Santa Fe Indian Market This Weekend on The Plaza

The 88th annual Indian Market is this weekend in Santa Fe.

The Sant Fe Indian Market is the biggest event in Santa Fe when a population of 65,000 plus grows by another 100,000 visitors. This year it is the 88th Annual Indian Market.

August 22 and 23, 2009

Each August, the historic city of Santa Fe, NM becomes the Santa Fe Indian Market, enveloping the town’s central Plaza and surrounding streets.

In addition, hundreds of gallery openings, art shows and related events take place during the weekend of Indian Market and during the two weeks immediately preceding it. Indian art collectors and artists from around the world make the pilgrimage to Santa Fe.

  • It is the largest Native American Indian Market in the world.
  • Over 1200 artists are represented in over 600 booths.

The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts runs and plans this annual event.

It has an experienced committee that screens artist entries for quality and authenticity. SWAIA also has art experts who conduct on-site inspections of all artist booths during Market to ensure that quality standards are maintained.

The Santa Fe Indian Market Awards Program brings art experts and collectors to Santa Fe to judge more than 1,200 artist entries and distribute over $60,000 in prize money in numerous categories to SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market artists.

Awards are given to recognize an artist’s dedication and skill in working with traditional materials and techniques. The ability to experiment with new media and art forms is also recognized.

These awards given at the Santa Fe Indian Market sets the standard of quality and innovation for American Indian art around the world.

Award winners gain prestige in the art world. Art collectors look to the program to guide them to what will be “hot” at the Santa Fe Indian Market the next day.

Today’s SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market is the outgrowth of a series of remarkable people and events.

It all started with the Museum of New Mexico and a group of remarkable women who formed themselves into a political action organization to establish and protect human rights for New Mexico’s Indian population.

In 1922 the Indian Fair was created by the Museum of New Mexico as part of the Santa Fe Fiesta celebration. The Museum continued to sponsor the Indian Fair until 1926.

In 1936 the New Mexico Association on Indian Affairs took over the event. It was also in 1922 that the New Mexico Association on Indian Affairs (NMAIA) was founded to help fight the U.S. Senate’s proposed Bursum Bill, which would have illegally given an enormous amount of Pueblo land to Spanish and American squatters.

This year there are many events surrounding the Indian Market.

From benefits and receptions to previews of the award winning works of contributing artists.

There is also a section of the market itself representing the Native American Youth.

If you ever plan a trip to Santa Fe you will have to plan it at least once in August to see this great spectacle of history, beauty, achievement and pride of the Native American Indian’s work. 

2009 Indian Market Schedule


8:30-10 a.m.: Breakfast with the Curators: Talk by Bruce Bernstein, Ph.D. Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, 710 Camino Lejo. $25, $20 for Museum of New Mexico Foundation members. Ticketed event. The Breakfast with the Curators program continues by presenting discussions highlighting new exhibitions and dimensions of the Indian Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. Bruce Bernstein, executive director of SWAIA, will present Indian Market: 88 Years Old and Getting Younger All the Time.

6-8 p.m.: (Re) Presentation, Native Writers Reading and Reception. St. Francis Auditorium, New Mexico Museum of Art, 107 W. Palace Ave., 476-5072. For the first time in its 88-year history, the Santa Fe Indian Market is introducing a new literary arts program. In partnership with the New Mexico Museum of Art, Shadow Catchers Institute and Clear Light Books, this event will feature readings and book signings by poet Simon Ortiz (Acoma) and some of the country’s most exciting emerging Native writers, including poet Orlando White (Navajo), poet Sherwin Bitsui (Navajo), poet dg nanouk okpik (Inuit) and poet and fiction writer Erika T. Wurth (Apache/Chickasaw/Cherokee). The evening will be moderated by fiction writer Evelina Zuni Lucero (Isleta/San Juan Pueblo).


3:30-5 p.m.: Art Quantum: The Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Art. Panel Discussion and Reception. New Mexico History Museum, 113 Lincoln Ave., 476-5200. Since 1989, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis has provided Native artists, authors and scholars a forum for their unique expressions. This discussion will provide insight into its nationally acclaimed Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Contemporary Fine Art program.

5:30 p.m.: SWAIA Artist Fellowship Winner’s Wine Reception, Patina Gallery, 131 W. Palace Ave., 986-3432. Free. Join SWAIA at the beautiful Patina Gallery to celebrate the 2009 SWAIA Artist Fellowship winners for a wine reception. Come and meet the talented artists and view their artwork. Fellowship winners include Phillip Charette (Yup’ik), Daniel Moya (Pojoaque Pueblo), Jared Chavez (San Felipe Pueblo), Shelden Nuñez-Velarde (Jicarilla Apache Nation) and Liz Wallace (Diné). The event is also a fundraiser for the SWAIA Artist Fellowship program.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday

