|I am honored that a very generous gift was recently made to the Denver Art Museum in my name. This gift will enable the
development of an educational outreach program to elementary school children that will have a specific focus on African,
Oceanic and American Indian art.
Below is part of an announcement made to the members of the 'Friends of Native Arts: The Douglas Society', which is the
support group of the Native Arts Department at the Denver Art Museum, about the gift.
"We are excited to announce a recent generous gift to the Native Arts Department at the Denver Art Museum. Unlike
many gifts which support the department in the way of funding acquisitions, this gift is not intended to immediately
support the department. Instead, this gift will be used to develop an educational outreach program with the purpose to
foster interest in and awareness of African, Oceanic and American Indian arts among future museum patrons, specifically
elementary school children, as well as to ensure continued funding for educational programs that benefit Friends of Native
Arts: The Douglas Society members, college students and the public.
Rand Smith, the current President of the Friends of Native Arts: The Douglas Society and the person the gift was given in
honor of, will be working with the DAM education and development departments to develop an educational outreach
program that will target elementary school children and bring African, Oceanic and American Indian art into the
classrooms along with storytelling and education.
The gift provides an interesting and exciting challenge for the education department at the DAM, and it will help to
educate and plant seeds in younger generations whom will hopefully become future museum patrons, and possible
collectors or scholars.
From Rand Smith:
“When Bobbi Hamill approached me with the theoretical question of ‘If $100k was given to a museum in my honor, how
would I like to see it used?’ my mind started thinking about acquisitions and exhibitions, but it always came back to my
concern about how we keep museum support groups like Friends of Native Arts: The Douglas Society viable in the future
and how do we get younger generations interested in and educated about African, Oceanic and American Indian arts?
Creating a program where kids are exposed to the arts of these cultures in their own classrooms without the distractions
and logistics of doing a field trip to the museum was something that really interested me. Bringing in a storyteller to
engage and educate the children and possibly incorporating art projects in the classroom seemed like and effective way
to reach children. I’m excited to be working with the talented and very receptive education and development departments
at the DAM on this project. They have come up with ideas I didn’t think would be possible, and I’m looking forward to
seeing the program develop and get implemented. One of my concerns is sustainability, so if this program sounds like
something like you would like to support in the museum I’d challenge you to think about it in your giving or planned giving
as a way to help ensure that the arts of the cultures we love can continue to live on through future generations!”
We’d like to thank Bobbi Hamill for her generosity and Rand Smith for his vision and desire to find ways for the future
generations to become aware of and interested in Tribal arts.
Below is copy of the letter to the DAM that accompanied the gift which gives you a little background and insight into it:
“Enclosed please find a check for $100,000 representing a gift to the Denver Art Museum in honor of Rand Smith.
It is my hope that you, in collaboration with Rand, will use the gift for the development and implementation of an
educational outreach program that will provide access to the arts for underserved populations in the state.
The world of tribal art (with which both Rand and I are affiliated) is rapidly following the art world in general in becoming
a province of the wealthy and the well-educated, a sort of gated community of taste and investment possibilities,
exclusive, exclusionary and pretentious. I find this especially unfortunate in the case of tribal art which was created to
foster community and connection. Of all the individuals (dealers and collectors) with whom I’m become acquainted over
the years, Rand has been the most dedicated and effective in his determination to share his pleasure, passion and
insight with anyone and everyone unfamiliar with the power and significance of traditional tribal forms.
It is a privilege to work with and learn from Rand and a great pleasure, on the occasion of his birthday, to make this gift
to the Museum.
The Cathedral Fund”