Santa Fe Indian Market

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Cherish Parrish (Gun Lake Band Potawatomi) explains her baskets to visitors at her booth
Paul GonzalesMichael Kanteena of Laguna Pueblo is a featured artist at Market. This canteen was bought from the artist there.

The Santa Fe Indian Market is an annual art market held in Santa Fe, New Mexico on the weekend following the third Thursday in August. The event draws an estimated 150,000 people to the city from around the world.[1] The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) organizes the market, showcasing work from 1,200 of the top Native American artists from tribes across the country.[2][3]


Early Years[edit]

Indian Market was organized by Kenneth M. Chapman in 1922 as part of an expanded Fiesta de Santa Fe sponsored by the Museum of New Mexico.[4] Edgar L. Hewett, the museum's director, viewed the early Indian Fair events as part of his efforts for public anthropology. The events were held inside the National Guard Armory with an admission fee charged. Pueblo pottery, Navajo textiles, and Pueblo easel-style paintings, such as produced by Dorothy Dunn's Studio students at the Santa Fe Indian School, were the primary art forms represented. Museum staff served as judges, screening work and awarding prizes. Potters themselves were not present for the sale of their works.[5] These early markets were intended to counteract museum and anthropological professionals concerns that tourist curio market's demand for pottery was reducing the quality and authenticity of Pueblo pottery.[6] In 1936, the New Mexico Association on Indian Affairs took over the event.[2] Between 1933-36, events were held at multiple pueblos, rather than in Santa Fe. Maria Chabot returned events to Santa Fe and the NMAIA organized transportation for artists and attached "labels of approval" to the works they believed represented the best works.[5] Today, the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts organizes the market.[3]

Response to COVID-19 Pandemic[edit]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the market went virtual for the month of August 2020, under the guidance of Executive Director Kimberly Peone (Colville Confederated Tribes/Eastern Band of Cherokee).[7][8] The market took place in a hybrid format in 2021, with in-person and virtual events. Only 600 artists were accepted for in-person booths. The remaining 500 artists juried into the market waitlisted and offered opportunities to participate virtually.[8] For the first time, in-person attendance was ticketed rather than free.[9] Santa Fe Indian Market returned to fully in-person operation in August 2022.[10]

SWAIA Native Leadership[edit]

Prior to 2012, SWAIA's top leadership positions were non-Native.

John Torres Nez (Diné) 2012-2014[11]

Dallin Maybee (Northern Arapaho-Seneca) 2014-18[12]

Ira Wilson (Diné) 2018-19[13]

Kim Peone (Colville Confederated Tribes/Eastern Band of Cherokee) 2020 - current[14]

Featured art[edit]

The market features pottery, jewelry, textile weavings, painting, sculpture, beadwork, basketry, and other traditional and contemporary work. It is the oldest and largest juried Native American art showcase in the world.[15] The economic impact of the Market has been calculated at more than $19 million.[16]

Beginning in 2014, the annual market began including a haute couture runway fashion show event in its programming. The event has grown annually. The 2022 program included two runway shows at the Santa Fe Convention Center with more than 1000 spectators each night. The shows featured celebrity runway models: Amber Midthunder, Zahn McClarnon, Jessica Matten, Kiowa Gordon, Eugene Brave Rock and D'Pharoh Woon-A-Tai.[17] The founding director of SWAIA's Indigenous Fashion Show is curator and art historian Amber-Dawn Bear Robe (Siksika Nation.)[18]

Authenticity standards for featured artists[edit]

Artists display their work in booths around the Santa Fe Plaza and adjacent streets, selling directly to the general public. In order to participate, all artists must provide proof of enrollment in one of the federally recognized tribes, and their work must meet strict quality and authentic materials standards.[1] Art experts judge the work and distribute awards and prize money in various categories.

Awards and Prizes[edit]

On the evening before the Market's opening, members of SWAIA may attend a preview of representative works by the artists as well as the winners in each category. It is a way for potential buyers to preview the winning artworks and items for sale. Many buyers make a point of arriving downtown very early in the morning, and it is not unusual to find artists having sold out within a few hours.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Wunderman, Ali (2017-08-18). "Meet the Artists Displaying at This Year's Santa Fe Indian Market, the Largest Juried Native Art Show in the World". Smithsonian. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  2. ^ a b Tryk, Sheila, Santa Fe Indian Market: Showcase of Native American Art, Santa Fe: Tierra Publications, 1993. ISBN 0-9622807-4-7.
  3. ^ a b Montoya Bryan, Susan. "Santa Fe Indian Market fuses tradition with contemporary art". SFGate. Archived from the original on 2017-08-14. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  4. ^ Hartley, Cody (2005). Art in an Arid Climate : The Museum of New Mexico and the Cultivation of the Arts in Santa Fe. Santa Barbara: University of California. pp. 166–171.
  5. ^ a b Bernstein, Bruce (2012). Santa Fe Indian market : a history of native arts and the marketplace. Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press. p. 106. ISBN 978-0-89013-548-8. OCLC 789149000.
  6. ^ Bernstein, Bruce (2012). Santa Fe Indian market : a history of native arts and the marketplace. Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press. pp. 19–20. ISBN 978-0-89013-548-8. OCLC 789149000.
  7. ^ Staff, Native Business (2020-08-12). "SWAIA Saw the Pandemic's Silver Lining: Santa Fe Indian E-Market". Native Business Magazine. Retrieved 2022-09-29. {{cite web}}: |first= has generic name (help)
  8. ^ a b Krisst, Rima (2021-06-14). "'Meeting artists in their space': SWAIA expands digital presence in 'bumpy' pandemic year". Navajo Times. Retrieved 2022-09-29.
  9. ^ Benallie, Kalle. "COVID's impact on Native markets". ICT. Retrieved 2022-09-29.
  10. ^ "Objects Of Art & American Indian/Tribal Santa Fe 2022 Opening And Benefit For SWAIA/Indian Market Aug. 11". Retrieved 2022-09-29.
  11. ^ Mexican, By Anne ConstableThe New. "SWAIA names artist Dallin Maybee as interim COO". Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved 2022-09-29.
  12. ^ Arts, Southwestern Association for Indian. "Dallin Maybee Stepping Down as Leader of SWAIA". Retrieved 2022-09-29.
  13. ^ faazine (2019-10-02). "Santa Fe Indian Market Announces Search for New Director". First American Art Magazine. Retrieved 2022-09-29.
  14. ^ faazine (2020-04-16). "Santa Fe Indian Market Selects Kim Peone as its New Executive Director". First American Art Magazine. Retrieved 2022-09-29.
  15. ^ Guide to the Indian Market Archived 2006-10-16 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Santa Fe Indian Market's economic impact more than $19 million, survey shows." New Mexico Business Weekly, 24 January 2002.
  17. ^ Moore, Booth (2022-08-24). "Santa Fe Indian Market Puts Contemporary Indigenous Fashion Center Stage". WWD. Retrieved 2022-09-29.
  18. ^ Eddy, Jordan (2022-08-15). "Indigenous Fashion Takes the Stage in Santa Fe". Hyperallergic. Retrieved 2022-09-29.

External links[edit]