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Bill and Jane Buchsbaum

Honored October 2018

Bill and Jane Buchsbaum

When they arrived in Santa Fe in 1992, they hit the ground running, and they haven’t stopped since. It is said Bill and Jane Buchsbaum, although not from Santa Fe, are of Santa Fe. They are philanthropists who have given their expertise, enthusiasm, and countless hours of volunteer work to enhance the character and fiber of our city.
    Jane came with a background in leadership and a strong social consciousness. She was the executive director of The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans and a passionate civil rights activist in the 60’s. When working for social justice, for example, she organized against white supremacist, David Duke’s, rise in politics.
    Bill’s volunteering began when he was 16 years old.  He became a big brother to three little boys in Philadelphia, and was a member of a Philanthropic Fraternity that supplied bags of groceries to the poor during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
    Jane was one of the first docents to volunteer at MIAC, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, over 25 years ago. She quickly rose to the “gold standard” of docents recruiting and training others…sometimes her trainings were 30 hours long.  Her knowledge of our community, her love for our community and its people, history and cultures continues to be shared unselfishly; she is a SF ambassador, a one person Bienvenidos.
     Bill supported efforts in rethinking and re-visioning MIAC from a more traditional  museum  to one that more comprehensively engages with visitors and includes Native voices in their exhibitions.  The types of changes Jane and Bill promoted helped MIAC gain recognition on the national and international stage.    
     In honor of Jane’s 60th birthday, Bill financed the establishment of the Buchsbaum Gallery of pottery as one of the MIAC ’s permanent exhibits. This magnificent gallery showcases nearly 300 vessels created by outstanding ceramic artists from New Mexico and Arizona pueblos, from the inception of pottery making up to the present day.
    As collectors, they have become important cultural diplomats; Jane and Bill continue to bring people together and build multicultural bridges between Native Americans, Hispanics, and European-American citizens and visitors to Santa Fe. They have volunteered as board members and advisors to Santa Fe’s renowned Indian Market where Bill was once board chairman, the Wheelwright Museum, and the Museum of New Mexico Foundation. Another important board was the privatly funded Native American Prep School in Rowe, NM, which drew outstanding Native American students from all over the country. Jane was on the New Mexico State Committee of National Museum of Women in the Arts. Their influence extends to the symphony, New Mexico Audubon, literacy, and the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet.
    Recognizing her community support and championing Native American artists, The New Mexican named Jane one of 10 Who Made a Difference in 2015
    Bill is a board member of Mentoring Kids Works, a program  committed to preventing dropouts and helping each student reach their learning potential by having college students tutor third graders in reading and math.
    Jane was instrumental in creating the annual springtime Native Treasures show and sale; a  successful fundraiser for MIAC.
    As a reaction to Jane’s bout with cancer, Bill helped found the New Mexico Cancer Foundation, served on their Board and spearheaded the successful annual Sweetheart auction. Because of Bill’s relationship with Native American artists, many generously donate their work for the cause. Known as the man with the therapy dog, Bill and his little pal Beau make a frequent visits to patients in hospitals and clinics and those in nursing homes.  Family members talk about the sweetness of the moment and the touching connection the little dog and his master provide.
    There is a recurring theme to the lives of Buchsbaums; Jane and Bill  always look for ways to give back so others can enjoy what they enjoy. The secret to their success?  Besides sharing their personal resources, skills and expertise, friends describe Jane and Bill, as “two of the warmest and most wonderful people in town; truly compassionate, altruistic, empathetic, honest, fair, and humble, They are concerned about each person’s welfare and always strive to work for the common good. They do what they do because that is what human beings are supposed to do.”

 

Story by Nancy Dahl

Photo © 2018 by Esha Chiocchio