This year more than 150 artists from 60 countries traveled thousands of miles to Santa Fe, New Mexico to take part in an extraordinary global celebration. Each year, visitors to the Market revel in the beauty and craftsmanship on display. They meet the artists and see first-hand some of the techniques employed and the time dedicated to creating traditional works of art. What they do not see is the time and effort it takes for many artists to leave their home, travel to the Market and prepare for buyers. This is one of those journeys.

Kathiku Muyevu represented Etsha Weavers Group of Botswana at the 2014 International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe. She boarded the first of four flights on the long route from Gaborone via Johannesburg, London, and Dallas to finally land in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This was Kathiku’s first time to fly and the trip included eight flights on various sized planes!

Once in Santa Fe, Kathiku participated in the Mentor to Market training program where mentors helped prepare Kathiku for her first Market. Her mentors included Robin Stavisky of New Venture Marketing; Jana Hawley, Professor at University of Missouri; and Marsha Everton of AIMSIGHTS.  Colvin English of ByHand Consulting was also an essential part of the training program that included activities such as customer service role playing, costing, pricing, and sharing the story behind her artwork. When describing the training program, Kathiku said, “People were so welcoming and made me feel at home.”  Kathiku also enjoyed seeing the sights around Santa Fe and staying at the Santa Fe Sage Inn.

Kathiku sold all the baskets she brought to Santa Fe! This means the Etsha Weavers Group can continue to weave and build their cooperative. She especially wants to thank her mentors Robin and Jana and her generous sponsors who made her trip possible, including: Ron Bauer and Michael Spencer, Andrea Fisher, International Folk Art Foundation, Mac and Catherine Lewis, Nance and Ramón José Lopez y familia, Marti Newman and Chris Pagano, Sandra and Arnold Peinado, Annette, Mervin and Margaret Peters, Ildy and Skip Poliner, Carol Relihan and John Arther, Becky Sawyer and David Connell, and Emily Zants. She is also grateful to the International Folk Art Alliance and everyone else who went of their way to make her trip such a success.

We are honored to be a part of so many artists’ journeys—and as you can see, we do not do it alone! Our donors, sponsors, and volunteers are the backbone of our programming. We could not provide a platform for these artists to share their work with the world without the help of our supporters and for that we are forever grateful.  Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped make Kathiku’s extraordinary journey possible.

Artists journey to market
Photos: Courtesy of the artist