July 10–12, 2015 on Museum Hill in Santa Fe, New Mexico
More Than 150 Artists from 57 Countries Come Together
to Offer Handmade Masterworks and Make the World a Smaller, Better Place

“It’s like few other places in the world because it’s the world gathered all in one place.” —CBS Sunday Morning

Santa Fe, New Mexico— The International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe, the largest of its kind in the world, has become a mecca for master folk artists. This July, more than 150 of them, from every corner of the world, will board buses, boats, camels, and planes to bring their work to this vast and colorful international bazaar. Some arrive as celebrated cultural artists, while others have never before left their villages, let alone crossed an ocean. They all bring centuries of art, tribal identity, and the seeds of economic promise to this truly unique world stage.

Now in its 12th year, the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe draws close to 20,000 market-goers over the course of three days. The Market has become a leading international destination for cultural art, and it has also been attracting trendsetters and visionary designers from some of the most prestigious fashion and home brands, including Donna Karan, Yves Saint Laurent, Anthropologie, and Martha Stewart, each of them looking for inspiration.

Held the second full weekend of July in Santa Fe, itself a centuries-old crossroads of international culture and commerce, the Market showcases the best in cultural art from around the world. Market-goers have the thrill of discovering one-of-a-kind treasures and meeting the artists who made them. For both artists and shoppers, that personal connection in an increasingly globalized world is at the heart of the Market.

“Shoppers meet these artisans in an exchange that supports and helps preserve their work and is also a whole lot of fun.” —Travel and Leisure

From honored tradition-bearers to young artists reinterpreting ancient forms, these individuals bring art that ranges from the highly affordable to museum-quality masterworks. The broad range of mediums—beadwork, carvings, ceramics, musical instruments, glass, jewelry, metalwork, mixed media, paintings, sculpture, and exquisite textiles—makes for an exhilarating shopping experience that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

In the past 11 years, some 750 artists from 91 countries have participated in the Market—generating more than $20 million in sales, 90 percent of which has gone home with the artists. Many come from developing countries where the average income is less than $3 a day. A weekend in Santa Fe provides these artists with the financial ability to radically improve their lives and their communities: Market artists have gone home to build schools, houses, health clinics, wells for clean drinking water, and much more.

“At the International Folk Art Market, every handicraft tells a story.”
—O, The Oprah Magazine

One young Afghan weaver who sells intricately hand-embroidered scarves and shawls is now able to afford to send her sisters to school. A 38-year-old grandmother from a remote village in Madagascar was able to provide basic electricity and water to her village. A Rwandan basket weaver supplied women with a home garden and mosquito nets, while Maasai beaders from Kenya were able to buy chickens to feed villagers during a terrible drought. Nigerien silversmith made enough money at last year’s Market to buy three months’ worth of food for more than 500 people in nearby villages. In the words of actress Ali MacGraw, longtime Santa Fe resident and Market supporter, this is “monumental money.” Pakistani artist Surendar Valasai puts it this way: “For us it’s a miracle.”

“Folk art
carries the touch of its makers
There’s an intimacy in each piece, an embedded narrative of tradition and time, of talent and determination.”

“People want what is real,” says Judith Espinar, co-founder of the Market. “By keeping the vitality and cultural values of their homelands alive through their art amidst a mass-produced world, the Market is the real thing. Each object becomes the starting point for a journey that leads to the artists and stories behind their work. When you touch a piece of extraordinary art, you can’t help but be touched by the artists themselves.”

Shopping at the Market is both fun and of fundamental value. A visitor can wander through booths of handwoven baskets, intricate beadwork, and vibrant embroidery; share stories with the artists themselves; and enjoy Ethiopian lamb stew, Mexican carnitas, Greek dolmas, and other foods from around the world. Live world music, from Latin rock to Japanese shigin chanting, are just some of the main-stage entertainment that will have both adults and kids dancing on the grass.

And in the whirl of the Market, not only is folk art displayed and sold—it is preserved. Economic seeds are sown, feeding the engines of commerce. Hope grows, bridges are built, wells are dug, and understanding spreads across the world. And that, more than anything, is the work of art.

Market Logistics: The International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe opens on the evening of July 10 and runs through July 12, 2015, at the beautiful Milner Plaza on Santa Fe’s renowned Museum Hill. The venue offers stunning views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. For ticket sales and more detailed information, go to www.folkartmarket.org.

In 2014, the Market adopted a new name for its expanding umbrella organization: the International Folk Art Alliance (IFAA). This name better describes the broad range of training programs, new market opportunities, and multimedia projects the organization has embraced.

IFAA also works with global thought leaders, including the Clinton Global Initiative, the Aspen Institute, and the U.S. Department of State to support and grow artisan enterprises. In 2015, the Market will continue its highly successful training program, Mentor to Market, to provide an increasing number of folk artists with valuable business and marketing expertise.

Partners include the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, Museum of International Folk Art, Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, Museum of New Mexico Foundation, and City of Santa Fe.

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