Sunday, August 22, 2010

August Getaway Itinerary - Santa Fe Indian Market

The first half of this Indian Country itinerary took us from Phoenix to Gallup with a side trip to Zuni. This article, the second part of the itinerary, describes Indian Market week in Santa Fe.

Leaving Gallup on a beautiful Sunday, I drove three hours, through Albuquerque, to central Santa Fe. If you are going to truly enjoy Indian Market, make a reservation in downtown Santa Fe or at a hotel that has shuttle service to Indian Market activities. Another idea, if you plan ahead is to rent a home with Vacation Rentals by owner. Fortunately I have friends within walking distance of the historic Plaza and was able to stay with them for the entire week.

Enjoying Santa Fe

Early in the week, we checked out the exhibitions at the various museums. We stopped in to see the Silver Seduction exhibit at the Folk Art Museum. Also on Museum Hill you can enjoy the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art (a surprisingly small, but nice museum), the Wheelright Musuem (best gift shop)  and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.

Early in the week, is a good time to sample the wonderful restaurants of Santa Fe. When the crowds arrive, it will be hard to get a reservation or a table.

Gallery Openings
Be sure and pick up one of the many Indian Market guides available free throughout Santa Fe. Look for the gallery openings. The openings are an opportunity to see world-class art, meet artists and enjoy some refreshments. Through my presence on Facebook and Twitter, I was invited to a studio open house at the Upper Canyon Road studio of Michael Roanhorse and Mateo Romero (Cochiti). It was there that I learned about Michael's collaborative efforts with Tony Abeyta. Tony is primarily a painter and is now producing a fascinating line of jewelry. Michael Roanhorse is an jewelry artist and is beginning to offer paintings.

At this small gathering I was able to get to know both artists and chat with some of their collectors. I met a fascinating woman named Linda who shares my love of Native American culture and art as well as my interest in Mexican and Central American folk art.

One thing led to another and we found ourselves attending a fund-raiser for Roanhorse for the Cure at La Fonda's beautiful Terraza and more trips to see artists and their work at Blue Rain Gallery.

At Packard's on the Plaza we ran in to Palm Springs artist, Darryl Edwards and an eager group of customers trying on his creative jewelry line (pictured at right).

Both Thursday night and Friday nights Manitou Gallery offered wine and Mariachi Music on their second story balcony. Thursday there was ample seating and we were able to chat with two Navajo women, one a well-known weaver and the other a jewelry maker.

As the week progressed the gallery openings became more prevalent and we ended up having to make a schedule so we were able to attend the parties that were most interesing to us.

Shopping and Enjoying
As the artists and shop representatives arrived in town, there were some that opened early in the week. We visited Silver Rain Jewelry from Albuquerque. They had set up in the Hilton Hotel. By Thursday, the vendors at El Dorado hotel, across the street had filled all the conference rooms and ballrooms. There was so much to see, that we were glad that they had opened early so that shopping there did not conflict with our time at the Saturday/Sunday Indian Market.

Vendors began to set up on side streets (there were not related to the SWAIA artists) and my friend purchased a strand of vintage green turquoise to use in a necklace. We also noticed that the Navajo Arts and Crafts Enterprise was set up outside the Hilton Hotel.

Indian Market
After a week of museums, gallery openings and shopping, you may already be overwhelmed with the Santa Fe experience. But, the best is yet to come on Saturday and Sunday.

Friday night the streets fill with visitors, workers putting up tents and vendors getting ready for their big weekend. By early morning on Saturday the streets literally bustle with pickup trucks, vendors rolling carts and helpers setting up the artists' booths.

Saturday morning dawns and the early shopper at Indian Market (you can go as early as you want but the first purchases cannot be made until 7am) will find the most highly collectible treasures. Some of the top artists sell out during this early-morning frenzy.

Early morning is a great time for everyone to shop. It is cool, most of the tourists are still having their first coffee, and you'll have a great selection. Tip: If you see something you like, purchase it. It may not be there later in the day!

Seeing Indian Market
It's all a bit overwhelming. If you have favorite artists, use the Indian Market guide to find out where their booths are and write the booth numbers down.

Otherwise, just start walking the Plaza and side streets and enjoy the art and artists. You'll find presentations and music in the Plaza at the bandstand. There are several food courts.

Tip: If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle, consider lunch at the Hilton Hotel. The restaurant has a soup and salad bar, with hand-carved meats and chili soups. It usually is not crowded, the dining room is cool and restful, and the food is excellent. We had lunch with author, Paula Baxter, and compared notes on shopping and collectible jewelry.

Indian Market is best seen in two days. Some say that by Sunday afternoon shoppers can find some bargains.

Indian Market Alternatives
Not everyone loves Native American jewelry and pottery as much as we do. But never fear, there is plenty going on to suit other interests. How about a Native American film festival... or skateboarding contest? Those events were going on as well. There is usually music in the Plaza and a full schedule of Santa Fe events that weekend as well.

Comments, Questions and Suggestions Welcomed
We would love to hear about your Gallup, Zuni and Santa Fe experiences and welcome suggestions and questions. Just leave a comment here.
More Information:
Native American Art and Jewelry on Examiner.com
SWAIA Website
Santa Fe Hotels