New Mexico History Museum

New Mexico History Museum celebrates 100 years of Santa Fes Indian Market

April 11, 2022

Brandon Brown

Santa Fe, NM — The New Mexico History Museum (NMHM) is pleased to announce the opening of Honoring Tradition and Innovation, an exhibition commemorating 100 years of Santa Fe’s Indian Market, 1922-2022. The exhibition, which opens on August 7, 2022, traces the 100-year history of this important market and explores the ongoing impact of U.S. Indian policies on the Native American art world over the last century. It also celebrates the artists, collectors, and volunteers that continue to make it happen. The exhibition will display more than 200 examples of works by Indian Market artists from private and public collections and historic and contemporary photographs, as well as interviews with artists and collectors.  

Santa Fe’s Indian Market is the largest juried Native American art show in the world and generates an estimated $160 million for Native artists and the local economy. Each year, more than 100,000 people attend this remarkable event, which surrounds the central plaza in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and sponsors over a thousand Native artists from more than 200 tribal communities in North America and Canada.  

Over the past century, the American Indian art world has been significantly influenced and sustained by Santa Fe’s Indian market and tourist industry. The market provides income to artists and their families and connects Native and non-Native worlds through the interactions it fosters. Indian Market itself has evolved through these exchanges, becoming a place where Native artists are empowered to share cultural histories with non-Native visitors. In this respect, Indian Market has served not only as a marketplace, but also as a forum for shared cultural exchanges that enhance visitors’ experiences. 

The market, which was called “Southwestern Indian Fair and Industrial Arts and Crafts Exhibition” in its early years, has grown tremendously in scope and size since its 1922 beginnings. It was originally sponsored by non-Native staff at the Museum of New Mexico and the School for American Research, and it is now helmed by the mostly Native American staff and board members of SWAIA. The mission of the market was originally to preserve traditional designs and technologies of the past, but now the market is committed to “bringing Native arts to the world by inspiring artistic excellence, fostering education, and creating meaningful partnerships.” 

About the New Mexico History Museum 

The New Mexico History Museum is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, under the leadership of the Board of Regents for the Museum of New Mexico. Programs and exhibits are supported by the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and its generous donors. NMHM is a statewide educational resource, landmark, and destination for everyone who wants to understand the diverse experiences of the people of New Mexico, the dynamics that have shaped our state, and the relationships that connect our region with the rest of the world.   


Related Photos

SWAIA Judges, 2011.
First Southwest Indian Fair
Indian Market Booths, 1973.
Elsie Talahytewa, Hopi artist
Eagle Dancers, 1991.
Indian Market
Nancy Youngblood Pottery
Pubelo Pottery Vendors, 1948
Indian Market Booths, 1973.
Indian Market Vendor, 1971.

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