Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

First he volunteered as a sports coach at St. Catherine's. In 1953, he introduced track into the curriculum and built a winning team. In 1955 he began teaching art classes in a basement studio he and his wife themselves constructed at the school. He volunteered all his free time on evenings and weekends as coach and teacher. He paid for supplies out of his own pocket, or by bartering paintings. Twice a year his students held shows and split the proceeds with the art program, to keep it going.

Bob never understood why his grandmother, from Cochiti, gave him a Hopi name. He didn't know what it meant, till he met a Hopi in Sheridan, Wyoming who told him that Ow-u-Te-wa means Echo of Spring. He wears his poetic name and his artistic reputation modestly. "Everyone says I'm an artist. I've never claimed to be an artist," he insists. His paintings took first prize at Indian Market first time out, in 1933, when he was all of eighteen. After the war, the dedicated teacher put his own artistic career on hold for years. He was in his forties before he returned to painting. Self-taught as an artist, he paints delicate watercolors depicting Pueblo life, its dances and ceremonies.