Alumni Spotlight - Daniel Begay

November 15, 2022 - Anna Dykeman

Daniel BegayAnderson wants to recognize November as Native American Heritage Month. Our Native students are a key component of the growth and betterment of Anderson, New Mexico, and our tribes and pueblos. In honor of Native American Heritage Month, we highlight Anderson double alumnus Daniel T. Begay, BBA 2010, MBA 2013.

Daniel earned his business degrees with emphases on accounting, marketing and finance. He also dedicated 10 years to UNM’s American Indian Student Services, working directly with Native students, recently shifting his focus to a full-time artistic career. He’s an award-winning potter and has expanded his work into photography and graphic design. Daniel and his wife Melodie have three daughters, Violet, Ayani and Kwynn.

He grew up in Santa Clara Pueblo and is Diné, two distinct Indigenous cultures that are reflected in his art. He started creating pottery in his childhood, and over the past 15 years, he has refined his skill and been featured in renowned art shows like the annual Santa Fe Indian Market. Daniel’s pieces are hand built, deep carved, stone polished and traditionally fired. He learned his craft from his father, Harrison, and mother, Marie, and his clay is gathered at Santa Clara. His work is influenced by his family’s creativity, an innate competitive nature to improve and try new things, and the tradition passed down from his grandparents.

Begay HOF sculptureDaniel has graciously provided exclusive awards for Anderson’s Hall of Fame honorees this year. The awards are Santa Clara Pueblo style pottery, in a distinct contemporary design with a subtle salute to UNM.  He crafted the awards as a means to give back to the school. “Anderson has proven to be such a critical factor in my professional development and personal growth, there was zero hesitation in accepting the honor of creating this year's Hall of Fame awards,” he said.

When asked about Anderson’s impact on his career, Daniel shared that it gave him a strong foundation for his UNM position as well as in his artistic career. “The skills I picked up at Anderson play a vital role in my work as an artist. I’m capable of running a business that allows me to connect with well-respected galleries and create and maintain valuable relationships with collectors. I've been fortunate to share my knowledge with fellow Indigenous artists and work with them to improve their business practices.”

He sees Native American Heritage Month as a special time, because it's an opportunity to be inspired. “Indigenous creators, educators and professionals work hard every single day of the year, but November is a time to learn those stories—the ones that challenge and push you to grow. When I worked at UNM, I was able to hear about the accomplishments of those working in academia and learn about the amazing work students are doing in and out of the classroom.

“Now, I find inspiration from other Native artists who are pushing boundaries. Whether it's well-established potters or up-and-coming artists, their stories and work are amazing! That doesn't just apply to those in traditional arts—I get to see a whole different range of creativity from artists who use digital platforms to create and recognize their respective cultures.”

Daniel’s work is carried by King Galleries in Santa Fe and Scottsdale, Andrea Fisher Fine Pottery in Santa Fe, and Native American Collections in Denver.

Thank you, Daniel, for providing these unique awards and sharing your talent to support Anderson!