the Governor's Arts Award Winners

Eileen Wells

Santa Fe

2008 recipient, Major Contributor to the Arts

Eileen Wells has been an energetic and tireless supporter of the arts in New Mexico since she moved to Santa Fe in 1989. She has served as a board member and volunteer of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation in support of the four Santa Fe-based state museums.

Wells has a leader in generating private funding for everything from exhibitions to capital projects and more. In 1999 she co-chaired a $7 million capital campaign, "Making Hispanic History," to create the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, which opened on Museum Hill in 2002.

Since late 2005 Wells has chaired the Museum of New Mexico Foundation's "Shape the Future" campaign, which has raised $18 million to date. As Marian Silver notes in nominating Wells, "Eileen not only asks others to give, she makes countless financial contributions to the causes she supports. One spectacular example of her generosity is her recent $5.5 million planned gift for the Museum of New Mexico Foundation that will provide endowment funds to help support foundation-affiliated institutions far into the future. It is the largest gift ever received by the foundation."

Other organizations that have benefitted from Wells' contributions to the arts include the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, National Dance Institute of New Mexico and the New Mexico Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Silver said Wells "not only has made our cultural institutions better places to visit, she has made New Mexico a better place to live."