Craft development is the second largest income generator in rural areas, second only to agriculture. It is also, in many cases, a key component to preserving cultural heritage and empowers communities that may otherwise be left way behind in our global economy.
According to Lindblad Expeditions, “as travelers we are enriched by these crafts and the effect they have on the well-being of the people we visit.” It is for that reason that they have established the Lindblad National Geographic Artisan Fund.
Its purpose is to provide support to a variety of communities around the world to develop their businesses more effectively, safely and successfully. In certain instances that involves training, in others, supplying equipment and helping to find creative ways to develop markets.
The Lindblad Expeditions—National Geographic Artisan Fund has been a sponsor of new artists at the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe since 2010.
That first year, Lindblad sponsored Modesto Rivera Lemus and Angela Rios, Huichol artists from Mexico. They have continued to support Modesto and Angela every year since by selling their artwork aboard Lindblad ships during their travel season in Baja, California. To date, Modesto and Angela have sold approximately $12,000 worth of merchandise on the Baja ships and they continue to expand their offerings of their work every season.
Lindblad also met Claudia Martinez Vargas at the Market. As her art exemplifies the Lindblad National Geographic Artisan Fund’s mission, IFAA arranged for Claudia to have an exhibit and workshop in Washington, D.C., to show her art at the National Geographic Society. As a result, Claudia now runs similar workshops in Oaxaca for children and has shown her work in many of Mexico’s premier galleries and museums. To date Lindblad has sold over $13,000 of Claudia’s artwork on their ships. They have been purchasing from Claudia every year for their Baja travel season since sponsoring her exhibit at the National Geographic Society in 2008.
Since Lindblad’s sponsorship in 2012 of Jorge Monares—a coppersmith from Chile—they have commissioned exclusive and unique work to sell during their Antarctic expeditions. Based in Santiago, Jorge is well located for Lindblad’s southern cone-bound ships, National Geographic Explorer and National Geographic Orion. His product line has been extremely successful for Lindblad, in particular a line of copper bells with penguin handles that were exclusively designed for Lindblad.
They also sponsored Koperasi Jasa Menenun Mandiri Cooperative from Indonesia in 2014 and are now on their second season of offering their textiles for sale on board the National Geographic Orion. They placed an order ahead of time with this cooperative and the artists met the ship while in dock in Kalimantan, Borneo, to deliver the textiles in person.
In 2013, they sponsored Lina Moa, from the Kingdom of Tonga and have purchased her beautiful Tapa weavings to sell on onboard the National Geographic Orion while traveling through the South Pacific in 2014 and will also do the same in 2015.
IFAA is very grateful to Lindblad Expeditions for their support of folk artists at the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe. Stacy Sindlinger, Director of the Artisan Fund, says, “I think our synergy together really kicks in as we choose to sponsor artisans in regions we travel, and artisans who create products that we imagine our guests would enjoy. We can support the artisans to attend the Market, but we can also support them long term through mentoring in regards to product development, costing and pricing, and wholesale business best practices as we purchase their merchandise for our ships galleries! We also meet many other artisans at the Folk Art Market every year, establish relationships, and purchase from them and will continue to for many years to come!”
More information about Lindblad Expeditions—National Geographic and their global trips can be found at expeditions.com.