A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden
Santa Fe folk art market is a fair with a mission
The newest, the 3-year-old Santa Fe International Folk
Art Market, is a melange of textiles, pottery, basketry, carving and more by
100-plus artists from around the world, and organizers say itís the largest
show of its kind in the United States.
With entertainment that includes drumming, dancing,
music, food and childrenís programs, itís a fair as well as a showcase for
But thereís a larger mission behind the event,
which will be held Saturday and Sunday: to sustain world folk art and folk
"We know that these art forms that take hand
work are endangered species," said Judith Espinar, one of the marketís
founders and its creative director.
The artists who are streaming into Santa Fe from 41
countries - including embroidery from Afghanistan, weavings from Chile, felt
work from Kyrgystan - also will go to two days of training in marketing and
running their businesses. That program is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation,
which also gave the market nearly $1 million, part of it earmarked to train
interns from southern Africa to start their own markets.
Thereís also a separate showcase before the market
for dealers _ sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization _ at which artists can take bulk orders.
The show is juried, with artists selected by a
committee of folk art experts.
"Itís a prestigious gathering of artists from
all corners of the world, some who come from very daunting circumstances,"
said Charlene Cerny, the marketís executive director and former head of the
Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe.
Many of the artists represent cooperatives or other
community-based groups, and the profits that go home with them are shared.
Ilma Paixao started a cooperative a few years ago
with lace makers of the Xuquru tribe of northeastern Brazil. Proceeds from the
folk art market _ which accounts for about 80 percent of the lace makersí
sales _ have been used for toothbrushes and school supplies for village
children, a seed bank for farmers, college tuition for two young women and
computer courses for others, she said.
Sales of the Handeira Projectís lace garments and
linens also has provided much-needed income to poor families who otherwise rely
solely on farming, which is difficult in the arid area, Paixao said.
"Itís one of the ways the women find to be
able to work and still take care of the family," said Paixao, a
Brazilian-American who is in the urban studies department at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology.
Proceeds from this yearís market will be used to
reach out to the tribeís other 23 villages and involve them in the lace-making
project, she said.
Last year the market had 14,000 visitors and $1.3
million in sales.
"Thereís nothing like it. Iíve been in the
business 20 years," said Hank Lee, a collector and gallery owner in San
Antonio, Texas. Heís on the marketís board and spent time this year in
Hungary and Ecuador checking out artists for future markets.
"What a global reach weíve had in such a short
time _ itís really mind-boggling," said Lee, who volunteers his time.
Dealing directly with artists gives buyers a sense of
the whole package _ the person, the spirit of the work, and its history, he
said. "Itís one of the few art fairs that really runs the gamut, because
we have things for a dollar and two dollars all the way to $5,000."
The market will be held on Museum Hill, where the
folk art museum is located, just a few miles from downtown. It will be followed
by two venerable summer markets on the Sante Fe Plaza: The 56th annual
Traditional Spanish Market will be held July 28-29, with 250 artists showing
handcrafted traditional arts such as religious carvings, tinwork and the
regional embroidery called colcha; Indian Market, scheduled Aug. 17-19, attracts
tens of thousands of art enthusiasts and visitors who browse the work of some
1,200 artists from 100 tribes.
On the Net:
Santa Fe International Folk Art Market: www.folkartmarket.org
Handeira Project: www.handeira.com
Spanish Market: www.spanishcolonial.org
Indian Market: www.swaia.org
© Copyright 2007 Associated Press
The 24th Annual Whitehawk Antique Ethnographic Art Show with Tribal Art from around the World
will be on August 10-15, 2007
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