Late summer in Santa Fe, NM, is a magical time of year. The light finds a golden balance between the vibrant crispness of summer and the dreamy idleness of fall. Wild sunflowers highlight the roadsides, thunderheads gather across the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in deep purpley hues, and the air itself wraps you in a cool, mothering embrace. It is the time of year when the earth sighs with relief, the scent of roasting chile wafts through the plaza, and 100,000 people converge in the celebration of art and culture at the annual SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market.
This year marked the 96th anniversary of this legendary event, which was created in 1922 and today brings together around 900 artists from over 200 federally recognized Native American and First Nations tribes from the U.S. and Canada. For art collectors and enthusiasts Indian Market is the largest opportunity of its kind in which to meet celebrated artists, as well as witness firsthand the finest Indigenous art to be found in North America.
But for those working within the art community Indian Market is more than an opportunity to sell and buy. It is a homecoming for some, such as Navajo jeweler Fritz Casuse who was this year’s artist in residence at Santa Fe’s prestigious Institute of American Indian Arts and long-time friend to our fearless leader Carolyn Pollack, created of and designer at American West. But, for many more it is a weekend-long reunion. It is chance to connect with old friends and fellow artists whom you have come to know and love as family over the many years of selling and working alongside them. It’s a time to catch up on the gossip, gather inspiration and compare notes, and to see, always with such surprise, how much the children have grown since last year.
Any aficionado will tell you that Indian Market is also one of the best opportunities of the year to show off your Santa Fe style, and one of the best things to do at any given moment is to sit back and people watch. So, with our photographer and American West model Monique in tow, our team took to the streets to showcase our own signature look and take advantage of the opportunity to do a photo shoot during such an iconic event.