What brings together the highest capital in the U.S. with the highest capital in the world? Only the giant of all summer folk art events – the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, which will be celebrating its seventh colorful year the weekend of July 9th, 10th and 11th. Check out New Mexico Magazine’s video of the event here.
Santa Fe’s market is the largest international folk art market in the world, with more than 170 master artists representing 52 different countries. Visitors will find everything from Uzbek chest making to Syrian marquetry, Haitian recycled steel sculptures to Nigerian batik textiles.
Experts from around the country individually selected each of the artists, about half of whom are new to the market, and 97% of whom come from developing nations – meaning this market is a powerful way to preserve cultural traditions and artists’ livelihood alike. 90% of the profit goes back to the country it came from, helping to fund things like medical care, education, water purification and better nutrition for local communities. The artists’ stories alone are enough to make the market worth a trip. Learn how Afghan embroidery is lifting women out of poverty and into the liberty of economic stability and artistic expression. Hear how telephone wire basket weaving is transforming the lives of families in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Durban, South Africa. And find out how lace-making, which women developed from the practice of tying fishing nets, is improving the quality of life in Brazilian villages.
This year in particular, the market will have an influential role in revitalizing the craft economy in Haiti. In addition to providing a fresh start for recently devastated Haitian artists who have participated in the past, the market will be giving one hundred percent of the proceeds from the “Million Hearts for Haiti” booth to support other folk artists all over Haiti. The booth, organized by the Hand/Eye Fund, will sell recycled crafts, books and paintings by the much-admired Haitian artist, Gerard Fortune…
Adjacent to the market’s location on Museum Hill, visitors can stop in at the Museum of International Folk Art to see the new “Gallery of Conscience” exhibit, “Empowering Women: Artisan Cooperatives That Transform Communities.” This exhibit draws attention to the fact that many of the women folk artists in Santa Fe are single representatives of much larger cooperatives back home. During a two-day colloquium prior to the opening of the market, more than 80 women leaders of cooperatives around the world will have a chance to network, share ideas and discuss common social issues such as cultural preservation, domestic violence, and expanding market access for artisan products.
Another person in attendance will be Nicholas Kristof, social advocate and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Kristof will be hosting a special benefit for the folk art market on the evening of July 7th. Tickets may be purchased here.
The market is also a great event for families. In addition to food, music and a Nigerian drum and dance workshop, all of Sunday has been designated “Family Day.” Children grades K-6 can participate in the Children’s Passport Program, collecting flag stickers and learning about the arts, crafts and people of each country firsthand. Even better, the week before the market, kids can sign up for International Folk Art Camp, where they can make their own internationally inspired folk art.
So grab a friend and fly south to Santa Fe for an “overseas trip without the overseas plane fare.” Where else can you find wrangler jeans, green chile cheeseburgers, alternative spa healing, African beef pies, Indian bandhani garments and Japanese Shigin chanting all within a three-mile radius?
Photo 1: Veomanee Douangdala smiles as she weaves (image courtesy of Douangdala’s Lao PDR based artist cooperative, Ock Pop Tok).
Photo 2: Chilean artist Sara Toro Fuentes wove these delicate blossoms from horse hair at the market in 2008 (image courtesy of David Moore).
Photo 3: A young girl proudly displays the flag stickers on her “passport to folk art” (image courtesy of Judith Cooper Haden).