“The most wonderful shopping experience of my life.”
-Deborah Needleman, The New York Times

Photo: Marc Romanelli

The World’s Largest Folk Art Festival, the World’s Most Unique Art Experience

Featuring Over 150 Master Artists from 50 Countries

July 12, 13 and 14, 2019—Museum Hill in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe, New Mexico—The opportunity to shop for the world’s finest folk art while experiencing the dynamic diversity of global cultures comes only once a year at the International Folk Art Market Santa Fe, the world’s largest folk art festival.

Art and culture lovers will definitely want to be in this acclaimed high-desert arts destination July 12–14 as the Market celebrates the 16th annual gathering of the world’s master folk artists with over 150 artists from 50 countries. This year’s cross-cultural fair features 45 first-time artists, including artists from three countries never before represented at the Market: Australia, Bulgaria and Iraq.

Energized by the hands and hearts of these master makers, the 2019 Market promises a must-see, border-blurring explosion of form, texture and design—textiles, jewelry, beadwork, basketry, sculpture, ceramics, rugs, metal work, clothing, home accessories and more. Juried by two panels of experts, the work represents the highest quality folk art made in the world—and for the world—today.

As visitors are immersed in a high-energy ambiance of craft, culture and creativity, and artists are venerated for their traditional skills and innovation, everyone will contribute to shared ideals of global unity, community sustainability and economic change.

In the words of one longtime Market artist, Bandhani textile master Abduljabbar Khatri of India’s Sidr Craft, “This is the world’s best market. It changes lives, preserves traditional craft, and leads us forward with innovative ideas.”


The Market’s influence as a global change maker has been on the rise since its inception in 2004—its impact felt by individual artists, family enterprises, artisan cooperatives and communities worldwide. For them, three days in Santa Fe, a place rich in its own indigenous cultures and craft traditions, affirms the value of their artistry and affords vital resources for education, infrastructure and medicine for their families and communities. The Market provides the means to help fight political dislocation, gender inequity, and other forms of social and economic oppression.

As of 2018, the Market has generated more than $31 million in artist earnings. As these earnings return home with the artists, many from developing countries where the daily income averages less than $3.10 a day, the Market’s impact ripples through their communities. To date, Market activities have touched an estimated 1.3 million lives worldwide. With 45 new artists joining over 100 returning artists at the 2019 Market, more lives are sure to change.


The 2019 Market also brings more innovation, a category introduced to wide acclaim in 2017.

Twenty-nine artists are featured in this year’s Innovation Inspiration exhibition area, which celebrates the vision of artists who translate traditional folk art materials and techniques into works of modern meaning. While the Market is rooted in a reverence for tradition, the initiative celebrates and encourages artists who are infusing their communities’ folk art traditions with personal expression, fresh perspectives and bold experimentation.

This year, Innovation Inspiration artists are pushing the folk art boundaries in the following areas: Eco Folk, embracing environmentally responsible methods and materials; Urban Folk, fusing tradition and social content as an urban expression; and Folk Contemporary, merging modern design with age-old tradition.

“Both the very new and the very responsible will have an interesting dialogue in Innovation Inspiration this summer,” says Keith Recker, International Folk Art Market Creative Director. “The themes of Urban Folk and Eco Folk are particularly exciting. The work of the artists in these areas speaks to new and ancient facets of folk art. Diverse urban neighborhoods are giving rise to new visual expressions that draw from traditional cultures to make social and political comments about life in the 21st century. Meanwhile, folk artists have been keeping earlier, lower-impact traditions alive with botanical dyes, natural fibers, and ways of making that require little infrastructure and generate little waste.”


The International Folk Art Market Santa Fe enters its 16th year as a force in the international folk art movement under new leadership.

Stuart Ashman, a valuable advocate for the Market and its artists since its founding, took the helm as the organization’s chief executive officer in January. As former Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs (2003-2010), Ashman crafted the funding agreement that helped establish the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe. With childhood ties to Cuba, Ashman also has championed Cuban artists’ involvement at the Market since 2010.

“From the beginning, I’ve had a passion for the Market and all its opportunities and possibilities,” Ashman says. “The movement we started with the Market in Santa Fe now resonates in communities worldwide. From all signs, the movement is growing.”

Indeed, as more consumers and retailers embrace handmade products from the artisan sector, the world’s second largest employer after agriculture, the Market’s role in sustaining folk art traditions and communities is more important than ever. The 2019 Market will again feature its Mentor to Market program, which offers multi-tiered training and education for participating artists, including basic business and marketing skills, partnerships with accomplished business mentors and hands-on experience in the wholesale marketplace. The Market will also again recognize successful examples of leadership and entrepreneurship with the 2019 Living Tradition and Community Impact awards.

As an artist-centric organization, the Market’s belief in the power of folk artists as cultural ambassadors has been supported by its partners worldwide, including such respected global cultural leaders as UNESCO and the World Craft Council.

“In our increasingly polarized world, the Market is both a global economic booster and a balm for the spirit,” Ashman says. “Santa Fe in July is a great time to be a folk artist—and a folk art lover.”


The International Folk Art Market Santa Fe opens with a party on the evening of Friday, July 12, and runs through Sunday, July 14, 2019, at the beautiful Milner Plaza on Santa Fe’s Museum Hill. Tickets go on sale May 1, 2019. For detailed information and schedule of events, visit www.folkartmarket.org.

The International Folk Art Market Santa Fe is held in partnership with the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, Museum of International Folk Art, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Museum of New Mexico Foundation and the City of Santa Fe.

For more information, interview requests, and photos, please contact Clare Hertel at 505-474-6783 or clare@clarehertelcommunications.com.