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7 Fascinating Facts about Indian Market in Santa Fe

The Indian Market is to Santa Fe as Mardi Gras is to New Orleans, or the World’s Fair is to Chicago. Each August, this long-lived event brings thousands of people from across the globe to observe and appreciate Native American artisans display, compete, sell, and demonstrate arts and crafts that are deeply rooted in their cultural heritage. Here are 7 fascinating facts about the Indian Market in Santa Fe.

#1 – 100+ Years

The first Indian Market took place over 100 years ago, in 1922, to introduce Southwest Native Americans and their creations to the world. In the beginning, the small, indoor Southwest Indian Art Fair and Industrial Arts and Crafts Exposition (as it was then called) included a panel of non-native judges to consider artwork by Native Americans who did not interact directly with the spectators. Fortunately, much has changed.

Today, the Indian Market is hosted and controlled by many individual Native artists and tribal members who have joined the SWAIA (Southwestern Association of American Indian Art) staff and Board of Directors.

#2 – Largest in the World

Bringing over 100,000 people from throughout the world to the popular Santa Fe Plaza downtown, the Indian Market is not only the largest event in Santa Fe, but the biggest Native American juried art show in the world! This impressive annual summer event sponsors over 1,000 Native artists from more than 200 tribes throughout North America and Canada, and generates approximately $160M each year for both artists and the community.

#3 – Worthy Mission

The SWAIA’s mission is “Bringing Native arts to the world by inspiring artistic excellence, fostering education, and creating meaningful partnerships.”

#4 – Prestigious Awards

Each year, artists show their latest work and compete for awards in this prestigious judged art competition. The awards ceremony takes place the Friday afternoon preceding the market weekend, where Best of Classification recipients receive their awards for jewelry, pottery, textiles, paintings, and sculptures, and The Best of Show winner is announced – the most highly revered award in the Native art world. In fact, this honor often advances the careers of these fortunate winners.

#5 – Multiple Events

Numerous events take place simultaneously throughout the Indian Market weekend, such as:

  • Native American Film Festival
  • Native Fashion Show & Clothing Contest
  • Museum & Art Gallery Openings
  • Live Musical Entertainment
  • Dancing & Demonstrations

#6 – Sneak Peek

SWAIA Members, which includes collectors, artists, and enthusiasts alike, get an exclusive preview of the year’s award-winning entries prior to the market opening.

If you’re not a SWAIA Member, you will still have an opportunity for a sneak peak by purchasing a ticket for General Preview admission on Friday evening.

#7 – FREE

Besides the Friday Sneak Peek events, Santa Fe’s Indian Market weekend events on Saturday and Sunday are FREE and open to the public.

Stay in Santa Fe

These 7 fascinating facts about the Indian Market in Santa Fe are just the beginning. Come see for yourself why this prestigious event captivates so many. Book your overnight stay at our Inn of the Turquoise Bear bed and breakfast, located just minutes from the Santa Fe Plaza and Indian Market.

Each morning, we’ll treat you to a wonderful breakfast, which you can enjoy at your leisure on the private patio, in our elegant dining room, or in the privacy of your guest room. Come immerse yourself in an iconic Santa Fe experience. Our guest rooms often fill up a year in advance for the Indian Market weekend, so plan and book early.

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