Traditional Spanish Market | Santa Fe Markets | Major Events in Santa Fe |

The Traditional Spanish Market reflects part of Santa Fe’s fascinating multicultural history and draws tens of thousands of visitors from across the country and beyond. Scheduled to take place on the historic Santa Fe Plaza on July 27 and 28, 2024, the market is an opportunity to delve into Spanish colonial history and explore arts and crafts created centuries ago and today. Artists who participate in this market are quite literally keeping history and culture alive through their works.

Founded in 1926 by the Spanish Colonial Arts Society, today the Traditional Spanish Market is presented by the Atrisco Heritage Foundation.  On the last weekend in July, the Santa Fe Plaza will be home to more than 125 adult and mentored youth artists offering their creations. Where else can you find bultosretablosramilletescolcha embroidery, tinwork, woodwork, ironwork, leatherwork, hide painting, pottery, woven textiles, and other art that reflects a centuries-old history?

Because the colonists from Spain who first came to New Mexico in the 1500s were Catholics, many art pieces are religious. Bultos, for example, are carved and painted wooden figures of saints. Retablos are religious paintings or religious scenes populated with small sculptures. Since fresh flowers were not available to the colonists, ramilletes were created from wood or, for those parishes that could afford it, silver to represent bouquets on the church altar.

What Happens at the Traditional Spanish Market

The Traditional Spanish Market, the oldest and largest juried art show in the country, celebrates its 72nd year in 2024. As always, it is free and open to the public. Booths open at 8 a.m. and shopping continues until 5 p.m. both days. As visitors wander between the booths, they’ll find original, handmade art that has been juried into 19 categories. Natural pigments are often used, as they were when colonists first came to northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.

The artists not only sell their works at the market, but they can compete for prizes and cash awards in each category. Their pieces are judged by art historians, art dealers, curators, and art collectors who are knowledgeable in each category.

What would the market be without food, demonstrations, and entertainment? Enjoy music throughout the weekend performed by regional Hispanic bands and dance groups. Keep your strength up for shopping by stopping at food booths. Visit with an author and watch a demonstration by an artist. It’s all part of the Traditional Spanish Market in Santa Fe!

If you enjoy supporting young artists, stop by the Youth Market. These young artists are keeping techniques and skills alive in the next generation. Look for them near the center of the plaza.

In addition to the market, you can attend the Spanish Market Mass on Sunday, July 28, from 9 to 10 a.m. at the Cathedral Basilica at St. Francis de Assisi. It is followed by a traditional procession from the cathedral to the Santa Fe Plaza Bandstand, where there will be a blessing of the artists.

The Atrisco Heritage Foundation

In 2023, the Atrisco Heritage Foundation hosted its first Traditional Spanish Market, after taking over the event from the Colonial Spanish Arts Society which had organized it since it was founded in 1926. The nonprofit Atrisco Heritage Foundation was formed by descendants of families that settled in the Atrisco Land Grant near Albuquerque more than 400 years ago. Today, the organization supports a wide range of programs that keep their history and culture alive by passing it along to new generations.

Learn more about the Traditional Spanish Market and the Atrisco Heritage Foundation here.

This article was posted by Olivia

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