The 'virtual' success of this years' Santa Fe Indian Market
Indian Country Today
For nearly 100 years, the Santa Fe Indian Market has taken over not just downtown and the plaza, but the entire city. Except this year.
This year the pandemic prevents people from gathering in large crowds. The three-day weekend event typically brings in approximately 100,000 people each year and hundreds of artists.
Organizers are taking the market to the virtual world where more than 400 artists will show and sell their art.
(Related: Inaugural Virtual Indian Market kicks off)
Joining us today to talk about the virtual art market is Kim Peone. She is the executive director of the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts.
Also joining us today is Tim Blueflint Ramel, who is a designer, flute maker and artist. He's self-taught and has been making flutes and selling them at Indian Market for six years.
Our reporter Aliyah Chavez is also on the program with the latest primary election coverage of Arizona, Kansas, Michigan and Washington state.
Here are a few of their comments:
"I would have to say that there is nothing but good reports. Truly we expected glitches and things that we would have to work through given that it's all supported by IT pieces but as far as the true North of this which is our artists, they're selling art and that was the whole objective of this. We couldn't be happier."
"We have received testimonies that on the first day that some of our artists experienced sellouts. Those were emotional moments for us because, not only were they happy about it and giving us thank yous for that, but I think at that moment, that's when my team and I was just like, 'Oh my gosh,' and weepy. It wasn't necessarily the same thing of course as the real Indian Market but in reference to the objective of what we were creating that was one of the things that we came away with as a hooray for the team."
Tim Blueflint Ramel:
"Well, you know, typically in a normal year, we would say that it's all so much fun in between setup and take down but because we all love to see our friends and our family and our clients and collectors. That's really the magic of Santa Fe Indian Market, to be able to just spend time with each other and share our stories and share our histories and share our art. And SWAIA has always given us just the best soap box in the world to be able to stand on and proclaim it to the world. And I have to tell you that I was a little bit skeptical about virtual Indian Market. I mean, to start something from absolutely nothing."
"Santa Fe Indian Market, as we know it, we have almost a hundred years of tweaking and changing and moving and I just have to give a shout out to the staff and SWAIA, they've done an amazing job. Part of great leadership is knowing when things are out of your wheelhouse and finding the right partners to work with. And Kim, you've done that. It's been great. Sales are good. It's been a lot of work with deadlines in a different way. That was the other part is bringing people that haven't really been involved in a technical aspect and bringing them to that level. So, like a lot of other artists that might be a little more technical advantaged, I've been spending time with some of my artist friends and helping them with their websites and trying to get them up and running and things like that.'
"It's created this atmosphere of community in a different sense than we've ever had before, where we're really helping each other. We're lifting each other up and in today's time, it's the best thing that could have happened."
"My plan is and was all along, is actually to set up my booth in my home lights do a zoom thing and actually man my booth on the weekend of Indian Market. And that way people can pop in, into a Zoom room and we can talk about things and I'll use my iPad - like I am now - as the wide angle view and then log in with my cell phone as a guest and be able to show pieces as people request and talk about that. It's as close to the normal magic as we can get at this point. But I think that the virtual market is here to stay. I think that it's a new opportunity to reach newer audiences that maybe had thought about coming to the Indian Market but never made the commitment to actually travel to us. And so I think that as the virtual market grows, I think that the regular market, once we get back to that point, is going to just blossom and grow even bigger."
"So truly this was about sustainability for SWAIA. When I came on board as the new executive director, the board of directors had already decided to cancel Indian Market. So from a professional standpoint, what does that mean? And moving forward from an evaluation standpoint, being one who's analytical, looked at that business model and really had to look at it from a perspective of sustainability. Santa Fe Indian Market, when it was canceled, that affected was 90% of the revenue was gone. So as a business woman looking at it from not only an accounting perspective but also from a marketing perspective, operational, what are the IT pieces that I would need to put together to sustain this organization?"
"So it wasn't about trying to put on a three day event, this was about us creating a business model that would help sustain us in the future and really bring us into alignment with our mission statement. This is about bringing arts to the world. Well, how do you do that? You do that through I.T. And so that was the whole vision of this, it's something that can support our artists on an annual basis but more so than that, how do we bring them to the world? This was the pivot that we made to do that."
"The city of Santa Fe is definitely in a place of shaken at this moment. I think that there are lots of municipalities who rely on travel and tourism as the basis of their revenue to enter a moment in time when that travel and tourism has dried up, I think that they're really in a place of looking at their deficit and how are they going to overcome that? Because the business model that they have obviously is not sustainable as well. So I think that in reference to Santa Fe, we've tried to pull them in and around this and we've tried to reach out to many of our partners in this, but reality is that in this moment in time, many organizations are in a shaken and it's how they come out. That's important. And I think SWAIA did that."
