Friends: After the overwhelming experience of these past couple of days, it isn’t easy to observe the polite limits expected of dinner-table speakers. There’s so much to say. Even a first-timer like me becomes quickly aware that Santa Fe is no ordinary place. It’s not just the global reputation of this Folk Art Market. There’s something else about this place --- the vistas, the sky, the quality here of light and wind. Santa Fe engulfs even a fleeting visitor, with its memories and ancient wisdom.
I am told that the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market is the largest in the world, that the sales turnover here is fantastic. I hear impressive numbers of participating artisans, countries and visitors. I learn that artisans return home after two days of sales with money in their pockets that corresponds to months or years of earnings at home ---- $15,000 on the average last year. Wow! The statistics can go on --- and they should. We live in a world where things measured in numbers command the most notice. Yet these past hours make me wonder whether the impressive statistics really tell the full story, or truly reflect the value of this Market. But if not numbers, what then is the true measure of the Folk Art Market? Let me attempt an answer.
Numbers do not tell us that, perhaps for the first time anywhere in the world, the Santa Fe Market seems to deliver a genuine and lasting status for the invited folk artist/artisan/craftsperson ---- call her what you will, the labels are unimportant. So many of us strive toward this goal but we seldom accomplish it. You seem to have succeeded, and I hope to learn how. I have noticed over these couple of days that at Santa Fe the artisans are the VIPs. They are truly at the center of everything, not as mere ‘beneficiaries’ but as celebrities. Your planning seems to begin at where they are and what they need, seen from their perspective. Folk artists here are not fitted into someone else’s grand scheme. They<...>
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