The Santa Fe Indian Market©

April 14th, 2010 by Smithsonian Journeys

Pueblo at Dusk by Dan Namingha, 1987 Courtesy of the National Museum of the American Indian

For the past 88 years, the Santa Fe Indian Market© in New Mexico has been a hotspot for the cultural arts – both traditional and cutting edge. Every August, over 1000 artists arrive in the city to sell their jewelry, pottery, paintings, basketry, and beadwork. Surrounding this annual event held since 1922, are gallery openings, art shows, and opportunities to mingle and network with artists, cultural historians, and connoisseurs of Native arts.

A combined effort between Native artists and museum curators, the gathering was seen as an opportunity to bring two cultures together. Non-Natives would learn about indigenous cultures while appreciating Native arts as valuable high art rather than as trinkets and souvenirs. Francis La Flesche, a well respected ethnologist and Omaha Indian, addressed the need for systematic production, steady markets, and the maintenance of adequate prices for the art movement to continue.

Decades later, the Santa Fe Indian Market© has succeeded in combining respect for beautiful, well-made Native artwork while appreciating the economic benefits to Native communities who participate. The result is a world class market that attracts approximately 80,000 people each year, and a valuable $100 million in tourism revenues to the state.

Plus, the jewelry is simply gorgeous.

Explore the world of Native Arts on our The Santa Fe Indian Market© tour this summer.

What would you buy at the Santa Fe Indian Market©?

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