Poeh Cultural Center Announces Indian Market Alternative

Late August market to include 500 booths, live music, more

With the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts announcing in April that 2021′s Indian Market will be an in-person and ticketed event, concerns and wild speculation have run rampant throughout Santa Fe and the broader Indigenous arts world. How will entry work? Will there be enough room for artists given social distancing guidelines? How does what essentially amounts to a charged admission to the Plaza work exactly?

Hard to say just yet, but Pojoaque Pueblo’s Poeh Cultural Center Executive Director Karl Duncan (Three Affiliated Tribes) tells SFR his organization will host a weekend market August 20, 21 and 22 (the same days as Indian Market this year) in an attempt to help some of the artists itching to show and sell following 2020′s challenges.

“We definitely just want to support artists during this time and because of this past year,” Duncan says. “We’ve been doing what we can to help throughout this last year, and this is what they need right now.”

The inaugural Pathways Native Arts Festival will boast 500 booths inside and outside the Hilton Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino. Indoor booths, which number 300 and will be spread across the hotel’s ballrooms, come with a $250 fee for artists; the 200 outdoor booths will be free for accepted applicants.

“We saw the changes that were happening with [Indian Market] and the needs artists were faced with,” Duncan says. “We’re hoping to solve that.”

Pathways has received roughly 100 applications from mostly New Mexico artists, according to Duncan—who says heavy hitters like Cochiti Pueblo ceramicist Diego Romero and Santa Clara Pueblo multi-media artist Roxanne Swentzell have already signed on—but some applications have rolled in from Oklahoma and the Great Lakes area as well.

Applications can be filled out online (available here), and Poeh staff and arts instructors will make the final decisions collaboratively, Duncan says.

Admission to the event is free and reportedly includes live music, access to food trucks and other elements, such as youth activities, but Duncan says he’s still negotiating with food vendors, musicians and others. Mask-wearing mandates will be enforced, as will social distancing, though Duncan is confident Buffalo Thunder’s massive scale will make it easy.

Meanwhile, back downtown, Indian Market is still a go, though at a slightly reduced number of booths than in previous years. Ticketing and timed entry specifics have not been made clear yet. Additionally, the annual Free Indian Market at the Scottish Rite Temple is reportedly still a go with founder Gregory Schaaf recently posting to the event’s Facebook page that “100% of Free Indian Market artists have been vaccinated.”

Fledgling market We are the Seeds will not be in Santa Fe this summer, though founder Tailinh Agoyo tells SFR the organization will host an exhibition at form & concept gallery starting August 11 and running through October 16.

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