and the big event for us, The International Folk Art Market was back!
For those of you unfamiliar with the Folk Art Market, this event has been going on since 2004 on Museum Hill in front of the International Folk Art Museum. When we last visited the market in 2018, there were 152 artists from 54 countries around the world. Each artist either represents themselves or collectives of people making artisan hand crafted goods. They are taught how to market themselves and their work to make a greater impact on their quality of life. The fun part about the market is that/the artists are asked to wear their native dress. Whenever the artist was set up in his/her booths in their dress in the big tents it was always quite the spectacle! The money most of these artists make from the IFAM goes towards makes a big difference for lives in their home communities.
We have been so impressed with the market
that this year we wanted to participate as volunteers. We signed up several months prior to the event and planned our visit to Santa Fe around it. Due to Covid this years’ event was split into two 5 day weekends with two different sets of artists participating during their assigned weekend. 115 artists participate d and 9000 people attended. Shoppers were spread out to two hour time slots in order to lessen the crowd factor. Sadly the international music and performances were limited due to covid as well. Many of the booths were manned by representatives and volunteers as most of the artists could not get entry visas to attend. It was a bit of a letdown compared to previous years.
Our volunteer duty as “Art Valets”—(we held purchases for customers in a safe place while they shopped), was spread across two different days so we were able to see all of the artists booths when we were on breaks.
My Nigerian batik artist friend, Gasali Andeymo was in the first set. While we were in Santa Fe we were able to have lunch with him and visit his small studio at his home on the outskirts of Santa Fe.
Fortunately Gasali’s home was very close to where we were camping on Cerrillos Road so he was able to help us out when we had to pickup our rental car. In the middle of the two weekends my fellow batik artist Munirah Rimer and her partner, Jonathan Ogden also had come to visit the Folk Art Market were able to get together with us and Gasali for dinner. We dined at an award winning Afro-Caribean restaurant in a strip mall on Cerrillos Road known as Jambo Cafe. Kenyan chef/ owner Ahmed Obo creates an interesting mix of African and Caribbean dishes. The restaurant was crowded and service was slow due to a staff shortage,but we enjoyed catching up and talking about art and life—especially batik!
I also enjoyed checking out the thrift stores in hope of finding more cowboy boots I could paint for my charity event. The shipper at the Folk Art Market, Martin Hague of Quick Send was happy to donate his shipping costs in order for me to get the boots back to Naples.
This time I did not have time to explore the galleries on Canyon Road, but I took back happy memories of a different kind—Maybe next year I can volunteer again and join in the fun when life returns to a more normal pattern.