Dennis Numkena (1941-2010) passed away Sunday evening, April 11th 2010.
Numkena, who received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture from Arizona State University in 1970, formed the first Native American owned architectural firm in the United States. His award winning buildings include the Anasazi Resort Condominiums in Phoenix, the former Yavapai Apache Cultural Center in Camp Verde, the Pyramid Lake Museum in Nevada, and the planned American Indian Veterans Memorial for the Steele Indian School Park in central Phoenix.
As an artist, Numkena’s work is in private and corporate collections all over the world, including Arizona’s Heard Museum. Numkena designed stage sets and costumes for ASU’s Lyric Opera Compnay, notably the national television broadcast of Mozart’s Magic Flute in 1982. In addition to his theatrical work, Numkena designed the stage set and murals for Pope John Paul II’s historic 1987 audience with the indigenous people of the Americas.
Numkena received the Kent C. Ware Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 and the Arizona Indian Living Treasure Award in 2002. His visionary work drew deeply from his Hopi heritage but ultimately transcended cultural categorization.