Jewish Book: Saving Myself, a Los Angeles Childhood
Buy a signed copy of the book!
a signed
copy of the
Get a 17 page
excerpt when you
join our mailing list!

Follow me on
Follow Jeanne Simonoff on TwitterFollow Jeanne Simonoff on Facebook
A Los Angeles Childhood - Golden Dawn-My Connection to Pablita Velarde Part II
Friday, 19 August 2011 09:55

Pablita studied with Dorothy Dunn at the Santa Fe Studio Art School at the Santa Fe Indian School. She received a commission in 1939 by the National Park Service under a Grant from the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Her paintings, which I had the honor to see in 2007 at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe, had scenes that depicted traditional Pueblo life for visitors to the Bandelier National Monument. It was 58 of these 84 works that were on display. The web site has wonderful examples of Pablita's work.

I read a 1979 interview in which Pablita said, "Painting was not considered women's work in my time. A woman was supposed to be just a woman, like a housewife and a mother and chief cook. Those were things I wasn't interested in."

Pablita Velarde died January 12, 2006 at the age of 87 in Albuquerque New Mexico. She had a daughter, Helen Hardin, who also was an artist and died young. Helen had a daughter, Margarete Bagshaw. During their lifetimes, Pablita and Helen won top honors over 25 times at the Santa Fe Indian Market, top honors 23 times at the Gallup Ceremonial, Heard Museum, Scottsdale National, the Philbrook Show, Eight Northern Pueblos, taking top honors over 40 times.

In 2009 Golden Dawn Gallery opened in Santa Fe and for the first time, three generations of artists in one family were housed under one roof. The name of the gallery, Golden Dawn, is the translation of Pablita Velarde's name in Tewa Tsa-sah-wee-eh.

In 1938, Pablita Velarde traveled with Ernest Thompson Seton as nanny of his daughter, Beulah. This of course connects her to someone else who played an important part in my life as founder of the Woodcrafters, the Woodcraft Rangers of which I was a member when I was seven. I find I also have something else in common with Velarde. She states, "I am always telling a story. Everything I do has a story behind it. I am a good storyteller...It is something you either dream in your sleep, or you have it in your subconscious mind, and it just comes out. And you want to do it. So you do it." from "When the Rainbow Touches Down, p. 165.

   I invite all of you to check out Golden Dawn Gallery at I go there whenever I get a chance. It is something about kindred spirits. I have met and spoken with Margarete Bagshaw and her partner, Dan McGuinness. It's something about the earth, the beauty of ceremony, the importance of place that informs my life. I am glad I have a chance to share all of this with you. Thank you for being part of my family and reading Not Just A Jewish Book Blog.