As you may recall from last month’s update, the APA Program is in the process of searching for the new HomeSpun curator. The curator will be in charge of providing shape and direction for the exhibition, public program series, and middle-school curriculum on Indian American history and culture. We were fortunate to start with a large and highly qualified pool of applicants. We are now well into the selection process and hope to have someone join our team soon. Keep your eyes open for the arrival of our new VIP!
Fundraising has recently experienced a highly anticipated uptick. Just this past month, we learned of two promising HomeSpun fundraising opportunities—one event in New York City and the second in Silicon Valley. We are in the preliminary planning stages for the NYC event. This event will mark the first time HomeSpun visits the Big Apple! In California, a team of hardworking volunteers has plans underway for an evening event on October 24, 2010. The trip to California is poised to be a large success (over 150 save-the-dates have been distributed!).
A new HomeSpun curator will soon join the Smithsonian APA Program. The curator will be the latest addition to the highly effective and wonderfully diverse team in the Capital Gallery office of the APA Program. The curator will be in charge of the development of the HomeSpun exhibition and a series of public programs. The curator will also coordinate the creation of a middle-school curriculum on Indian American history and culture.
At least 55 individuals applied for the position which was narrowed down to ten qualified candidates by the Office of Human Resources. The HomeSpun Review Committee hopes to make the selection by end of June or early July. The curator will work on the project for two years until the exhibition opening at the Smithsonian.
Another piece of news comes from the digital world, where HomeSpun has seen tremendous growth on Facebook and blog visits. Thanks to the hard work of our multimedia specialist, blog contributors, volunteers, and South Asian American organizations such as the Network of South Asian Professionals of Washington DC (NetSAP DC), we saw our Facebook fan base grow 100% in one month! We hope that this trend continues and our fan page becomes a valuable resource to the project over the next few years.
Graph of total number of Facebook fans over the course of a month.
Naeem Khan, photo by smulligannn. cc by-nd
One last highlight I would like to share with you is about a hard-working volunteer and HomeSpun donor, Roshna Kapadia. Thanks to Roshna, my colleague Noriko Sanefuji and I have connected with the famous haute couture dress designer, Naeem Khan. Some of you may know Naeem for his impressive and bedazzled dresses worn by high-profile celebrities such as R&B recording artist Beyoncé Knowles, actress Liz Taylor, and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Naeem has graciously agreed to donate one of his signature gowns to our collections, making it the first Indian American artifact to be collected for the project. Well, that’s about it for now. You can always learn more about the latest on HomeSpun on the website or by calling me, Suchin Adhalaka, Homespun Project Manager, at 202.633.2693.
Our recent trip to sunny California was a success. Dr. Richard Kurin, Dr. Manohar Bartakke, and I traveled out West on March 12 to attend a series of meetings, tour the famous Japanese American National Museum, and present the project to a record-breaking crowd in Southern California. On Sunday, March 14, members from the Indian American community came together in Orange, California, raising over $150,000 for HomeSpun! Dr. Ashok Gore and Dr. D.R. SarDesai took the lead role in planning the fundraiser and dinner event, which 60 people attended. Mr. Navin and Mrs. Pratima Doshi led the donations with $100,000, and Mr. Uka and Mrs. Nalini Solanki donated $25,000. We are so grateful to our event hosts and generous donors. We hope to keep this positive momentum going through our next fundraisers, which are already under way in New York City, Northern California, and Atlanta.
As you may know, HomeSpun is searching for a full-time curator to help develop the exhibition and middle-school curriculum content. We will be soliciting applications in mid-April and close in early May; exact posting dates will be announced soon on the APA and HomeSpun websites. We hope you can help us spread the word!
Don’t forget to become a fan of HomeSpun on Facebook. Our hard-working and underpaid volunteer, Nina Sudhakar, keeps her ears to the ground for the most captivating stories about Indian American issues, so don’t miss out on the conversation on Facebook. You can also learn more about this project on our website or by calling me at 202.633.2693.
Until next month…
- Suchin Adhlakha