2023 IAIA Benefit & Auction Raises over $760,000 for Student Scholarships
August 29, 2023
On the evening of Wednesday, August 16, 325 supporters and friends of the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) gathered at La Fonda on the Plaza in downtown Santa Fe for the Scholarships Shape Futures-2023 IAIA Benefit & Auction. This memorable event raised over $760,000 in critical funds to support IAIA student scholarships. More than 90% of IAIA's students rely on scholarships to realize their college dreams.
The evening commenced in La Fonda's La Terraza, where the artwork in the online Silent Auction was showcased. Afterward, guests gathered in the Lumpkins Ballroom for the dinner program. Recent graduate Shannon C. Hooper (Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe) '23 led the drum song, land acknowledgement, and prayer. Throughout the evening, violinist and composer Geneviève Salamone (Huron-Wendat Nation) and fancy shawl dancer, artist, and singer Stephanie Big Eagle (Dakota and Lakota) collaborated to share music and dance with the audience. Board Chair Loren Kieve (Cherokee Nation) and IAIA President Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee Nation) honored outgoing IAIA Board Trustees with IAIA Pendleton blankets.
In his welcome remarks, Dr. Martin shared his gratitude for the many sponsors, contributing artists, volunteers, and friends who came together as a community to make the event a tremendous success. He explained that more than 80% of IAIA's students are eligible for federal financial aid-but the Pell Grant award covers less than half of the annual costs of attending IAIA. Scholarships help to cover the gap, and we want our students to graduate debt-free.
In closing, Dr. Martin said, "Please know that through funding scholarships, you have the power to change the lives of students, as well as their families and communities. And for that, I thank you."
The IAIA Benefit & Auction reached beyond La Fonda's La Terraza and Ballroom, with donors and art buyers participating from across the country to raise over $760,000 gross in gifts and pledges to support IAIA student success. The total funds contributed by organizational and individual event sponsors exceeded $200,000. The paddle call for additional donations raised almost $225,000, including a $100,000 pledge from longtime supporters and collectors Marshall Hunt (Seminole Nation of Oklahoma) and Lee Ann Hunt. The event's impact and outreach continue as donors are still contributing to support IAIA's students. To make a difference in the lives of IAIA's students, support student scholarships at http://www.iaia.edu/shapefutures.
A highlight of the evening was the live auction featuring ten artworks created by alums and friends of IAIA to raise student scholarship funds, including one-of-a-kind, multi-generation collaborations. Event hosts Shane Hendren (Navajo) '23 and KOAT-TV news anchor Royale Dá (San Ildefonso Pueblo) encouraged the crowd to bid, while recent graduate Elle Nado (Acoma Pueblo and Diné) '23 and current Museum Studies student Jaime Herrell presented the work to enthusiastic supporters.
Participating artists included Connie Tsosie-Gaussoin (Picuris Pueblo and Navajo) '90, Col. Jerry E. Gaussoin Jr. (Picuris Pueblo and Navajo), David Gaussoin (Picuris Pueblo and Navajo) '95, Wayne Nez Gaussoin (Picuris Pueblo and Navajo) '09, Tazbah Gaussoin (Picuris Pueblo and Navajo) '15, Eddy Shorty (Diné) '87, Brenda Kingery (Chickasaw Nation), Dale Chihuly, Jontay Kahm (Plains Cree) '23, Frank Buffalo Hyde (Onondaga and Niimíipuu [Nez Perce]) '95, Cliff Fragua (Jemez Pueblo) Artist-in-Residence '22, Denise Wallace (Chugach Sugpiaq) '81, David Wallace (Chugach Sugpiaq), and Dawn Wallace (Chugach Sugpiaq), Black Pinto Horse (Monte Yellow Bird Sr.) (Arikara and Hidatsa) '78, Beau Tsatoke (Kiowa) '21, and Russell Sanchez (San Ildefonso Pueblo). The live auction raised over $160,000. See full details about the donated work and inspiring videos about the artists' inspirations at http://www.iaia.edu/shapefutures.
Ensuring Indigenous students have access to IAIA is essential to the future of Indigenous representation in the arts. IAIA is grateful to the generous sponsors, donors, artists, and collectors who support IAIA's mission "to empower creativity and leadership in Indigenous arts and cultures through higher education, lifelong learning, and community engagement."
Please save the date and join us next year on August 14, 2024, the Wednesday before SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market, to continue the vital work of raising scholarship support for IAIA's students.
The IAIA Foundation was founded in 2010 to expand IAIA's capacity to raise critically needed funds to strengthen student success, enrich academic programs, support museum exhibitions, and keep IAIA at the forefront of educational offerings. The IAIA Foundation is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, EIN #32-0377684.