The World’s Largest Folk Art Festival is a Must-See for Art and Culture Lovers

Featuring 160 Master Artists from 53 Countries

July 14, 15 and 16, 2017—Museum Hill in Santa Fe, New Mexico


Santa Fe, New Mexico—This July, two representatives of the Sidai Maasai Women Organization, a collective of 68 beadworkers from Tanzania, will make a long journey to the American Southwest to share the distinctive handbeaded jewelry of their sisterhood of Maasai artists with the world.

Abduljabbar Khatri of Gujarat, India, whose intricately patterned bandhani scarves have been featured on Paris runways, will also be leaving home. So will Halima Al Qaydeh of Amman, Jordan, whose resistance to gender inequity through teaching the art of rug making has empowered Middle Eastern women.

These artists’ cultures, craft traditions, and social circumstances are different, but their destination is the same: the 14th Annual International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe, the largest, most diverse folk art festival in the world.


This summer, the Market is on every art and culture lover’s don’t-miss list as the only place on the planet to meet 160 master artists from 53 countries and shop a global gallery of the finest handmade folk art traditions. People of all backgrounds and beliefs will unite as the Market welcomes master artists, entrepreneurs, global citizens, and community leaders whose creativity provides common ground in an increasingly polarized world.

From widely celebrated makers to up-and-coming creators, this year’s festival brings 54 first-time artists together with 106 returning artists, and includes four countries never represented before: Argentina, Jordan, Tajikistan, and Tanzania. Together, these culture bearers will blur borders with an eye-dazzling convergence of handmade forms, textures, and designs—textiles, jewelry, beadwork, basketry, wood carvings, ceramics, rugs, glass and metal work, sculpture, mixed media, toys, and more.

Some 20,000 visitors are expected to gather in the Market’s high-desert setting to meet brilliantly clad artists, experience world music and foods, and purchase works of art ranging from extremely affordable to highly collectible. New in 2017 is Innovation Inspiration, a special exhibition area featuring works by 30 artists who are reinterpreting time-honored materials and techniques into innovative works that express new meaning in the modern age.


Santa Fe has for centuries been an international crossroads of culture and commerce. Since the Market’s inception in 2004, the city has become an ever-more vital point of connection in a globalized but fractious world, a place where the humanity of the handmade triumphs over the faceless mechanization of mass-production.

The Market, juried by two panels of experts, is carefully curated to represent the highest quality folk art made in the world today by individual artists, family enterprises, and community artist cooperatives. The Market’s artist-centered model is supported through longtime partnerships with such respected global thought leaders as UNESCO and the World Craft Council.

In 2017, the Market’s increasing influence in the world of art and design will enjoy the endorsement of the world’s foremost trend forecaster and prominent design educator, Li Edelkoort, who will serve as the Market’s honorary chair. Founding Dean of Hybrid Studies at Parsons: Fashion Art and Design School in New York, Edelkoort brings decades of commitment to culture-driven creativity to her role. She will speak during Market week to VIPs and Market artists about the vital role that artisanal wisdom and folk roots play in the global creative economy.


For three days each July, the world is at home in Santa Fe as folk artists and folk art lovers unite in ideals of community sustainability, empowerment, and well-being. The impact is especially great for disenfranchised women and artists from developing countries, where artisan work is second only to agriculture and daily income averages less than $3.10 per day. Every folk art purchase at the Market—90 percent of which goes home with individual artists, family enterprises, or community cooperatives—is a catalyst for economic opportunity and positive social change.

Since 2004, more than 800 Market artists representing 90 countries have earned a combined $25 million. They have returned home to build schools, bridges, wells, and community centers, purchase milking cows and medical supplies, and fight political dislocation, gender inequity, and other forms of social and economic oppression. Their success has collectively impacted an estimated 1.1 million lives.

“The Market has positioned folk art as an engine of enterprise, bringing opportunities to indigenous artists the world over,” says Jeff Snell, CEO of the International Folk Art Alliance, the Market’s parent organization. “It provides artists with the financial ability to radically improve their lives and communities, and gives consumers a way to positively invest in the world in more meaningful ways.”

Adds Keith Recker, founder of HAND/EYE Magazine and the Market’s new creative director, “Whether committed to historic folk art traditions or inspired by newly innovative expressions, every shopper can make a global impact. For both consumers and artists, the most positive path to the future is handmade.”

To that end, the Market encourages and empowers artists as entrepreneurs and community leaders not just during the Market but year-round. The Mentor to Market program offers multi-tiered training and education, from basic business and marketing skills, to intensive training partnerships with accomplished business mentors, to hands-on experience in the wholesale marketplace. The Market also spotlights successful examples of leadership and entrepreneurship with its Living Tradition and Community Impact awards.

For participating artists, the Market experience is a model for peace and prosperity in the modern age. Bandhani weaver Abdullah Khatri of Sidr Craft in Gujarat, India, says, “Bandhani engages our communities in productive work, economic growth, and fosters peaceful relationships through the bonds created by this art.” Manjula Devi Maithil Bahun, a painter from the Janakpur Women’s Development Center in Nepal, adds, “The most beautiful part of my work is using culture and traditional art to empower illiterate women to support their families.” And Lulama, a maker of beaded animals from Capetown, South Africa, says, “We hope that beyond owning a piece of artwork, people will remember the story of the people who created it.”

Indeed, in addition to the thrill of discovering one-of-a-kind folk art treasures, Market-goers become part of the story as they participate in the profoundly joyful experience of multicultural, one-and-one exchange.

“Seeing these cultural treasures and meeting the artists creates a connectivity that stirs the heart, opens the mind, and invites us to speak a single language,” says Judith Espinar, a co-founder of the Market. “Through folk art, hope grows and understanding spreads across the world.”


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