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August 26th, 2004: The Indian Art Market

Last Sunday concluded Santa Fe's Indian Market weekend. Before, during, and after this event, the city of Santa Fe experiences their highest volume of visitors. The market is the city's biggest event, and the state's largest cultural event. For anyone who has never been, it's a sight to behold! Whether you're after a $20 trinket or a $20,000 masterpiece, Santa Fe's Indian Market brings it all together for the world's largest and most successful Native American art show.

This one event has become the catalyst for the Indian Art market in general, and for many artists (as well as dealers), the market will bring them a major portion of their yearly revenue. It truly becomes a "make it or break it" scenario.

We're always excited about Market time because we get to see the artists working busily on their blue-ribbon hopefuls. Only a handful will win the award, but every piece represents the best of the best. At Hopi, both potters and carvers alike are hush-hush for weeks before the show, working on their juried pieces and hoping for good weather for firing, or for the wood to hold up under the knife. Surprisingly, we didn't see any Hopi baskets at the preview night this year. We plan to change that. If you haven't noticed the work of Elene Atokuku (an employee of the gallery), she is is the odds on favorite for the next award-winning basketry coming from Hopi. She represents a younger and more innovative generation of Hopi basket weavers and is very capable of producing singular works in yucca.

The Market also allows us to see old friends and renew old acquaintences - both artists as well as dealers. In some instances, this is the only time we'll see a particular artist - especially those who are well established and whose work is in high demand. Loren Phillips is a good example of this type of situation. Although he only lives a short drive away, we almost never see him except for during the market, and usually then he's already sold out! We were lucky this time to not only catch up with Loren while he still had work available, but we landed his "First Place" Ogre kachina - representing an original work by a master. His career began with McGee's and later escalated after a series of shows and awards, and eventually interviews with NBC Nightly News and Tom Brokaw. Later USA Today spotlighted Loren, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Younger carvers like Arthur Holmes Jr. have literally carved a niche for themselves by working closely with galleries and private collectors right from the start. These artists find it difficult to have time to prepare anything for the market because of high demand and a busy schedule. Still they are on the forefront of the collector market and blazing new trails with exciting works of art. We're delighted to showcase a new piece by Arthur for the first time in many years!

Overall, the Indian Art Market has evolved into an atmosphere of co-operation versus competition, and business owners who understand this have responded accordingly. We find the most satisfying aspects of what we do come from the relationships we've built - both with artists and collectors. We're proud to support the ambitious goals of our artists and we're excited about the innovative new work continually on the horizon. We strive to both preserve and promote the unique cultural heritage of our Southwestern neighbors and friends.

We hope you'll join us for our own gathering of artists and collectors in October. We'll be having another "Evening with the Artists" the night before the Hopi Tuhisma Show. We expect a handful of the more exclusive Hopi artists to be present. Last year, these included Rainy Naha, Steve Lucas, Bo Lomahquahu, Watson Honanie, Jason Takala, and others. We'll be enjoying good food and great company, so be sure to include us in your plans for this Fall. Our open house will be Friday night, October 8th, from 6pm to 8pm. If you would like to know more, send us an email, or call toll free: 1.800.854.1359

With the vast majority of the Hopi people (as well as Natives throughout the Southwest) relying upon arts and crafts as some means of making a living, we hope that interest in the art, history, and culture of these great people will continue to flourish. Come and visit the mesas, attend a show, have your own experience - and let it become a part of you!

See you soon,

The Permanent Rezident

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