2012 Living Treasure Award Recipient Navajo (Dine) painter and jeweler Tony Abeyta

The eighth annual Native Treasures: Indian Arts Festival takes place Memorial Day weekend, May 26-27, 2012 at the Santa Fe Convention Center. More than 200 museum-quality artists from 40 tribes and pueblos will showcase and sell their pottery, jewelry, glass, painting, sculpture, carvings, textiles and other art. The festival is a benefit for the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture.

“As always, we have invited a very strong group of artists, from established masters to the brightest emerging artists, all of whom are producing museum-quality work,” says Jane Buchsbaum, Artist Chair. “Many of their pieces are in the permanent collection of the museum so we really enjoy being able to offer this quality of art for sale. But it’s important to add that we have beautiful things in every price range.”

For the third year, an Emerging Artist section will feature student artists from the Poeh Center. And every year, the museum targets having new artists represent about one-third of the show so that different artists have the opportunity to participate and attendees always have something new to look forward to.
“The wonderful thing about shopping at Native Treasures is that you get to support talented Native artists and the museum at the same time,” says Karen Freeman, co-chair of Native Treasures. “Where else can you come home with a beautiful piece from a top-level artist and know that you also contributed to a really important institution for New Mexico? It’s a great way to get your summer started.” Weaving demonstrations by Toadlena Trading Post, an eclectic mix of music, and delicious food will add to the festive atmosphere.

Proceeds from Native Treasures provide the primary funding for exhibits at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture (MIAC). While the museum receives state funds for operating expenses, all exhibit funding must be raised privately. Exhibits are the lifeblood of a museum and are critical in supporting artists, sharing the museum’s collection with the public, and delivering the ongoing educational mission of the institution. To emphasize the importance of exhibit support, sponsors of Native Treasures will also be recognized as exhibit supporters for all of the exhibits mounted at MIAC in 2012.

Living Treasure Award

As has been the tradition, Native Treasures will also honor an established master with its “Native Treasures Living Treasure Award.” This year’s recipient is famed Navajo (Dine) painter and jeweler, Tony Abeyta. Abeyta is considered to be one of the finest contemporary painters today, continually experimenting with his media and style. In addition to painting, Abeyta has recently made a foray into jewelry as well. A large mural by Abeyta graces MIAC’s gathering space and one of his paintings served as the official illustration for the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. In addition to his outstanding body of work, Abeyta has also served the community, one of the criteria for this award, through the generous donations of his work to a wide variety of non-profit organizations. He also served on the Development Committee for MIAC. Abeyta is represented locally by Blue Rain Gallery.


Friday Night Benefit

A special benefit cocktail party will take place Friday May 25, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Santa Fe Convention Center. All of the artists are invited and it provides a festive atmosphere for collectors and artists to meet, mingle, and reconnect. This year, artists have been asked to create treasure boxes that will be for sale only that evening. Boxes may be made from any medium—silver, clay, wood, painted canvas, glass, etc. and artists are being encouraged to collaborate with other artists on their creations.

“We thought the idea of a unique sale on Friday night would make the evening even more special,” explains Ardith Eicher, Co-Chair of the show. “Collectors will have the chance to find a one-of-a-kind piece that wouldn’t normally be in the weekend show and artists get the chance to try something new and show off a little bit.” Hors d’oeuvres and an open wine and champagne bar round out the evening. In addition, the presentation to the Living Treasure artist takes place that evening. Tickets for the Friday party are $100 and are also available as part of Native Treasures sponsorships.

Native Treasures Collectors’ Sale

In addition to the festival in May, Native Treasures organizers have announced that the third annual Native Treasures Collectors’ Sale will take place on September 15-16, 2012. Treasure-hunters will again have the opportunity to buy Native art and jewelry from collectors selling pieces from their collection, with part of the proceeds again benefiting the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture. “This was a wonderful event this year,” says Freeman. “Collectors were able to make room for new art by selling the pieces that no longer fit into their collections and the rest of us were able to snap up great finds. And all of it benefited the museum that is such a cultural resource for our community.”


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