Innovation Inspiration

This new section of the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe will feature 30 artists who demonstrate excellence in innovation within their folk art traditions

Santa Fe, New Mexico—This July, for the first time, the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe will devote a special section to artists whose work moves ancient folk traditions into the 21st century. The new category called Innovation Inspiration was made possible by a generous gift from JoAnn and Bob Balzer, both tireless arts advocates and folk art enthusiasts.

“The Balzers’ deep commitment to innovation in the arts honors evolving traditions and has made it possible to usher in this exciting new category,” says Jeff Snell, CEO of International Folk Art Alliance (IFAA) the global nonprofit that produces the annual International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe. “Over the years, their vision and philanthropic support has elevated the lives and work of countless international folk artists.”

Thirty master contemporary artists who successfully made it through a rigorous, juried selection process have been chosen for this special exhibit area. Their work ranges from beautiful upcycled, hand-felted sari scarves from Nepal, to stunning hooked rugs using recycled clothing from Guatemala, to colorful Zulu telephone wire plates and bowls from South Africa, to internationally lauded fashion out of Mexico. A total of 160 master artists from 53 countries will be in attendance at the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe July 14 through 16, 2017.

“We have been passionate about the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe since its very beginning in 2004, and are pleased and privileged to be able to sponsor its new Innovation Inspiration component,” says JoAnn and Bob Balzer. “Innovation Inspiration will feature cutting-edge work that is steeped in tradition, rooted in heritage, and is bravely, excitingly, and imaginatively modern. If you’re looking for something new at Market, start here with Innovation Inspiration!” The Balzers were strong early supporters of IFAM | Santa Fe and IFAA, and JoAnn has served as a board member for twelve years.

With this new category, IFAA celebrates and encourages the innovation of global folk artists who are infusing their community’s cultural assets with personal expression, fresh perspectives, and bold experimentation. The category showcases new folk art forms, aesthetics, and uses that are shaping the past into the future. While the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe continues to honor evolving living traditions and the humanity of the handmade, it now expands the philosophy of the Market to embrace younger creators, as well as artists whose vision expands their community’s aesthetic breadth.

The International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe opens with a party on the evening of Friday, July 14, and runs through Sunday, July 16, 2017, at the beautiful Milner Plaza on Santa Fe’s Museum Hill. Tickets go on sale April 1, 2017. For detailed information and schedule of events, visit

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