Main Street, next to present-day Rusty Spur Saloon. After a fire destroyed the building in 1950, New and Wes Segner moved to an unoccupied piece of land on the south side of the Arizona Canal, east of present-day Goldwater Boulevard. They called their new building Fifth Avenue as a nod to New York City's most exclusive shopping district.
New’s reputation as a distinguished fabric and leatherwork designer attracted multiple native artists to the Fifth Avenue, including Charles Loloma (Hopi), Andrew Van Tsinhajinnie (Navajo), and Manfred Susunkewa (Hopi). The artists often worked together on a single piece; for example, New would design a pattern, Susunkewa would silkscreen the fabric, and Loloma would craft the silver buttons.
The introduction of American Indian patterns, colors, and style brought recognition to native fashion designers in a predominantly white industry. It also contributed greatly to Scottsdale’s reputation as a market place for haute couture. For example, Lloyd Kiva New sold his Cherokee-derived designs to Neiman-Marcus and other high-end retailers. Thus, the Fifth Avenue artists brought unique native motifs into popular and trendsetting fashion.
Lloyd Kiva New's influence extended beyond his art; it grew as he mentored and reimagined arts training for Native Americans. He fostered the artistic development of a generation of Native American students through his work as founding president of the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe in 1962. The New York Times, reported that "Mr. New fostered at the institute an ''intertribal experience'' in which students from tribes around the country rediscovered their own heritage and shared it with others. The school attracted worldwide attention and was broadly influential in its approach."