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A New Name for the Eiteljorg Museum Store

by DeShong Perry-Smitherman, Eiteljorg public relations manager | Feb 10, 2014


Katrina and Frank Basile at the Eiteljorg's 20th Anniversary Gala.

Frank and Katrina Basile are known across the city of Indianapolis for their generosity, warmth and contagiously energetic spirits. They greet friends – old and new - with smiles, hugs and genuine questions about their well-being. This couple, who will celebrate 10 years of marriage this year, truly believe in devoting their time and dollars to worthwhile causes that benefit the city’s arts community. And this year the Basiles are continuing their tradition with a gift that will benefit the Eiteljorg for years to come. As a show of sincere gratitude for their gift, the museum is making a change for all to see. Our museum store that is visited by tens of thousands of guests each year – looking for unique Native and Western gifts – will soon be called the Frank and Katrina Basile Museum Store.

For the Basiles, the idea of becoming the namesakes of the Eiteljorg’s store seemed perfect.

“First and foremost, the merchandise that the store carries is outstanding,” said Frank during a recent Eiteljorg visit. “It’s high quality. It’s mission oriented, and the people there, in our experience, are very friendly and helpful.

“We’ve (also) got a double-barreled interest in it. Being chair of the museum board’s merchandising council, I have a real vested interest to do whatever I can to assist Robert (Tate, the store’s manager) and the staff.”

The themes of assisting and service have been Basile staples for decades. The two believe in designating “planned gifts” for charities and providing final gifts to heirs and family members.   But Frank didn’t always have the means to make financial contributions to good causes.  He grew up with very little, but today gives away so much. Why?

Maybe it was because I grew up poor – in a financial sense - in New Orleans,” he said. “Material things are not that important to me. I don’t need a 10 to 15 thousand square-foot house. I don’t need a $60,000 automobile. I don’t need two or three summer or winter homes. 

“…Much better, that in your lifetime, you look at organizations – or people for that matter – but mainly organizations - in whose mission you believe in - and designate some or all of it (money) to go in those places.”

Katrina says she and Frank are excited about the name change and working more closely with the Basile Museum Store staff. Their contributions underscore a shared belief about serving others – a premise weighing heavily on Frank’s mind. He visited the museum for this interview the day after  Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“Dr. King said ‘serve others,’” he said. “Service is the only rent we pay for the space we occupy on this planet. Any success or happiness we achieve in this life is only a byproduct of the service we render to other human beings. And that service can be contributions, volunteering, anything to help a nonprofit in its worthwhile mission…a mission that we believe in.”

Caption for middle photo: Accompanied by Eiteljorg president and CEO John Vanausdall, Frank and Katrina Basile stand in the store that will soon bear their names.

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