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Farris, Phoebe, 1952-



  • Existence: 1952

Born in 1952, Phoebe Farris has established herself as a well-known artist, a professor, a licensed CCR/DUNS art curator/dealer, a registered art therapist, a documentary photographer, an author, as well as an editor. Under these plethora of roles, she explored issues relating to race, gender, indigenous sovereignty, Native American Studies, peace, social justice, and the environment. Born into a family deeply involved in literary and visual art, Farris received a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the City College of the City University of New York in 1974, a Master’s degree in Art Therapy from Pratt Institute, New York, in 1977, and a Doctorate in Art Education from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1988. She proudly identifies herself as a part of the Powhatan-Renape/Pamunkey, a Native American tribe, and is active in national/international indigenous rights issues.

Seeking out and pursuing areas for which she had great passion, Farris was able to set an exciting and enviable career path for herself. She embarked on her career as a painter/printmaker but soon took interest in photography instead. In addition to photographing structures of spiritual and cultural significance to Native Americans, Farris uses photography to document and share stories of cultural survival and contemporary cultural expression.

Phoebe Farris has also been a part of many art shows and exhibitions. Currently, she is one amongst thirty-nine artists whose works are featured in the traveling exhibition The Map Is Not The Territory, Parallel Paths: Palestinians, Native Americans, Irish. Apart from the many exhibitions she has been a part of, she has also written and reviewed many publications related to topics encompassing Art Education, Cultural Research, Native American, African American and Latin American heritage. Two significant publications of hers are Voices of Color: Art and Society in the Americas and Women Artists of Color: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook to 20th Century Artists in the Americas and these evoke amongst the readers, the understanding of the relationship between social activism and the arts.

A professor of art design and women’s studies at Purdue University since 1989, Phoebe Farris worked there for twenty-two years. She considers this period of her career as the peak of her professional endeavors. As a professor, she was able to travel to different countries, interact with individuals who shared the same interests and work on projects together. Farris has also consulted for the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of the American Indian and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian Art and taught at the Corcoran School of Arts.


MSO 1, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Oral History Program collection, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Phoebe Farris papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSF 471
Scope and Contents The Phoebe Farris papers (1972-2011; 1.5 cubic ft.) documents the professional and personal life of Purdue professor, Phoebe Farris. It reflects her contribution to the art scene in America, shedding light on Native American history. The collection may be useful for researchers interested in Purdue's Native American community. The types of materials include written publications and reviews of other’s publications; contributions to art shows and exhibitions; correspondence; career and personal...
Dates: 1972 - 2011