The New Mexico History Museum (NMHM) and the Southwestern Association of Indian Arts (SWAIA) present an exhibition that commemorates a century of Santa Fe’s Indian Market. Honoring Tradition and Innovation: 100 Years of Santa Fe’s Indian Market 1922-2022, traces the history of this historic market and explores the impact of Federal Indian policies on the Native American art world. Many of these policies are reflected in the social and economic trends that shaped Indian Market through the years. The exhibition celebrates the artists and collectors who have made it possible and includes over 200 pieces of artwork by Indian Market artists from private and public collections, as well as historic and contemporary photographs, and interviews with artists and collectors.
Each August, an estimated 100,000 people attend the largest juried Native American art show in the world: the Southwestern Association of American Indian Art (SWAIA) annual Indian Market, which takes place in and around the historic Santa Fe Plaza in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and sponsors approximately 1,000 Native artists from more than 200 tribal communities in North America and Canada. Artists show their latest work and compete for awards in SWAIA’s prestigious judged art competition. Since its humble beginnings held in Santa Fe’s Armory on the current site of the NMHM, the market generates today upwards of $160 million annually in revenues for artists and the community, and serves as a forum for shared cultural exchanges with visitors from all over the globe.
The market has been a family matter since its inception, with several generations of artists often participating in the creative process and sharing the same Indian Market booth. The history of Indian Market also reflects SWAIA’s commitment to “bringing Native arts to the world by inspiring artistic excellence, fostering education, and creating meaningful partnerships,” according to the organization’s website. The market has grown tremendously in scope and size since its 1922 beginnings and will continually operate annually to maintain its mission of preserving and honoring traditional designs and technologies of the past while encouraging innovation and new technologies in Native art forms.
We invite you to join us to celebrate 100 years of this unique community treasured event.
Photo credit: Maria and Julian Martinez polychrome jar Courtesy of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture