Immerse yourself in Santa Fe’s famous International Folk Art Market, the world’s largest exhibition and sale of works by master folk artists. Since 2004, the International Folk Art Market has hosted more than 1,000 master folk artists from 100 countries, some venturing beyond their villages for the very first time. So exceptional is the work presented that over 20,000 people have attended this free event, which runs over five full days. This year, The International Folk Art Market will be celebrating folk art traditions worldwide in a new location, The Santa Fe Railyard Park, July 6 – 9, 2023.
The mission of the organization is to envision a world that “values the humanity of the handmade, honors timeless cultural traditions, and embraces the vision of dignified livelihoods for artists.” Considering the impact the IFAM has on a global scale, this is a vision that goes far beyond simple rhetoric. Artist earnings since the event was established have exceeded $31 million and impacted more than one million lives in the communities they represent.
Understanding the “Neighborhoods”
This might come as a surprise, but the square footage of the new layout at Railyard Park is almost identical to the footprint up on Museum Hill. Regardless, Market is going to look and feel a bit different this year. As you wander through the tented footprint pay attention to how booths are arranged, each cluster of artists forms a neighborhood that represents this year’s chosen themes: Technique, Sustainability, Women’s Empowerment, Focus on Japan, Innovation, Revival, First Time, and World Craft Council. Read a little more about each theme and look for the icon on each artist’s booth sign at Market.
Technique, located in the Ramada (Booths 1-55)
We celebrate the universality of tools, proficiencies, and imagery that underpin folk art creation around the globe while highlighting how its practitioners create works responsive to their individual or community impulses in unique ways.
Sustainability, located in the Plaza (Booths 56-85)
Folk art is inextricable from the environmental surroundings and upbringing of the artist. Artists designated by the Sustainability Icon are making every effort to create environmentally responsible art or highlight environmental themes. Whether this means utilizing recycled materials like PVC pipe, developing non-toxic natural dyes, implementing zero-waste production systems, or creating materials from waste, these artisans are working in reverence for the Earth.
Women’s Empowerment, located in the Grove (Booths 86-120)
These artists are leveraging their artistic prowess and technique to improve women’s well-being in their communities. This oftentimes looks like improving their family’s financial stability, providing educational opportunities, and either upholding matrilineal cultural and artistic traditions or forging new paths in male-dominated artisan sectors.
Focus on Japan, located in the Stone Circle (Booths 121-125)
This year the International Folk Art Market is proud to host the largest number of accepted artists from Japan in our organization’s history. Not only are these artists masters of their craft, but they represent Japan’s wide range of traditions and mediums. From silk kimonos to cedarwood magewappa boxes, you are sure to be dazzled in this year’s Stone Circle.
Innovation, located in Innovation (Booths 127-153)
While folk art is deeply rooted in cultural practices and generational knowledge, it is also a living discipline that changes and adapts. These artists are experimenting with materials and methods that honor folk art traditions while creating work that envisions folk art in the future.
Revival, located in the Community Garden (Booths 154-161)
Folk art is rooted in traditions that come from culture, community, and local heritage. Often reaching further back, artists are reviving seemingly lost techniques, materials, and motifs, bringing these forward into current creation and meaning.
First Time, designated by color
These are first-time participants in the International Folk Art Market. Every year the International Folk Art Market accepts hundreds of applications, each entrant’s application goes through a rigorous, multi-step selection process conducted by our Selection Committee. This year 39 new artists were selected.
World Craft Council: True Blue, designated by color
This year the World Crafts Council has curated a thoughtful collection of folk art titled “True Blue”, inspired by the deep hues and ubiquity of indigo. Items featured in these booths highlight the cross-cultural exchange of the color blue used in folk art traditions and materials from across five regions: East Asia, South Asian, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, and Latin America. “The WCC is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that was founded in 1964 to promote and empower craftspersons of the world.”
International Folk Art Market Financial Impact
In July 2022, out-of-town and resident attendees at the market spent an estimated total of $9,855,427 outside of the market itself and generated Gross Receipts Tax of an additional $812,159. IFAM itself paid $246,211 in Gross Receipts Tax and generated an additional $1,448,477 in contracts and salaries associated with the event – bringing the total economic impact of the 2022 market to more than $11.5 million over five days.
Here’s how that panned out for Lila Handicrafts, a cooperative of women from a small village in Pakistan. The quilts they sell at Folk Art Market have enabled these women not only to send their children to school, but to build a school in their own community, the Santa Fe Desert School.
Positive social change is a big part of what IFAM stands for. Giving these international artists not just a place to display their wares, but an audience hungry for what they produce, has a long-range effect on their communities back home. Roughly translated, that means the beaded collar you bought from Flor Maria Cartuche, a Saraguro Native from southern Ecuador, helped her community support a shelter for victims of domestic violence.
Compare the numbers: Her beadwork collective earned $26,000 in one weekend, while the average daily income per individual in Ecuador is $12.40. The shelter probably would have closed if Flor María and her fellows could not have sold their handiwork at the Folk Art Market.
This year 162 artists from 52 countries, with 39 of them being first-time participants, travel with their artwork to this vast and colorful bazaar. Purchase one-of-a-kind, handmade pieces, ranging from pottery and rugs to clothing, jewelry, and so much more. That one little purchase will have long-lasting effects beyond the item’s inherent beauty and design. It could bring positive change to our global village.
For more information, visit the International Folk Art Market online at folkartmarket.org or call 505-992-7600.
Read about a special event being held by an IFAM sponsor here.This article was posted by Olivia