Appreciation for Native arts and artists, both past and present, has always been of primary importance to the membership of the Antique Tribal Art Dealers Association.
Toward the end of the first decade of our association’s operation, when we felt certain that we would continue on in our capacity to preserve and promote Tribal Art, an idea was put before the Board of Directors. That idea was; to in some way, give back to the various cultures and people in whose art and history we dealt. To that end, a scholarship was established. Originally targeted at young Native American students of traditional art or art history, awards were made to The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe and to the American Indian College Fund. Shortly thereafter, additional funding was approved to serve as a Museum Endowment.
In 2001 we incorporated as a non-profit 501C3. Since that time we have made contributions to museums and organizations throughout the country that are actively involved in the preservation and public education of Tribal Art. With that objective in mind, we have aided in the funding of numerous projects, such as The Dublin Fellowship through the School of American Research, The Bill Holm Center for the study of Northwest Coast Art at the Burks Museum and recently, the Wheelwright Museum’s new wing dedicated to the study of Southwest Jewelry. Additional gifts have been given to the Museum of Northern Arizona to improve storage facilities and the Millicent Rogers Museum’s educational project aimed at young Native American students.
We have been proud to assist in programs to keep Navajo weaving arts alive in local high schools and to help reintroduce a lost basket weaving technique in the Northwest.
Some of our most rewarding efforts have involved finding and providing an untanned buffalo hide needed for a ceremony by a group of Sioux and funding a trip to the Heard Museum by Sarah Leekya, who had never seen the collection of her father’s carvings housed there. Her visit and comments were recorded and are preserved at both the museum and in our archives. We have also aided the Zuni in their efforts to maintain the integrity of their native arts in the face of ever increasing forgeries appearing on the market. Additionally, we provided aid to the Himalayan Stove Project, bringing heat and comfort to the victims of the recent earthquake .
Recently, a three year scholarship to be awarded through the Heard Museum's Young Artists Program has been established in the name of ATADA Lifetime Achievement Award recipients, Jim and Lauris Phillips.