Maynard Dixon Legacy Museum
Hello, and thank you for inquiring about participating in the Maynard Dixon Museum Legacy Project with the Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts.
We'd like to tell you why we give, in the hope that it will answer the question of why you may want to help our mission and museum project. It's the story of a woman whose one benevolent act set the stage for what would become the Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts, an organization that preserves the home of the American artist Maynard Dixon, in Mt. Carmel, Utah.
In 1982, amidst a terrible U.S. economy, I left corporate America to become an art dealer full time. I was 41 years old with a family to support - and I knew that if I nurtured my vision – I could help art in America flourish. Art had always been a passion of mine, and going into the art business full time was a leap of faith – based on my knowledge of American history and a personal belief that art is, was, and will always be essential to the preservation of American culture.
And then Edith Hamlin entered my life in a major way. Edith was a wonderful artist in her own right. And, as the widow of Maynard Dixon, Edith gave me a great opportunity – to help her resolve a portion of the Maynard Dixon material she had set aside to sell in her later years. We mounted a show of Dixon drawings, watercolors and major oils in 1987 in our San Jose gallery. The night of the opening, the 80-year old Edith traveled to San Jose to show her support. The Mexican restaurant next door catered the event, complete with a full-size Mariachi band. And then she did it. As the band played, Edith, in earnest joy, stepped out onto the red concrete tile in that small gallery courtyard, and danced alone. Looking at her, I imagined her recalling the years of painting trips with Maynard throughout the desert southwest. Letting joyful memories of an artist’s life wash over her, this graceful woman reminded us all what it is to live with true happiness. It’s what Robert Henri called the art spirit and what Frederic Remington meant when he told a young Maynard Dixon to achieve happiness, he should “draw, draw, draw.” It was a touching scene I’ll never forget.
Edith awakened something in me that would eventually become my reason for founding the Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts. When Susan and I got the chance in 1998 to acquire the Mt. Carmel Dixon property from the great California watercolorist, Milford Zornes, we knew this was our chance to do our part in keeping art in America alive.
Our mission became very clear: Since 1999, the Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts has been committed to preserving Maynard Dixon’s Utah property and educating the public about his contributions to American art through educational tours, internships for working artists, art workshops and day camps for people with special needs, and a vigorous artist retreat program. And now we'll build the Maynard Dixon Museum of Art.
We’ve never forgotten how Edith Hamlin helped us remember why art is so important to the human experience. Won’t you make a donation to the Thunderbird Foundation? When you give, you help us bring people together. You help us to build a community of artists and patrons who believe in the importance of historical preservation, and the immense value that art brings to all of us. Please help us by making a donation today. 100% of your donation goes toward the annual budget of maintaining this important property. It is also our goal to establish a substantial endowment fund that will allow the property to be available for many years to come.
Founder, Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts