“I wanted to make this contribution to protect the peaks,” she said.
The biggest competition between bidders centered on a bracelet by Flagstaff silversmith Jay McCormick—which fetched $525 for the effort.
Other artists included Bahe Whitethorne, Shonto Begay, Raechel Running and John Running.
Ann Widmann, the editor of the Navajo Hopi Observer, as well as Jeff Greyeyes, who also works at the paper as Graphics Manager, were also on hand to celebrate the evening.
Bill Bloom served as the evening’s auctioneer. He won laughter and applause as he greeted noted Navajo artist Shonto Begay.
“Do you remember me? I made you famous,” Bloom said.
Several years ago, as a teacher, Bloom decided to take his students to the Museum of Northern Arizona to view the artwork of Begay. One of Begay’s pieces, a painting of Changing Woman and her twins, offended one parent, who took her child from the exhibition, Bloom recounted. The subsequent press brought Begay’s artwork to the front pages of local newspapers, including the Arizona Daily Sun.
Begay obviously enjoyed the story along with everyone else.
As the auction came to a close, thrilled buyers lined up to pay for their purchases.
“I can’t believe it! I actually got my painting,” a thrilled Jamescita Peshlakai gushed. Peshlakai walked away with three pieces, eager to get home to hang them. One was a photograph of Radmilla Cody, her mother, grandmother and other family members at a loom. She also took home one of Kerley’s paintings.
Though some of the higher-priced pieces went without bids, the event was certainly not a failure.
“I am very happy that this was such a success,” Long said. “We raised a couple thousand dollars, which will assist us in our efforts to designate the San Francisco Peaks as a World Heritage Site. This designation can only happen with the support of all the people of the Southwest.”