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IAIA moves scholarship auction online

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Featuring artwork from its most glittering alumni, the Institution of American Indian Arts is moving its annual scholarship auction online as it copes with the pandemic.

The institution normally hosts the annual event the Wednesday before the Santa Fe Indian Market. This year, the auction will be live streaming at one.bidpal.net/iaia2020 starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12.

Organizers curated donations from 12 artists, including Tony Abeyta (Navajo), George Rivera (Pojoaque Pueblo), David Bradley (Chippewa), Jody Naranjo (Santa Clara Pueblo), the Gaussoin family, including Connie (IAIA professor, Picuris Pueblo/Navajo), Cliff Fragua (Jemez Pueblo), Shonto Begay (Navajo), Marcus Amerman (Choctaw), Shane Hendren (Navajo), Caroline Lucero-Carpio (Isleta Pueblo), Doug Coffin (Potowatomi/Creek) and Robert Tenorio (Santo Domingo Pueblo).

IAIA Foundation director Danyelle Means hopes to raise $300,000, the average amount raised from its auction and scholarship dinner during better times. All of the money goes toward IAIA scholarships, she said.

“We haven’t changed that goal although we understand it’s hard times for everyone,” she said.

IAIA tuition averages $15,000 annually, including room and board. Eighty percent of its students need some kind of financial aid, Means said. The annual event is one of the school’s largest income sources of individual donations.

In the fiscal year 2019-20, IAIA awarded $2.4 million in scholarships. Studies show that only 14% of Native Americans possess a college degree.

The fundraiser normally consists of from 60-80 items in a silent auction, plus seven or eight high-end works in the live auction.

Famed ceramist Naranjo donated pottery, Coffin created a shadow box and Amerman fashioned a bearclaw necklace with beadwork, Means said. The Gaussoin family created two pendants and a necklace, while Rivera offered a bronze buffalo dancer.

“We’re a little nervous because the price points are very high,” Means said. “We asked people for a price point of $2,000. They have incredible followings.”

The scholarships will fund the next generation of contemporary native artists. Organizers have been following similar events, such as the online International Folk Art Market.

“It’s kind of the luck of the draw,” Means said. “Our fingers are crossed. We just don’t know.”

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