July 17, 2015

Dear Friends,

The results are in—the 12th Annual International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe lived up to its billing as the #1 art festival in the country and a top 20 must-see event globally! Snapshots follow below.

2015 International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe — The Numbers

  • Participating artists—173 from 57 countries—earned over $2.9 million in 21 hours; the majority have returned safely home, serving their communities with renewed economic strength and fresh aspirations.
  • With 90% of sales revenue going home with the artists, economic opportunity and social impact around the world are among the greatest benefits generated at this year’s event.
  • In the days leading up to the Market, close to one hundred artists experienced business education and mentorship programs designed to help them learn the details of everything from pricing to marketing. Called Mentor to Market, this program, now in its 10th year, is sponsored in part by BNY Mellon and EILEEN FISHER, Inc., and draws on the expertise of a number of volunteer business leaders and folk art experts.
  • Average booth sales were over $20,000!
  • Nearly 19,000 visitors attended the Market, joining us on a transformative journey to create positive social change around the world.
  • More than 1,800 outstanding volunteers – a new record – provided an exemplary experience of graciousness, helpfulness, and celebration for world-class artists and Market-goers.

I lost count of the number of times “Amazing!” was used to describe the Market. But equally amazing are the artists’ stories of leveraging the economic value and cultural beauty of their folk art to create social value that positively impacts their communities.

The fascinating stories of positive social change—envisioned by, and the result of, artist-entrepreneurs first empowered by the Market, now serving as catalysts around the world—make a clear case for why the International Folk Art Alliance truly matters.

International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe – The Impact

  • After a successful weekend, Nepalese paper-mache mask and puppet maker, Ujjwal Shrestha shared how his earnings at the Market will impact his community. “This Market really helped me raise some funds for my community. Many artists’ families lost their houses [in the earthquake]. We also lost the molds that make the masks, so ultimately this helps make new masks and new molds. A lot of children were displaced from going to school, so these funds will definitely help send them back to school.
  • A first-time Market artist, Meghuben Rabari of India, represented hand-embroidered apparel and wall hangings made by a collective of 1,200 women, Qasab-Kutch Craftswomen, from the states of Gujarat and Kutch. According to translator Punit Soni, “Communication and livelihood options are not that great for the 11 ethnic communities and 62 villages in the most interior parts of Kutch,” adding that the Market also helps them to revive appreciation for a 400-year-old craft that has otherwise been “lost in the histories. The respect for the craft is the most incredible thing.”
  • Rafael Cilau Valadez, Huichol yarn painter from Mexico, shared his pride that his father’s tree of life yarn painting was the signature image for this 2015 Market. “It inspires me to keep on this path which is preserving the tradition of doing the yarn paintings and sharing the beautiful heritage and the oral history that we come from… The artwork is a way of not having boundaries, because it is a universal language. My father is sharing that with this particular theme of the tree of life and people love it. There is great feedback. It’s been an honor for me, doing this now for 10 years, I know that I can be doing it for 50 years and still have success.
  • Artists from Kenya to Peru, Cambodia to Guatemala related eloquent accounts of how their folk art serves to transform their communities, providing education, health care and basic infrastructure for well-being—watch for coming stories of impact tied to entrepreneurial artistic endeavors.
  • 1.2 million lives positively impacted. . . and we’re just getting started!

International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe – The Highlights

  • Once again, the news spread about the world coming to Santa Fe! The Market had extraordinary coverage, including being named one of the Top 20 Must-See Global Events by American Express. Stories by the Associated Press, KUNM-FM, and KENW-TV, among many others, helped get the word out about the impact the Market has on folk artist around the world. Click here for these and other great reportage.
  • Thanks to your support and vote, the Market was named #1 Best Art Festival by USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice (but then we knew that all along).
  • International Folk Art Alliance, home of the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe, presented EILEEN FISHER, Inc. and Macy’s with Global Artisan Leadership Awards for Corporate Social Responsibility. We want to honor two corporate partners that exemplify leadership in supporting the artisan sector. They have made a significant difference in the lives of the world’s master folk artists, equipping and empowering them to positively impact their communities.
  • Special thanks to St. John’s College’s Music on the Hill™ for helping us host a memorable Community Celebration event and to ¡Globalquerque! for assistance getting world-class musician, Aurelio Martinez, from Honduras. The whole week it seemed that, when the artists gathered, the rains cleared and the sun came out!
  • This year we launched our Downtown Business Partners sponsorship circle, and connected Market visitors, both local and out-of-towners with Santa Fe’s eclectic, beautiful, and walkable downtown.

Looking Forward…

  • You’ll be hearing from us in the coming weeks about more ways that you can become involved and help us create more opportunities for more artists.
  • We’re exploring an Impact Initiative, focusing more time and resources on equipping artist-entrepreneurs to design, execute, and measure their social impact—a key differentiator for IFAA in the fast-growing world of artisanship and the handmade (and simply being responsive to our primary customer—the artist!).
  • Continue to support folk artist year-round by shopping IFAM | Online. In the next few months, this exciting training program and online store will introduce unique, handmade products from seven new artists from Cambodia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Rwanda, and South Africa.
  • You can see the impact of the Market first-hand by joining us on one of our Passport to Folk Art trips. Click here for details about upcoming 2015 and 2016 adventures.

Thank you 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.

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 warm regards,
Jeff Snell



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


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