2-8 p.m. Friday; noon-8 p.m. Saturday; noon-3 p.m. Sunday: Native Cinema Showcase. Cathedral Park, 213 Cathedral Place; Center for Contemporary Art, 1050 Old Pecos Trail. SWAIA, the Center for Contemporary Arts and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian present the Ninth Annual Native Cinema Showcase, a four-day celebration of films and videos by and about indigenous peoples in connection with the Santa Fe Indian Market. The showcase, which features 16 programs of film and video from seven countries, will take place in two central venues: the Cinematheque at the Center for Contemporary Arts and Cathedral Park in downtown Santa Fe. Cathedral Park screenings are free and open to Indian Market attendees, although pass-holders have first dibs on seats. Cinematheque screenings are $9 and passes are available for $50, $40 for CCA and NMAI members. Other collaborators include the Indigenous Language Institute, the New Mexico Film Office, the Institute of American Indian Arts and the Taos Center for the Arts. Complete schedule and information, 505-982-1338,


4:30-5 P.M.: Best of Show Ceremony, Santa Fe Community Convention Center, 201 W. Marcy St., 800-777-2489. Ticketed event.

SWAIA will present the 2009 Artist Award winners at the Best of Show Ceremony. This exclusive event takes place at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. Best of Show is the only time the entire weekend where the best artists and best art of Indian Market are together in one place. Tickets are $200 per person and are available to SWAIA members at the Turquoise Level of membership or above.

5:30-7:30 p.m.: Sneak Preview. 7:30-9:30 p.m.: General Preview. Santa Fe Community Convention Center, 201 W. Marcy St., 800-777-2489. Ticketed event. Sneak Preview tickets are a benefit of SWAIA memberships at Turquoise ($250) and above levels. Ticketed event. Members at the Lapis and Coral levels are welcome during the General Preview, from 7:30-9:30 p.m.


7 a.m.-5 p.m.: 2009 Santa Fe Indian Market, Santa Fe Plaza. The world’s most prestigious Native American arts show opens with more than 1,100 artists, food and demonstration booths, entertainment and more. This year’s Indian Market features almost 100 new Native artists. Free.

Noon-1 p.m.: Lifetime Achievement Allan Houser Legacy Award and Povi’ka Award Presentation: Santa Fe Plaza, community stage.

The Lifetime Achievement Allan Houser Legacy Award is the highest honor that SWAIA bestows upon a Native artist. The annual award recognizes the contributions by a distinguished Native American artist to Native arts and Native culture. The Povi’ka Award recognizes service, leadership and support that Native and non-Native people (the broad range of individuals who make up the Indian Market family) provide to the annual Santa Fe Indian Market and to Native artists and their communities.

1-5 p.m.: Skateplotation! Skate Competition, presented by SWAIA and Apache Skateboards. Warehouse 21, 1614 Paseo de Peralta, 989-4423. In keeping with its tradition of promoting contemporary youth arts, SWAIA is partnering with Apache Skateboards and Indian Market artist Douglas Miles to hold a skateboard competition as a signature event during Indian Market. The afternoon features a best trick contest, raffles, product tosses, prizes and music.

1:45-3 p.m.: The Future of Indian Market: Film, Video and Beyond Cinema. Discussion by Bruce Bernstein, Ph.D., and John Torres-Nez, Ph.D. Cathedral Park, 213 Cathedral Place. The Santa Fe Indian Market is world-renowned for presenting the best indigenous studio art. But with digital tools impacting artistic practice, and our concept of “Indian art” in evolution, how will Indian Market respond? This showcase begins with examples of adventurous video art from members of the SWAIA family, including Doug Miles and Melissa Henry, and an interactive panel led by SWAIA Director Bruce Bernstein and Director of Artist Services John Torres-Nez. Come and give your opinion and witness the ways in which digital culture is changing the way emerging artists are making art.

5-9:30 p.m.: Indian Market Live Auction Gala. La Fonda, 100 E. San Francisco St., 982-5511. Ticketed event. A signature market event, the auction features prized works from Native America’s most renowned artists and attracts the most discerning patrons from around the country. This is the largest and most important fund-raising event for SWAIA. It includes cocktails and silent auction at 5 p.m. with dinner and live auction at 6:30 p.m. $135 per person, $1,250 for table for 10. This event sells out early every year.


7 a.m.-5 p.m.: 2009 Santa Fe Indian Market, Santa Fe Plaza. The second day of the world’s most prestigious Native arts fair, in and
around Santa Fe Plaza. Free.

7 a.m.: Wings of America/SWAIA Two-mile Fun Run and Walk. Starts at Santa Fe Indian School, 1501 Cerrillos Road.

To promote Native health and wellness as an important part of the celebration of Indian Market weekend, SWAIA is partnering with Wings of America to co-sponsor the Wings of America/SWAIA Two-mile Fun Run and Walk. The event, which planners hope will become a fixture during market, will begin at the Santa Fe Indian School and end near the central activities of the Santa Fe Plaza.

9 a.m.-noon: Native American Clothing Contest. Santa Fe Plaza, community stage. The most-photographed event at Santa Fe Indian Market is Sunday morning’s Native American Clothing Contest. The contest includes categories for traditional and contemporary Native American fashions, features child and adult participants and awards prizes in more than 20 categories.

Click here for more info on this year’s market.