"We wanted to create a show that was very similar to what we create at Santa Fe Indian Market and that's just the events that we're bringing to our website. And hopefully from that place, we point them to our true North, which is our artists. So we're having a virtual fashion show. We're having silent auctions, live auctions. We're having a gala in a 3-D platform where we go in as avatars and so we produced 10 Native American avatars, 10 non-Native American avatars. That truly is the platform that we are going to be using for our future, where we can have events in that space."
"It's really unique what we're doing as far as our 3-D world, we call it 'NDN World,' which is Indian world. And then our finale is a concert with Snotty Nose Rez Kids, and they're out of Canada. So there's lots of things for us to be able to share with you guys."
"They're grateful. They're so grateful and it's emotional to me because this was about them. This was about our artists and it was our pleasure to be able to help them out."
"In Arizona, there were seven candidates who won their primaries. Most of those are running for re-election. Some of those winners last night include Jennifer Jermaine in the state house and Jamecita Peshlakai in the state Senate. There were four other races that are still being decided there. One of those races is Gabriela Casarez-Kelly, who is a Tohono O'Odham woman running for Pima County recorder. The other is a candidate running for a spot on a school board in Flagstaff, Arizona,."
"The big highlight of the night, however, came from Kansas. The candidates there were all women and they were four for four on Tuesday night, all of them won their primary elections and will be advancing to November's general election. The big story of the night came from 26 year old Christina Haswood of the Navajo Nation. She went into election night facing two opponents and was hoping to win her democratic primary election, which she did. But the exciting part is that no Republican filed to run against her. So she is the presumptive winner of an open state house seat in Kansas. After being elected in November, Haswood will become Kansas' youngest sitting legislator. She won her race with 70% of the vote in her first ever run for office. She told me last night that the election felt surreal and that she was really grateful to her team and supporting her run for office. Earlier this morning on Wednesday morning, Navajo Nation President Johnathan Nez weighed in on her big victory saying, quote, 'Change is happening with this election and Christina Haswood is part of that change. I am very proud of her and all that she has accomplished to this point. She is truly an inspiration to our people, especially our young people.'"
"Also in Kansas, we had representative Sharice Davids, who is seeking a second term in Congress. She didn't face any opponents in her primary election but she did find out who she will run against in November. Amanda Adkins, who is the former chairwoman for the Kansas Republican party will be her opponent. I had the opportunity to talk with Representative Davids on Tuesday and we talked about her experience campaigning in the pandemic but also talked about Native representation in politics. I shared with her that I've been covering the elections of every Native candidate across the country. And she told me she was quite excited to learn about the Native people running for office. The next race that I'll be watching will happen on Saturday, August 8th."
"We had one Native candidate running for county commission and that race hasn't been called yet. Sometimes those smaller races sort of take a little bit longer, especially if it's a mail-in-ballot, something that we're completely expecting in this election cycle. So we're not quite sure the outcome of what happened in Michigan yet. The other candidates running in Washington were quite interesting. We had Glenda Breiler, who's running for Washington state house. That was a race that hasn't been called yet. She's a first time candidate as well. We also had another candidate who was running for re-election in the Washington state Supreme Court. Her name is Raquel Montoya-Lewis and she won her primary election last night. So she's well on her way to being re-elected in Washington."
"In August it's going to be a really, really big month for Native candidates. The last that I checked there was more than 60 candidates who have primaries in August. So many candidates to follow. Our entire team is covering the elections happening on Saturday and then next week, Tuesday, we jump right back into Minnesota where we're going to be following some more candidates. As of right now, we're only aware of seven Native candidates in Minnesota. So if anyone out there is listening, if you know of any Native person running for public office in Minnesota, please reach out to us. We're very, very happy to learn of any Native person running for public office there."
"If you have to run for office, somebody has to vote for you, we want to know about it. So I've covered some really great races. I've covered a handful of city council races. One of those in Arizona, where the city of Tempe actually had the first ever a Native person elected to their city council. Wse're also following school boards. There's been a handful of people running for school boards that I've covered before. That's something that I talked about with representative Davids. She said she encouraged anyone, if they're thinking about running for office to really consider it, regardless of how big or small the office may be."
Also in the newscast, Carina Dominguez has the latest numbers of positive COVID-19 tests in Indian Country.
The anchor and executive producer of the newscast is Patty Talahongva.