“I am a bridge between two worlds of my mother’s mother and her journey from the courtyard to the world.” Manisha Mishra

For 13 years, the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe has empowered artists and changed the lives of communities around the world, and like the quote above from Manisha Mishra, whose painting “The Bride” appears in 2016 promotional materials and merchandise, the Market too serves as a bridge that reunites families, rebuilds communities, and revives traditional art forms.


                                                Photo: Bob Smith

The 2016 International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe was extraordinary by several measures:

  • More than 180 artists from 60 countries earned a combined $2.8 million in sales, pushing artist earnings past $25 million since the Market’s founding in 2004.
  • More than 20,000 people attended the Market, generating a projected minimum local economic impact of $10 million and pushing the total past $130 million since the first Market.
  • The Market’s collection of gross receipts tax will provide more than $200,000 to the City of Santa Fe this year, increasing paid GRT to more than $1 million in the last five years.
  • More than 2,100 volunteers covered 5,000 work shifts, growing the volunteer list to more than 3,000 the number of people who give their time and talent to positively impact the world.

Since the artists bring home 90% of their earnings, the lives and communities impacted are beyond calculation and truly breathtaking. First-time Market artist Tarek Abouelenin, who represents the Tentmakers of Cairo, plans to help his own community through education. “My hope is to establish a school for the children of the families that create the tent textiles. They presently do not have an opportunity to be educated.”

Indeed, this year the Market hosted 50 artists who participated for the first time, setting in motion profound positive social change by honoring the dignity of the handmade and thereby increasing human capacity through an exchange of riches unlike anything else in the world.

Personally, I’m reflecting on how world events framed the 2016 Market weekend with bookends of deeply contrasting stories. The joyous Community Celebration and artist procession on the Plaza to kick-off the weekend was celebrated by some 6,000 participants, while at the same time one of America’s great cities mourned a tragedy born out of divisiveness. Then, at the closing of the Market, ROOTS Project of South Sudan, the folk art group who received our 2016 award for Community Impact, departed hurriedly for home, having learned that new fighting had broken out in their community.

In summary, this 13th Market highlighted what the world looks like when we’re at our best; it provides so much to celebrate, so many beautiful stories of human enterprise resulting in what’s genuinely good, beautiful, and inspiring.

To those able to join us this year especially the volunteers thank you for participating in what is the only event of its kind in the world. As the International Folk Art Alliance continues to evolve and prosper, our goals as an organization are centered firmly on our unconditional commitment to artists, and by virtue, their dreams and hopes for the future that we can build together.

Thank you, Santa Fe, for being home to the arts festival voted #1 in the country and creating positive impact around the world.

Here are more highlights from the 2016 International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe.


Please click here to read the latest news on the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe

As part of the 2016 International Folk Market | Santa Fe, the International Folk Alliance presented, Social Innovation and Cross-Sector Solutions on Friday, July 8 at the New Mexico History Museum. The interview and discussion with New York Times best-selling author, David Bornstein, immediate-past CEO of Philanthropy Northwest, Jeff Clarke, and Market artist Meeri Tuya (Kenya), covered a variety of topics surrounding global trends and the future of social entrepreneurship, cultural sustainability practices, and collaborative efforts among corporate and nonprofit entities for lasting social impact. The group was interviewed by International Folk Art Alliance CEO, Dr. Jeff Snell. Click here for more information. 

IFAA launched a new pilot program, Reaching Back Home: A Resource Fair for Artists. The Fair was founded in response to artist feedback and addressed the three primary needs for artists to find success as social entrepreneurs and positively transform their home communities, including, access to capital, improved health care, and education. Participating organizations included: The Aspen Institute Alliance for Artisan Enterprise, Eye Associates of New MexicoSanta Fe Community College, Pro Mujer, Little Globe, and others.

Among the many innovations, improvements, and changes at the 2016 International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe, the establishment of the 1st Annual International Folk Art Alliance Awards is perhaps the most profound, as it recognizes lifelong contributions and commitments to the creation and support of folk art. Click here for more information. 

DOWNTOWN BUSINESS PARTNERS WALKING TOUR AND FOLK ARTIST DEMONSTRATIONSPrior to the Community Celebration and Artist Procession, IFAA held a hugely successful Downtown Business Partners Walking Tour and Folk Artist Demonstrations. Participating artists and business included Casa Nova Gallery with guest artist Nomoda Ebenezer Djaba; Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeehouse with guest artist Reinel Mendoza Montalvo; Malouf on the Plaza with guest artist Arturo Hernandez Quero and Moises Martinez Velasco; Shiprock Santa Fe with guest artist Ida Bagus Anom Suryawan, and Workshop Santa Fe Dry Goods with guest artist Blasie Cayol.

On Thursday, July 7 our Community Celebration and Artist Procession was held before a record crowd on the Santa Fe Bandstand. Students from Mandela International School served as Global Youth Ambassadors and processed with the artists.  Visitors and artists then danced to the music of Mamadou Kelly, who comes from the heartland of Mali’s Niger River Delta. This special evening was co-presented by the Santa Fe Bandstand and ¡Globalquerque! 

Thank you once again for being a part of what makes the International Folk Art Alliance so special—our mission to celebrate and preserve living folk art traditions and create economic opportunities for and with folk artists worldwide. Please be sure to connect with us through our other wonderful programs including the IFAM|Online Store and our Passport to Folk Art Travel Program

With your investment, we will continue to equip and empower artists to create positive social change across the globe, and share their amazing stories to create more impact in their communities.


With Gratitude,

Jeffrey T. Snell, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer