PENDLETON, Oregon – The Dancing with your Pendleton Stars event has been canceled, but Crow’s Shadow fundraising Star, Cyd Cimmiyotti and her sister Shannon Cimmiyotti Collins raised an astounding $21,000 for the organization. Tapping into their deep network of friends, the sisters helped spread the word about the mission of Crow’s Shadow to provide a creative conduit for educational, social, and economic opportunities for Native Americans through artistic development.
The Cimmiyotti’s fundraising efforts were supported by more than 70 individuals around the region, including a few donors from as far away as Maryland. The most substantial single contribution came from prominent art collector and Pendleton Round-Up aficionado, Jordan D. Schnitzer, who stated, “From time immemorial art inspires us! Crow Shadow has helped fulfill a legacy of Native Peoples whose cultures revered art in every aspect of their lives. We are honored to be a major collector of art made at Crow Shadow and help support their ongoing programs”. CSIA is also grateful to Virgil’s at Cimmiyotti’s Restaurant, who hosted a 10% benefit night on March 10th, where Cyd and Shannon sold raffle tickets for a Pendleton blanket for additional fundraising.
The dancing event was first postponed and eventually canceled due to the pandemic. At the end of June, organizers announced, “In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Community Action Program of East Central Oregon (CAPECO) announced today that it’s 2020 charity event, Dancing with your Pendleton Stars, has been canceled…In total, $50,750.60 was raised by seven dancers for their chosen charities.” CAPECO also stated that they did not want to declare a winner since the dance event did not happen, likewise there was no winner’s purse this year, citing the lack of the actual dance competition. In previous years the winner was determined mainly by fundraising dollars. Considering Cyd was responsible for nearly half of the fundraising total earned by all seven contestants, she would have been the top competitor going into the dance-off. The former Pendleton Round-Up queen’s energy would have been hard to beat.
“Cyd is the clear winner in our eyes. Her enthusiasm for sharing what we do at Crow’s Shadow has been inspirational”, says Karl Davis, Crow’s Shadow Executive Director. Adding, “the fundraising dollars always mean a lot for a small organization, so we are very grateful for this tremendous show of support during this time.” A volatile market and economic unrest can be particularly devastating to arts organizations such as Crow’s Shadow, which normally generate significant revenue from the sale of artwork. Museums and individual collectors become more hesitant to spend money on art when the economy is in flux. This infusion of donations will help CSIA weather the storm. CSIA has been supporting contemporary Native American and underrepresented artists since 1992; a legacy started 28 years ago by local artists James Lavadour (Walla Walla), Philip Cash Cash (Cayuse and Nez Perce), and a group of like-minded friends.
Pendleton born and raised, Cyd Cimmiyotti has spent much of her adult life in Montana but maintains strong connections to her hometown. She is the daughter of Paul and Ann Cimmiyotti, founders of Cimmiyotti’s Steak House (now Virgil’s at Cimmiyotti’s), who opened the iconic Pendleton restaurant in 1959. She grew up riding horses with her father–an avid horseman and rodeo contestant–who taught her to ride horses as a child. Among her numerous achievements and a love of competitive sportsmanship, Cyd was the 1983 Pendleton Round-Up Queen. The Cimmiyotti family has participated in a full range of civic events over the decades, with a particular commitment to the Pendleton Round-Up.
Crow’s Shadow is incredibly grateful to Cyd Cimmiyotti and the Cimmiyotti family for all of the time and energy that they have dedicated to this effort. According to Paula Hall, CEO of CAPECO “People like the Pendleton Stars and their charities, make our world a better place,” and we couldn’t agree more.