Santa Fe's Three Exciting Markets of Summer | Folk Art, Spanish, and Indian Market

Santa Fe is famous for its summer markets: the International Folk Art Market (IFAM), the Traditional Spanish Market, and the SWAIA Indian Market. Each of these popular markets has its own vibe, but they’re all the perfect places to meet creative artists, discuss their work, and take home something special to remember your experience.

INTERNATIONAL FOLK ART MARKET

JULY 11 – 14, 2024 | SANTA FE RAILYARD PARK

Have you ever longed to travel the world to visit folk artists and collect their work? What if artists from around the world came to you? Since its founding in 2004, IFAM has brought more than 1,000 artists from more than 100 countries to New Mexico. Walking through the stalls is like wandering from country to country, discovering remarkable art at each stop.

Perhaps even more exciting is the opportunity to talk with these artists (perhaps through a volunteer interpreter) whose sales at this event may be supporting their family, or even their village, until the next market. One year, I found my rusty Spanish was enough to get by to discuss a Brazilian artist’s work, despite his native language being Portuguese. A friendly smile, of course, works in any language to show appreciation for an artist’s efforts, as does a purchase.

Each year, thousands of artists apply for the opportunity to be part of this prestigious market. In 2022, 158 artists from 48 countries were juried into the market, and 38 of those artists will be participating for the first time. IFAM estimates that each booth generates approximately $20,000 in income for the artists, their families, and communities.

Leaving home and traveling to the heart of the United States to take part in a crowded market may be overwhelming for a first-timer, but IFAM coaches new artist-participants with Mentor to Market programs, helping with everything from establishing an online presence to long-term support for the future.

IFAM began as a one-weekend celebration of folk art. Now, efforts to support these artists continue year-round, which helps their communities have, as their website states, “clean drinking water, education for girls, improved health care, and thriving folk art communities.”

One way to support IFAM and artists when it’s not market time is to visit the International Folk Art Market Center at 620 Cerrillos Rd. in Santa Fe, where you can shop for folk art and attend lectures and workshops.

Tickets are required for entry and it’s best to buy them ahead of time through the IFAM website at folkartmarket.org. Tickets go on sale May 1, 2024. This year’s market is cashless, so bring your credit card, and learn more about each of this year’s artists at ifamstories.org.

Visit the Museum of International Folk Art on Museum Hill any time of year to enjoy a wide range of folk art.

Read about the delicious global food offered at the market in this Heating It Up story.

SPANISH MARKET

JULY 27 – 28, 2024 | SANTA FE PLAZA Wooden sculptures

Santa Fe’s Traditional Spanish Market honors New Mexico’s Spanish heritage and arts traditionally created centuries ago, like hide paintings, retablos, straw appliques, tinwork, colcha embroidery, furniture, weaving, and woodworking. Long hosted by the Spanish Colonial Arts Society and now operated by the Atrisco Heritage Foundation, this largest and oldest Hispanic art show and sale was first held in 1926 during the Santa Fe Fiestas.

Visiting this market is like stepping back in time, and here you’ll discover pieces you won’t find anywhere else. The artist whose work you admire may well be descended from one of the early Spanish settlers, carrying on a legacy through generations. You may also encounter historical reenactors from El Rancho de los Golondrinas, a living history museum, wearing period costumes and demonstrating what life was like for the colonists.

The market has grown into the world’s largest cultural exhibition of its kind, and it provides the artists with sales and marketing opportunities, award prizes, and public exposure. Visitors have the opportunity to meet respected and world-traveled artists whose works appear in public and private collections worldwide.

The Atrisco Heritage Foundation also hosts a winter market. Visit the new Traditional Spanish Market website for more information about the summer and winter markets.

Visitors at the Indian Market in Santa Fe.

SWAIA INDIAN MARKET

AUGUST 17 – 28, 2024 | SANTA FE PLAZA

For 100 years, Native American artists from across the country have gathered on the Santa Fe Plaza during Indian Market (originally called the Santa Fe Indian Fair) to offer their wares to visitors. The market, hosted by the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA), brings together creators and collectors of Indigenous art.

There’s something for everyone at the market, including traditional arts such as jewelry, pottery, basketry, quillwork, and beadwork, plus more modern genres such as photography and digital arts. Explore the general preview of award-winning art Friday at 4 p.m., during which there is also a silent auction. The market opens to the public Saturday morning, with weekend hours from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. If you need a break from shopping, a variety of performances will be featured throughout the weekend.

The swanky SWAIA Gala is Saturday evening and includes silent and live art auctions and the first of two Indigenous fashion shows. The Sunday fashion show is followed by a trunk show, a singular opportunity to purchase fashions from Indigenous designers. SWAIA Fashion Show Producer Amber-Dawn Bear Robe says, “The power of visual and cultural representation can be seen on the SWAIA Indigenous fashion platform.”

The market is free and open to the public, though other events such as the SWAIA Gala and Indigenous Fashion Show may require tickets. Learn more and get tickets at swaia.org.

Story and photography by Cheryl Fallstead

Additionally photos courtesy IFAM and Spanish Market

Originally published in Neighbors magazine | Updated March 2024

This article was posted by Cheryl Fallstead

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