Bacone College announced Monday the promotion of the former director of the Bacone College School of Indian Art and appointment of a new director.

Gerald Cournoyer, the Oglala Lakota artist who has directed the art program since 2018, has been promoted to vice president of development. Michael Elizondo Jr., Cheyenne, has been appointed as the new director of the Bacone College School of Indian Art.

“As a Cheyenne artist from Oklahoma with many ties to Bacone College, a deep respect and passion for our school’s historic art program, and a love of teaching students about their art and culture, I feel that Mr. Elizondo is a natural fit for Bacone and the fulfillment of its mission,” said President Dr. Ferlin Clark.

A native of Oklahoma, Elizondo received his bachelor’s of fine arts from Oklahoma Baptist University (2008) and his master’s of fine arts at the University of Oklahoma (2011). From 2016-2020, He spent a large portion of his time helping to learn and revitalize the Cheyenne language with the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes. Elizondo was an adjunct instructor in 2012-2013 at Bacone College for former director Tony Tiger.

“It is an honor to be considered among the list of previous art directors in this school’s history,” Elizondo said. “When I was an art student, my research always led me back to previous directors such as Acee Blue Eagle, Woody Crumbo, and Dick West. I am happy and excited to have an opportunity to share my passion for the arts on this level. As Bacone is moving forward toward becoming a Tribal College, I look forward to seeing Native American students and non-Native students who appreciate the history of Native American art join the program from near and far.”

Cournoyer, who helped with the search for a new director for the school he has worked tirelessly to rebuild since 2018, said “We found somebody in Michael who has the qualities and characteristics of previous art directors at Bacone College who inspired students throughout the last 85 years to pursue their love of culture, history, and tribal nations. I look forward to how this next chapter in the School of Indian Art will be told through the eyes, hands, and artistic abilities of our students.”

Elizondo looks forward to picking up where Cournoyer leaves off. “I want to be able to help Bacone during this pivotal time of rebuilding,” he said. “Gerald Cournoyer has been doing an exceptional job to get the art facilities at McCombs Hall renovated for students and instructors to have a good place to learn and teach. As my transition begins, I want to do my part to help keep the legacy of this department moving forward in a positive direction.”

Elizondo is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. He is also of Kaw and Chumash descent. He is married to Dayrah Elizondo and the couple has three children: Michaela, Kevin, and Alaynah. Not only has he taught art at Bacone previously, but his older brother Tony Elizondo and his wife Kelly are both graduates of Bacone College. He maintains his studio practices and a passion for art. His artist website is located at

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