Woman with a scarf tied around her neck smiles softly.
Deputy Director, Programs & Accessibility Coordinator

NEFA's Native Arts program made its final round of grants this spring. Program manager Dawn Spears has transitioned to a consultant role during an exploratory phase for the formation of a regional Native arts consortium. May 30, 2014, was her final day as a NEFA staff member.

Everyone at NEFA unites with me in deep appreciation for Dawn’s immense contributions to NEFA and our field, and equally deep sadness that today is her last day as a staff member.  No matter how long each of us has worked with Dawn at NEFA, we have gained so much and will always value her as a friend and colleague.  I don’t believe I have learned as much from any other NEFA colleague and my true hope is that we will find many ways to keep working together in the years to come.

Those of us who had the good fortune to get to the Native Arts exhibit at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum were so struck by its demonstration of Dawn’s years of work supporting the superb Native artists in the region and bringing together such a strong and supportive community.  The images in the publication are a lasting reflection of her encouragement to the finest Native artistry alive here today, as well as the significant progress in building a New England Native Arts community through Dawn’s tremendous relationship building and networking. 

Dawn, we will miss your regular presence in our midst more than any of us can say.  From the staff social committee and the games you led at many a celebration, to your beautiful photography of art and people from so many Native American markets and gatherings, to your wonderful family who are part of our community, but most of all your enormous heart and spirit.   We are so grateful.  And we will continue to support and have much hope for the next chapter of your important and dedicated work.

Thank you is not enough to express how we feel.