Harrison Begay

Crop of photograph included with student application. Courtesy of Western Regional Archives

Harrison Begay drawing. Courtesy of Western Regional Archives.


Art/ Design/ Craft




1940 - 1941



Whitecone, AZ



Gilbert, AZ

Harrison Begay was a student for the 1940-1941 school year under a scholarship from the Indian Commission. Harrison spoke with the Director of Education at the US Department of the Interior, Office of Indian Affairs, and shared that he wanted to "master the White man's culture, while remaining Indian." Though, he shared that he was not interested in furthering training in his arts, but he wanted to learn more English and about a culture outside of his own. Begay also taught a Navajo class while a student.

He is also known as Haashké yah Níyá, meaning "Warrior Who Walked Up to His Enemy" or "Wandering Boy.” Before attending Black Mountain, he also studied under Dorothy Dunn and Geronima C. Montoya at the Santa Fe Indian School. After serving in World War II, he continued to paint in watercolor and gouache, and work in screen printing, and became a fairly well-known Navajo artist.

Asheville Art Museum Collection

Writings about Harrison can be seen in digitized college bulletins on Asheville Art Museum's collection website: collection.ashevilleart.org. They can be found by searching these accession numbers:

2017.40.064 February 1942 bulletin, “The February show at the Boston Art Museum includes paintings by Harrison Begay, Indian student at the college last year. He has been one of the most successful Indian artists and his new work is said to surpass anything he has exhibited previously. Harrison has enlisted in the army and will leave shortly for his post”

Courses Taken

Fall Term 1940-41: Contemporary Architecture & Drawing (Kocher), Modern European History(Barnes), Mathematical Analysis (Dreier)

Spring Term 1940-41: Drawing (Reed), Color (Reed), Contemporary Architecture (Kocher), Contemporary Architectural Drawing (Kocher), Mathematical Analysis (Dreier), Modern European History (Barnes)

File from Harrison Begay's student files, letter of recommendation for student application. Robert Wunsch and Harrison Begay.
Photograph of author


Amanda Hartman

Amanda Hartman is the creator of BMC Yearbook, serving as the lead director, engineer, and researcher. She holds a MLIS in archive/ collections management, MA in art/ museum education, and BA in design. After working in museums and archives for a decade, she made the transition to tech and is now a software developer specializing in applications for museums, archives, and higher education.

Her interest in Black Mountain College began while working as a digital archivist with the Asheville Art Museum's BMC archive collection. She transcribed and digitized over 1500 documents created by the college. While working closely with these archives, she began independent research on the interracial program and Negro Week activities BMC, writing biographies of lesser known students and staff members. That research transformed into this BMC Yearbook project.

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