The Fifth Annual Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, July 12 & 13, 2008
One of the most fantastic events for everyone in Santa Fe is coming up: the Fifth Annual Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, Saturday and Sunday, July 12 & 13, 2008, on Milner Plaza up on Museum Hill. It's been such a runaway smash-hit success since its debut that UNESCO as a result named Santa Fe as the first and only U.S. city in its prestigious Creative Cities Network. The Folk Art Market is an amazing, colorful extravaganza of art, food, music, song and dance, and person-to-person encounters with artists from far flung parts of the world.
Even if you're vague about folk art, or seeing the world is not high on your list of priorities, you owe it to your sense of curiosity to visit to the International Folk Art Market. This year, 140 artists from 41 countries, all in their own ethnic dress and over half of them attending the market for the first time, will demonstrate and sell their crafts. This is nothing remotely like airport souvenirs. Some of these handmade traditions are centuries old, and hard to find even if you've scoured Peru or roamed around Mali a dozen times. Jewelry, toys, clothing, textiles, rugs, baskets, musical instruments, ceramics-you name it; the diversity and range astound and delight everyone.
"Many of these people are the stars in their own countries," said Barbara Mauldin, Curator of Latin American Art at the museum and a member of the selection committee. "It's evident in the recognition and the prizes and awards they've received. You can see they've spent their lives perfecting their work from their dedication and the knowledge they have."
Wandering down the aisles between the shade-covered booths feels like an exotic adventure, full of vivid sights and experiences. You can watch a metal smith from Haiti fashion one of his beautiful wall plaques from a steel drum, or see a Miao woman from deep inside rural China embroidering a collar of intricate silk flowers and animals. You'll discover things you never knew existed, like luscious turquoise-colored pottery pieces made only in one mountain village in Afghanistan. Just the sheer inventiveness and imagination of what you're looking at generates a new appreciation for human capabilities, and a sense of hope about what people can accomplish if we put our hearts and talents to it.
Maybe the Iban weaver from Borneo doesn't speak a word of English, but you're hypnotized watching her shuttle fly through the loom hitched around her back. You both smile, and somehow the world has become a smaller, friendlier, and much more fascinating place. The shopping can seduce you, but the real experience of the market comes from meeting the artists themselves. Many of them belong to small co-operatives that are supporting indigenous people in their home villages. Not only does the market help preserve cultural identity and keep traditional arts alive, it's generating an income for families and communities that might otherwise disappear.
Everything must have been made within the last five years. "Our logo is topped with twelve flags that stand for the twelve months of the year," said Judith Espinar, Creative Director of the Folk Art Market. "It represents our goal of year-round economic sustainability for the artisans."
There's good eats available, too. The Food Bazaar offers plenty of fresh international cooking, including fair trade and organic. Give yourself time to browse the choices from Asian, Indian, Mexican, Native American and Mediterranean vendors and enjoy the delectable aromas wafting your way. Plus there are American hotdogs, desserts, and a multitude of drinks. The Museum Hill Café is also open.
And when you feel like sitting down and just enjoying the spectacle, musicians, singers and dancers from every continent perform on stage in the midst of the market. Last year, the Japanese drummers stole the show, pounding away on massive drums that made the ground reverberate. A troupe of children from Mexico danced in a bright swirl of colors and movement. Check either the website or the guide in The Santa Fe New Mexican in advance, or else pick up a program at the entrance when you arrive so you can plan to catch the acts you'd like to see.
Kids are some of the biggest fans of the Market and love to go. Beginning this year, the Market will provide kids with a "Passport" during Family Day on Sunday, July 13. The Passport contains a world map, as well as descriptive pages about each of the countries featured in the current market. Kids can visits the booths and collect a stamp from the artist's home country. It's a great lesson in geography and may also mean you have a brand-new blossoming stamp collector on your hands.
For a dedicated shopper or collector, it's worth springing the $50 to get into the Early Bird Market, 7:30 a.m.-9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, July 12 (the ticket is good for all day) for the best pickings. On Saturday regular admission is $10 in advance, $15 on the day of the Market, and on Sunday a mere $5. Hours for both days are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. No matter when you go, it's a good idea to wear a hat and slather on some sunscreen. And if you'd like to cut down on plastic, several vendors have attractive, inexpensive tote bags you can buy to haul your booty away. If you want to ship stuff home, services are available on site.
Please remember: There's FREE parking and shuttle busses from lots in town. You cannot park up by the museum. Check the website for details. The service is fast, easy and convenient.
The Fifth Annual Santa Fe International Folk Art Market
July 12 & 13, 2008
Partially sponsored by Putumayo World Music
Andean Flute Music
Caji and Salome
a mellow sound from Brazil
Japanese Shigin Chanting
Kenny Endo, Taiko Master
sponsored by Ten Thousand Waves
Madi Sato, Vocalist
Vietnamese Lion Dancers
Music & dance of Morocco
ranchero from Mexico
Radio Free Bassanda
Music & dance of Senegal
Partially sponsored by Putumayo World Music
Chinese Dragon Dancers
12 noon-12:50 am
Caji & Salome
A mellow sound from Brazil
Son de Madera
Represents the leading success
in the current Son Jarocho
movement...a musical and dance
genre from Veracruz, Mexico
Surprise Return Guest
Akeem Ayanniyi &
Agalu Traditional Nigerian
Drum and Dance
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Stay tuned for more exciting developments.