Santa Fe Indian Market finds partner for virtual market

By Teya Vitu [email protected]

The 2020 Virtual Santa Fe Indian Market has found an online home with Artspan, a website that hosts artist websites and enables artists to create websites to sell their art.

The virtual market starts Aug. 1 and will remain on Artspan indefinitely.

Artspan hosts the website of some 3,500 artists, including 91 artists from New Mexico. This is the first time the website has brought in an entire market with, so far, 400 Indian Market artists likely to appear in the virtual market, organizers said.

The Indian Market has 1,017 juried artists, and the goal is to get at least 500 involved in the virtual market, said Kim Peone, executive director of the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts, which stages the Indian Market.

“This is where our artists will be featured in their virtual booths,” she said.

Peone became executive director April 15, 11 days after SWAIA canceled the live Indian Market that was scheduled for Aug. 15-16 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Talk immediately circled to a virtual market. Peone partnered with the Clark Hulings Fund for Visual Artists, which recruited Artspan. The Clark Hulings Fund will help artists with digital marketing. Peone said she believe shoppers will be able to access the virtual market via the SWAIA website — — or at Artspan.

Artspan founder and Director Eric Sparre will create a specific Native art section on his website where the Virtual Santa Fe Indian Market will appear. But other Native artists can create websites and sell art.

“The websites are very easy to set up,” Sparre said. “SWAIA is doing a lot of the work on behalf of artists. They are doing a lot of the heavy lifting.”

SWAIA on Wednesday had a webinar for artists to get them ready for Artspan.

“We had a large live training we are doing for artists, the step-by-step process of building a website,” Peone said. “We’re going to record, so artists can watch it later, too.”

Sparre said each artist will have his or her own website at Artspan and also be integrated within the Native American Art marketplace, where the Santa Fe Indian Market will have a landing page.

“I love the idea,” Sparre said about hosting the virtual Indian Market. “It’s a community that need this type of presence, particularly at a time like this.”

The Virtual Indian Market will be live at from Aug. 1-31. Along with access to artists’ work, there will be a Native American clothing contest and a reimagined awards program. “SWAIA’s goals are both immediate and long term,” Peone said. “Our first objective is to launch a solution-based platform to meet the economic needs of our artists. Longer-term goals will position SWAIA as a technology leader and innovator, able to offer increased services and support to Native artists.”

Reprinted from The Santa Fe New Mexican.

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