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What’s so important about Indian Market?

© Carolyn Bernard Young, Lilac Fusion, 20 x 6 x 1″, stoneware, slips, sgraffito, poplar


The 3rd weekend in August every year, Santa Fe is overtaken with more than a 1000 Native American artists, offering traditional and contemporary artwork for sale.

So What?

You may wonder why this is important – what makes it different from any other art show or festival? It is the largest and most prestigious juried art show for Native American artists. Thousands of artists apply, and must provide proof of tribal membership along with high quality photos of their work. The process can take 4 months and there is a lot of nail biting while we wait to hear. It is an honor and a privilege to be accepted.

But Why Does it Matter?

© Carolyn Bernard Young, A Passion for Teaching, 27 x 5.5 x 1″, stoneware, slips, acrylic, poplar

Indian Market attracts 150,000 people to Santa Fe every year. It’s an opportunity to show our work to people who appreciate traditional Indian art and those who want to see what’s new in contemporary Native American art. It gives us a chance to meet face to face with buyers, collectors, and gallery owners seeking to acquire high quality art. The stories, the laughter, the appreciation for what we do – it’s simply glorious!

Is it Hard?

Yes! We work all year to have a body of work that we are proud to share. Travel, hotels, booth fees, booth fixtures all add up to a $1,000 or more before we even get started. Set up starts at 4:30 am on Saturday, for a 7 am opening. The Friday night preview party allows patrons to see art entries the day before so customers are lined up at their favorite booth to get first choice on Saturday morning.

And Finally…

Because it’s how we make our living. Making art full-time is a major commitment. We are fortunate – and profoundly grateful – to be able to do what we love – but still, it’s a business for us.

Come See Me

If you’re coming to Indian Market this year, I hope you’ll come find me on Lincoln Street, Booth 769 LinE. And please – don’t forget to have fun!

Find out more, and get a list of participating artists, at www.swaia.org.

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  1. Hi Carolyn,

    Congratulations upon showing at Indian Market! I am so in love with your totem stick “a Passing for Teaching”. It is beautiful. I was wondering if you used the color purple in a totem stick, what would that represent?

    We had your work at our gallery but much to my surprise it was slow moving. I really wanted it to do well. I am thinking that perhaps the Totem stick might do well but I would have to ask Lisa. As for the question I asked, it is a personal one. I love the color purple and a Totem Stick would look fantastic in my purple living room. The red would probably work too. Are these usually one of a kind or do you make multiples?

  2. Another comment: Actually I have studied Shamanism and have a spirit animal that I would love to represent in a totem stick. Can you make these as a commission?

    Correction above: A Passion for Teaching….

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