Connie Tsosie Gaussoin Receives Native Treasures Living Treasures Award 2008

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January 14, 2008

Santa Fe, New Mexico—The Museum of Indian Arts & Culture (MIAC) has named celebrated Picuris/Navajo jeweler Connie Tsosie Gaussoin as the third recipient of the Native Treasures Living Treasure Award.

Each year, the museum awards one Native Treasures artist with a Living Treasure Award, in recognition of both an excellent body of artistic work and contributions to the Native community and to MIAC. This year, Connie Tsosie Gaussoin was at the top of that list.

“We are delighted to be recognizing Connie with the Living Treasure award this year,” says Shelby Tisdale, Director of MIAC. “Her work is outstanding and, more importantly, she is a humble and wonderful human being who has given so much back to her community and to our museum.”

In addition to her superb craftsmanship, Gaussoin has also served on the Board of Regents for the Museum of New Mexico and helped in the development of MIAC’s inaugural exhibition Here, Now and Always. She has taught jewelry-making to students at the Poeh Arts Center and the Wheelwright Museum, among others.

Gaussoin will also be the featured artist at the Native Treasures Indian Arts Festival which takes place Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday, May 24 and Sunday, May 25, 2008, at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture on Museum Hill. More than 140 artists from 36 tribes and pueblos will showcase their pottery, jewelry, glass, painting, sculpture, carvings, textiles and other art. This festival will benefit the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture. Weaving demonstrations by Toadlena Trading Post, music by Native Roots & Rhythms and delicious food will add to the festive atmosphere.

An artistic family
Gaussoin comes from a family of silversmiths, painters, rug weavers, singers, sculptors, and other artists. She is now the proud matriarch of her own brood of talented artists. Sons Jerry Jr., David, and Wayne Nez Gaussoin all had the benefit of having their mother as their primary teacher from a young age. They still share the same art studio, a converted garage, to bounce ideas off of one another and prod each other to push their creative boundaries. All three sons will join their mother at the Native Treasures show. Sister Tazbah is only in junior high school, but is a budding artist in her own right.

As a jewelry designer, Gaussoin looks to both her Native heritage and to the world at large for inspiration. She revels in creating unique, personal pieces that say something about her abilities and interests at the time of their creation. A world traveler, Gaussoin has had the opportunity to interact with artists from other cultures and in other media. The pieces she creates reflect her interpretations of her diverse background and experiences. She has handed down that curiosity and adventurous spirit to her sons, who often challenge the “boundaries” of what Native art should look like.

“I am really so honored and surprised to be receiving this award,” states Gaussoin. “I do what I love and try to share it with as many people as possible. It’s nice to be recognized by a museum that I really care about.” Like many of the artists at Native Treasures, Gaussoin’s work is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture.

Gaussoin will be presented with the Living Treasure Award at the Native Treasures Benefit & Pre-Sale on Friday, May 23, at 6 p.m. at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture. The award will be presented by Mike Bird-Romero, last year’s Living Treasure Award recipient.

Tickets to the Benefit Pre-Sale Gala are $75, and are available by calling (505) 982-6366, ext. 112. The evening features elegant hors d’oeuvres, a wine bar, and a pre-sale of select works by Native Treasures artists. The benefit ticket price also includes an Early Bird ticket (for entry from 9-10 a.m.) for the Native Treasures show on Saturday, May 24.


Jennifer Marshall