Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, $16 Million and Flowing - July 10, 2011

"While the world economy was in the worst recession in 70 years and global trade fell by 12%, the creative industries sector was thriving."

The economic impact of last year’s Santa Fe International Folk Art Market was more than $16 million on the Santa Fe region. In its eighth year, the market gets bigger and better every year. And its economic impact is part of the growing international trade in arts, culture and creative products produced and sold around the world.

The seeds of the Folk Art Market were planted as a small folk art exhibit at founder Judy Espinar’s shop, Clay Angel, on Lincoln Avenue across the street from the Museum of New Mexico Foundation office where Tom Aageson was Executive Director. They and other dedicated community creatives imagined a market where artists from across the globe could interact with our local community. The artists would demonstrate their craft making, tell the stories of their lives and cultures, and sell their quality traditional hand made products.

Imagination and focused planning resulted in the Market becoming the largest international folk art market in the world. The mission of the Market is to foster economic and cultural sustainability for folk artists and folk art worldwide. The organizers caught a wave into the global tide of economic activity in creative industries in pursuit of this mission.

The $16 million in economic activity produced by the Folk Art Market flows into the more than $1 billion generated by the creative industries in Santa Fe County. That economic activity cascades into the $3.3 billion creative economy of New Mexico and swells the nearly $600 billion in global trade in creative goods and services. While the world economy was in the worst recession in 70 years and global trade fell by 12%, the creative industries sector was thriving.   

Global trade in creative goods and services grew at 14% each year from 2002 through 2008. This growth occurred not only in the developed countries of the US, Canada, and the EU nations, but also in developing countries. This is from a report produced in 2010 by UNCTAD, Creative Economy: A Feasible Development Option.

 Santa Fe’s International Folk Art Market is an outstanding example of how arts, culture and creativity can help families and communities in the developing world improve their economic condition and their lives. It is also an amazing community event enjoyed by Santa Fe’s families and generates growing economic activity right here at home.

Kris Swedin is a community activist, writer, and staffs a 21-year-old calico cat.

She is also on the board of Creative Santa Fe, a non-profit organization working to strengthen Santa Fe’s creative economy.