Why locals should love Indian Market

Santafe.com - August 19, 2011

"Indian Market is the pinnacle of creative economic activity in Santa Fe...Yet locals are often of two minds about it..."

Indian Market is the pinnacle of creative economic activity in Santa Fe. Yet locals are often of two minds about it. Some people want to wallow in it; others want to run from it.

Started by the Museum of New Mexico 90 years ago, Indian Market helped save Native art and culture from extinction and brought the Pueblo people into the cash economy. It is now the largest festival, exhibition and sale of Native arts and crafts in the world.

During last year's Market, organizers at SWAIA conducted a market study, led by Campbell Rinker. They surveyed some juicy information from attendees, helping to quantify the Market's economic impact on our community.

The Money
$140 million of economic activity in Santa Fe
$122 million spent on services like restaurants, hotels, museums, entertainment
$18 million in sales to participating artists
62% of visitors stayed an average of 4.4 nights in Santa Fe
Gross receipts taxes, business license fees, and lodger’s taxes to the city and state representing 12% of the city’s annual revenue

The Artists
More than 1000 artists
45% are from Santa Fe
75% are from New Mexico
66% are from the 19 Pueblos
Majority of artists’ earnings stay in New Mexico
represent 160 tribes and nations

The Fans
100,000 people thronging into downtown over the weekend
43% from New Mexico
57% from out-of-state with the most from Arizona, Texas, California and Colorado
70% are repeat visitors, 30% are first time visitors

The Experience
Main reason people come: to experience the Market or to see the art in general
26% of visitors spend $1000 or more
10% of locals spend $1000 or more
42% attend a gallery opening
39% visit a museum
29% attend SWAIA Preview Party

According to SWAIA, “The Indian Market is not a museum, and yet it curates; the Indian Market is not a school, and yet it educates; the Indian Market is not a summer-long event, and yet it more than doubles the population of Santa Fe and feeds the local economy more than all summer events combined.”

I’m a wallower. I hope I see you at Indian Market.

Kris Swedin consults with Creative Santa Fe, a non-profit organization working to strengthen Santa Fe’s creative economy.