International Folk Art Market
The International Folk Art Market of Santa Fe comes together for one weekend at the Museum Hill complex. For over ten years, the market has involved more than 650 artists from 80 countries and six continents. It truly is global in scale, with artists traveling from their native countries to Santa Fe, where shoppers can purchase their goods. Many from Albuquerque make the trek to the market, considering it a great day trip.
The market truly does bring the world together. But what had been envisioned as a one-time event proved so popular that the market returns every July. Artists are set up under tents, where shoppers browse and make purchases.
On the Saturday market, there is an early bird market from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Ticket prices for early admission are higher.
Saturday market runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday market runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Depending on how much you want first picks at the market, there are options for a bit of pre-shopping. The market opening party runs on the Friday evening before the weekend market.
Tickets can be purchased online at holdmyticket.com. Purchase tickets at least one day ahead and receive a discount. Tickets can also be purchased at the market.
Other locations to purchase tickets include Museum of New Mexico Foundation Shops; Los Alamos Bank offices; and the HoldMyTicket box office at 112 2nd Street SW in Albuquerque.
The Food Bazaar area has an international theme as well. You'll find Cowgirl BBQ, Jambo Cafe, Crepe Escape, Annapurna Vegetarian and more, with flavors from around the globe.
Entertainment runs both Saturday and Sunday, with music from around the world. Hear the music of South Africa, the Balkans, Chile, Vietnam and more.
Offsite parking is available for all market events on Museum Hill during Saturday and Sunday. The free parking includes free shuttle service directly to the market. Parking is available from the P.E.R.A./Lamy building complex located at Paseo de Peralta and Old Santa Fe Trail. The lots are east of the New Mexico State Capitol. Overflow parking is available at the State Capitol parking deck on the corner of Galisteo and West Manhattan Avenue. This is a few blocks from the Lamy site.
Parking is also available at the Runnels and Department of Transportation buildings, between St. Francis Drive, Alta Vista Street, Cordova Road and Cerrillos Road. In this area, buses load from the west side of the bus platform at the South Capitol Railrunner station. Taking the Railrunner from locations south of Santa Fe is easy; exit at the South Capitol Station and take the shuttle bus to the market. There is no public parking at Museum Hill during the event.
Shopping the Market
Once the shuttle bus drops you at the market, you'll walk a short distance down Museum Hill. Just inside the entry, there are several large outdoor tents, each of which contains multiple vendors. The market is crowded, but not enough to discourage shopping. To be comfortable, wear walking shoes and a hat or visor. Umbrellas are available for those who need them, and there is plenty of seating for anyone who needs to sit and rest. But there are over 150 artists and over 100 booths, so plan to spend a few hours finding the perfect present, decorative item or one of a kind piece to add to your collection. The market is an excellent place to spend the day shopping.
Traditional arts are the norm at the Folk Market, and learning about them is half the fun of shopping. The tradition of puppetry in Myanmar goes back to the 15th century. Marionettes were a way to teach and entertain, and that tradition continues today, with mobile puppet libraries providing Myanmar with traditional stories and current events. There are no public libraries in Myanmar. Puppetmaking combines the traditions of dressmaking, embroidery, sculpture, painting and performance art.
Purchasing items at the market is a multi-step process. Tell the vendor what you want to buy, or take your items to the table near the vendor booth. A volunteer will write up a ticket for you which you will take to a payment booth. Once you pay for your item, you'll take your receipt to the person who wrote up your ticket, and get your item.
Costumes from Uzbekistan
Vendors can sometimes speak English, and sometimes not. Each vendor has at least one helper if they don't speak English, to help explain the traditional arts and crafts, and what each item means.
These traditional costumes come from a long history in Uzbekistan along the Silk Road, where the style and ornamentation came together from centuries of cross-cultural exchange. Mukhayyo Aliyeva has a workshop that promotes traditional kaftans, dresses, and designs of Uzbekistan.
Along with clothing and textile arts, the market has jewelry, pottery, recycled art, paintings, sculptures, home furnishings, musical instruments and much more.
In Bali, masks are used in the topping masked dance ceremony. Topeng dance is performed with masks and ornate costumes. They narrate myths, stories, and traditional tales, accompanied by gamelan music. The International Folk Art Market strives to preserve cultural traditions.
Where do the funds from purchases go? The average artist makes about $17,000 at the weekend event. For many of the artists, it is the bulk of their annual income. Ninety percent of the sales go home with the artists and their organizations. And many of the artists employ others in their communities back home.
Some vendors bring traditional musical instruments with them to the market. These West African drums create dynamic rhythms. Handcrafted from local mahogany or teak and topped with cowhide, they have been used for centuries in the village to village communications. The "talking drums" are used for ceremonial occasions and religious functions.
Other musical instruments at the market included cylindrical bamboo harps from Madagascar and hand carved instruments from Pakistan.
Although transactions could be complicated because there are so many vendors, the system for purchases is fairly simple. Tell the volunteer by the booth that you want to purchase an item. They write you a ticket that you then take to a payment booth. At the payment booth, you receive a receipt that you return to the booth where you chose your item. You then get to take your item home. There are multiple payment booths around the market, so purchases can be made fairly quickly.
Vodou Flags from Haiti
Vodou flags are a popular item at the market. Several artists use sequins and beads, and some artists recycle found objects such as buttons into flags. The traditional banners have their roots in West Africa; today their symbolic designs are used for both decorative and ceremonial purposes.
Hearing the stories of artists and how the money they make has helped them prove the market is a shopping experience on a grand scale. Success stories abound. According to the Folk Art Market, the members of a Madagascar silk weaving collective made more than $37,000 at a market in 2012, and an additional $10,000 in wholesale sales. A weaver there normally averages $400 annually, so the 90 women of the collective increased their income substantially. Artists benefit from the market, and in turn, they return home to help enrich their communities and the people they hire. Folk Market is a mutually beneficial affair.
While in the Santa Fe area, consider a visit to the sculpture gardens of Shidoni. Or take the Turquoise Trail between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, visiting Cerrillos and Madrid along the way.
Find out more about the International Folk Art Market of Santa Fe.