14th Annual Gala Weekend

Enjoy fresh air, fine food and new art during the Museum of Northern Arizona’s annual Gala on June 13. This festive evening is one of the preeminent social events of the summer and an important fundraiser for the museum.

The main Gala event features cocktails and hors d’oeuvres accompanying a silent auction and preview of the new exhibition Baje Whitethorne Sr.: Náátsʼíílid (Rainbow Light). This exhibition is a stunning retrospective of the work of this renowned Navajo painter and the Gala will celebrate the exuberant color and artistry of his work.

Following the exhibition preview, enjoy a seated dinner catered by Josephine’s Modern American Bistro under a beautifully decorated tent on the edge of Rio de Flag. During the live auction segment of the evening, bid on fine art including pieces donated by the featured artist, unique experiences and trips.

Gala tickets are limited and may be purchased online by clicking here or by contacting development@musnaz.org or calling the Development Office at 928.774.5211, ext. 227.

June 13, 2020
Gala & Fine Art Auction (Exhibition Preview, Dinner, & Live Auction)
5:30 pm Preview the exhibition Baje Whitethorne: Náátsʼíílid/Rainbow Light, Silent Auction
6:30 pm Seated catered dinner and Live Auction
Indoor/outdoor venue – cocktail attire

June 14, 2020
Artist's Brunch & Exhibition Opening
10 am Buffet Brunch and exhibition opening
Indoor/outdoor venue – dressy casual attire

For sponsorship opportunities and reservations, please contact the Development Office at 928.774.5211, ext 227 or development@musnaz.org.

About the Gala Artist - Baje Whitethorne Sr.

The world Baje Whitethorne Sr. paints bursts with energy and memory. Even the stillest scene of home, the smoke quietly climbing from a hogan, has an underlying exuberance exposed through intense and unexpected hues. The hogan may be purple or blue or yellow. The rocky cliffs range through crimsons, amethyst, and azure. The sky bursts open into pattern.

It’s a landscape remixed into fragmented rainbows of color, as if glimpsed through the kaleidoscope of a child’s imagination.

Baje has been creating art since he was a child growing up in the place he so often paints, on his family land in the mountains near Shonto, Arizona. He started by sketching his brothers, uncles and grandfather herding sheep and riding horses, or his mother sewing clothes.

He turned to art in earnest in 1981, after a work accident forced Baje to take time off of his job as a boilermaker and rethink his future. In the 40 years since, Baje’s prominence in the art world has grown, with numerous awards, shows and honors. He has exhibited his artwork across the U.S., from San Francisco to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

He also has toured across Europe, showing his work in cultural centers in France, Germany and Italy. He received the Western Heritage Wrangler Award from the Cowboy Hall of Fame and the 2014 Mayor’s Legacy Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Arts at the Viola Awards Gala in Flagstaff, Arizona. Last year he was included in “Six Navajo Masters” exhibition at the Booth Western Art Museum north of Atlanta, GA

Along with painting, Baje is an accomplished sculptor, jeweler, illustrator, author and a leader in the art community. Whitethorne has illustrated 8 children’s books, two of which he authored. The first he wrote for his son. The books share stories from Navajo oral tradition as well as from his life: Monster Bird, Monster Slayer, Sika and the Raven, Sunpainters: Eclipse of the Navajo Sun, and Father’s Boots.

Baje’s art reflects his generosity of the spirit. He frequently mentors and instructs younger artists. He’s a founding member of Art of the People, a group of prominent indigenous artists who work together to encourage a new generation of artists and share Navajo culture through their art. Baje and the other members of Art of the People often engage in a collaborative art process, which is rare among artists. They’ll take turns painting on a single canvas, often while the public watches, layering paints and ideas with apparent ease until a shared vision emerges.

The Museum of Northern Arizona is honored to have Baje Whitethorne Sr. as the featured gala artist this year and to be able to show an incredible retrospective of his work.