Santa Fe International Folk Art Market Gears Up for Ninth Season | - June 19, 2012

"The world's largest market of its kind, the Folk Art Market showcases artistic and cultural traditions that have been passed down by families and through generations and cultures."

The world comes to Santa Fe for the 9th Annual Santa Fe International Folk Market, which takes place on Museum Hill July 13-15, featuring more than 150 master artists from seemingly every corner of the globe.

The world's largest market of its kind, the Folk Art Market showcases artistic and cultural traditions that have been passed down by families and through generations and cultures. This year, more than 40 percent of the market artists are first-time market participants, and they come from Hungary, Uganda, Vanuatu, South Sudan and other far-flung places.

“The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market is about so much more than just commerce," says Charlene Cerney, found of the market and its executive director. "It is truly about cultural preservation.”

“This market proves how, in the global economy, we can spend our dollars to make a palpable difference in the lives of people who are struggling to maintain long-held traditions that are often threatened by the realities that people face in developing countries.”

During the two-day market, scores of booths fill the plaza, displaying silk scarves from Kyrgyzstan; beaded jewelry from Kenya; woven baskets from Rwanda; Haitian beaded works, embroidery from India; ceramics from France; jewelry from Niger, traditional linens and lace from Brazil; embroidery from Peru and so much more.

Market visitors enjoy food from around the world at the International Food Bazaar, including Ethiopian lamb stew, Greek dolmas and carnitas. Live music fills the air on both days with jazz, Latin rock, Japanese Shigin chanting, traditional Balkan music, Cuban street music, Tibetan traditional music and dance and music from Mexico, the Silk Road, and Colombian.

Last year, more than 20,000 people attended the market, including designers from Martha Stewart, Donna Karan and West Elm, ambassadors from Asia, Africa and the Middle East and representatives from UNESC and the Clinton Global Initiative.

In 2011, the market earned $2.3 million in sales, which went directly to the artists, averaging $17,300 per booth. This is significant for many artists, whose average income is less than $3 a day In the past, artists have returned home and used their earnings to build wells, houses and schools.

Leading up to the market, Santa Fe celebrates Folk Arts Week July 6-15, with public events at the Museum of International Folk Art and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, and an international film festival at the Center for Contemporary Arts. 

The schedule includes an opening reception at Monroe Gallery with a photo exhibit documenting significant human rights struggles in history, market as well as artist demos, film screenings and an exhibit at Back Street Bistro of portrait photographs of the folk art market artists taken by local photographer Robert Smith.

Gayle Zemach Lemmon, journalist and author of The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, takes the stage at The Lensic on July 11 at 7 p.m., along with market participant and entrepreneur Rangina Hamidi and Gene Grant, host of  "New Mexico in Focus" on PBS. Lemmon is a contributing editor at Newsweek and The Daily Beast and the deputy director of the Council on Foreign Relation's Women and Foreign Policy program. She also works to encourage governments and financial institutions to support female entrepreneurship to rebuild societies in conflict and post-conflict regions around the world. 

The International Folk Art Market officially kicks off Friday, July 13 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. with an opening party at the Millner Plaza on Museum Hill. The evening features international finger foods including coconut shrimp, braised yak meatballs, goat cheese torta, smoked salmon and chocolate-covered strawberries, along with wine, sangria, beer and sodas.  There's also a cash bar, music by African Showboyz,

The Folk Art Market takes place Saturday and Sunday, with an Early Bird Market from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Saturday, and the market from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

Saturday's schedule includes a Workshop with African Showboyz from Ghana from 11 a.m. to noon; a gallery talk, The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps, 1946-1946 at 1 p.m.; a workshop with a Tuvan Throat Singer from 3-4 p.m.; and Vanautu, a slideshow with video, music and an authentic kava ceremony led by Judith Fein and Paul Ross of Santa Fe, that takes you on a global adventure.

Sunday includes a Children's Passport Program, in which kids can collect flag stickers of the countries of the market artists they visit, The Art of Gaman encore at 11 a.m. and a performance of Black Sea Hotel (Balkan Songs) from 2:30 to 3 p.m.

Because of the size of the crowds attending the market, you can't drive directly to Museum Hill. Instead, park in the  PERA/Lamy Building parking area and hop a free bus. Other parking/bus stop areas include the Runnels and Simms buildings of the South Capitol complex.

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