As Michael Kaiser explains in this Washington Post article, many of our arts organizations are struggling in today’s economy. The reality of this hit home when I read Alice Scherer’s recent letter to the Bead Community, which asks us to come forward and help The Bead Museum of Arizona before it’s too late. This sad news caused me to reflect on the impact that this resource has had on my life:
* I first became a member of the Bead Museum at age 18, which was (eep!) 20 years ago. Prior to that, I’d worked in isolation with relatively little exposure to other beadwork. The museum’s newsletter and collection opened my eyes to the use of beads and beadwork across time and culture.
* At 20, I moved to a small town on the outskirts of Prescott, Arizona. My trips in to town always included a visit to the museum. I often dragged my family along too, and in doing so, I was able share my love of beads and beadwork with them.
* My mother has a substantial collection of my work, but her all time favorite necklace features a lampwork focal bead purchased at the 1993 Contemporary Beadmakers exhibit.
* My beaded Doc Martens, “Mama Wears Combat Boots” were shown at the Bead Museum as part of the “Beadwork II: The Embellished Shoe” exhibit in 2002.
* When I had a crazy dream of creating amemorial quilt for those affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Bead Museum got behind the project. Their support played an enormous part in making the 9/11 Bead Quilt Project a reality.
These are some of the many ways that this museum has affected my life – it doesn’t begin to describe the influence it’s had on other bead artists, researchers, collectors, vendors and educators. It doesn’t touch on how the museum has fueled the development of the Bead Community, nor explain the outreach programs that educate non-beaders about the significance of beads and beadwork throughout history.
That said, I’m going to pony up for a family membership, which is $55. I’m an artist/student, so it goes without saying that I’m not a rich woman – but I can dig deep and find a little extra for an important cause. Please do the same(you can even donate to the museum online!) and also pass this information on to your local bead stores, beading groups, and Bead Societies. This museum has had such an incredible impact on the Beading Community. Here’s our opportunity to give something back and ensure the future of this important resource!