Blog

5.6.14

Honoring Rebecca Blunk

Mary Kelley & Andrea Rogers
NEFA Board of Directors
Former NEFA executive director Rebecca Blunk 
(left) with NEFA board member Andrea Rogers

 
NEFA board members Mary Kelley
and Randall Rosenbaum
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Former NEFA executive director Rebecca Blunk opening her gift from the board alongside NEFA board member Sandra Burton and board chair Lawrence J. Simpson
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Traditional Penobscot 8” sweetgrass flat basket, woven on Theresa’s great-grandmother's wooden forms, dating back to 1810. Ash, twined cedar bark overlay and braided sweetgrass, wild Maine blueberry and raspberry dye.
Former NEFA board member and basketmaker 
Theresa Secord (Penobscot, left) with NEFA 
board member Betsy Richards (Cherokee)

As former NEFA board chairs, we were happily tasked with selecting a gift from the board for Rebecca in thanks for her 28+ years of service to NEFA and her friendship to us over the years. So much has been accomplished during her tenure – too much to recount here. With her predecessors she was instrumental in redefining the role of a regional arts organization within the nation as federal funds declined. NEFA became a model Regional Arts Organization for securing foundation support – first with dance, then with public art, Native arts, and now with theater, to provide support for new work. New England, Rebecca’s first love, has been an enthusiastic laboratory for many of these initiatives. Our sister RAOs followed suit, providing other services so that a new tapestry of arts support was created nationally. During this time, NEFA has sparked many important creative economy initiatives, which have served as templates for other states and regions; dance and Native arts have also been particularly close to Rebecca’s heart. 

The NEFA board wanted Rebecca to know how special her passion and leadership have been, and have selected a gift that is made by nationally recognized Maine basketmaker, Theresa Secord (Penobscot). A founder of the Maine Indian Basketmakers’ Alliance, Theresa served on the NEFA Board from 2003 to 2008, and helped mentor the development of NEFA’s Native Arts program. We believe a basket from Theresa has special meaning, and were honored that Theresa was with us for the presentation during our board meeting on May 1, 2014.  The board gathering was then followed by a celebration of Rebecca’s contributions to NEFA with many friends and admirers.

Many have asked for additional ways to honor Rebecca, and we are pleased to announce the Rebecca Blunk Fund, in support of artistic creation and connection. Contributions to the fund can be made online or by contacting NEFA staff.


Photos by Sancho Maulion.