Monday, August 27, 2012

Note to Self: Become a "Booth Sitter"

"It can be hard to remember that Indian Market has more to offer visitors than the best annual Native art sale in the United States--perhaps the world--when more than 1,000 artists fill more than 600 booths in the 14 city blocks surrounding the Santa Fe Plaza with a
wide, wild and colorful array of jewelry, pottery, paintings, photography, bead and quillwork, basketry, textiles, carvings and sculpture, among other diverse art forms.

"Although the heart of the Market--now in its 91st year--always has been (and always will be) the opportunity to buy authentic, handcrafted work directly from carefully vetted Native artists representing more than 150 tribes, nations and pueblos, those two days are now preceded by a weeklong schedule of activities that have nothing to do with art sales" (Patricia West
Barker, "The Great Community Family Reunion," Indian Market, SWAIA Official Guide, p. 29).

"It's important to remember that the Indian Market is above all a family event. To the causal observer, it may not be evident that there may be generations of artists sitting together under the same booth. Some artists have been participating in Indian Market 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and even 60+ years. The Indian Market is a direct reflection of the lives of Native people and the communities they represent; their artwork
is the universal language, which speaks and becomes a part of our lives" ( Market).
Barker quotes Bruce Bernstein, executive director of the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA), who said, "We want people to come, immerse themselves, and learn more about Native culture..." (Barker).

Artists representing 100 U.S. Federally recognized tribes sell their artwork.

The Indian Market attracts 100,000 visitors to Santa Fe from all over the world. Buyers, collectors and gallery owners come to Indian Market to take advantage of the opportunity to buy directly from the artists.

The Market officially begins on Saturday, 7:00-5:00 and Sunday 8:00-5:00. Saturday is typically when the die-hard collectors come to shop. "Booth Sitters" camp out by their favorite artist's booth the night before for a chance to buy a piece of the art.

Other devoted customers arrive at a more reasonable hour--4:00 am.

The photos here represent just a sample of the work of the highly skilled artisans we saw on one morning.

One way to assess the success of the Market uses a monetary figure. The Market generates approximately $100 million in revenues for the City of Santa Fe.

As the vendors began closing up their booths, I saw these storyteller dolls and thought how rewarding it would have been to have heard a story from one of the elders.
Maybe next year.

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