Fundraiser nets $2,000 for teachers

Robert Smith

An art-driven fundraiser in Pawhuska last week netted more than $2,000 to donate to Pawhuska public school teachers, a key organizer of the event said Monday.

The event, titled “The Gallery Experience,” developed from a conversation between Pawhuska businesswoman Addie Roanhorse and her daughter, Anya Brezinski, 11, who is a student at Pawhuska Elementary School.

Anya, her cousin Lily Jones, 15, and two friends, Madelene West, 12, and Avery Potts, 12, played an integral part in organizing an art show that featured the works of dozens of young Pawhuska Public Schools students.

Roanhorse, who is also an Osage Nation employee, helped the girls organize and also rounded up several works by adult artists that could be sold at auction to increase the fundraiser proceeds.

Overall, the three-day event consisted of an artist reception Thursday night at 617 Kihekah — Roanhorse’s building — for students and their parents, a live auction Friday evening at 6:45 p.m. at the same location to sell donated works by adult artists, and a day of open-to-the-public gallery time for the students’ art on Saturday.

“Me and my mom were having dinner at P-Town, and I was just bored and thinking about doing some kind of fundraiser thing,” Anya Brezinski said, recalling how the idea for the art fundraiser came about.

“I think it’s nice because it gives people the opportunity to express themselves in their own artistic ways,” Lily Jones said.

Roanhorse said her daughter developed an awareness of the importance of community involvement in fundraising for good causes through her participation in Dance Maker Academy, which annually performs the Nutcracker Ballet.

Roanhorse also said her own participation on a committee that helped develop and provide programming for youth during the Oklahoma public school teacher walkout last spring was an enlightening moment.

“It really just opened my eyes to how much our teachers are being completely disregarded,” she said. Additionally, she said that she has an abiding concern about the general lack of arts programming in the schools.

Roanhorse said she intended to purchase 58 gift cards — one for each certified teacher in the Pawhuska Public Schools — with the fundraiser’s proceeds.