Santa Fe Indian Market 2017

The post was first published in 2012. It’s been updated for Indian Market 2017.

What’s the busiest weekend in Santa Fe each year? It’s the August weekend that brings Santa Fe Indian Market to town. Art lovers and collectors from all over the world will attend Santa Fe Indian Market 2017 on Saturday, August 19th and Sunday, August 20th in and around the historic Plaza. The juried show, put on by SWAIA (Southwest Association for Indian Arts), attracts some of the best Native American artists and artisans in the country. Participants represent a wide-range of traditional and contemporary styles and mediums. Over 100,000 people are expected to attend the market.

Kicking off with a Friday preview

Santa Fe Indian Market 2017 - Art of Terrol Dew Johnson, Tohono O'odham, photo Steve Collins

Art of Tohono O’odham artist Terrol Dew Johnson,, photo Steve Collins

Santa Fe Indian Market’s Friday Preview attracts serious collectors, museums, gallery and shop owners and the merely curious. Earlier that day, the artists present their best pieces (one from each artist) for judging. Each category is judged and ribbons awarded. There is also a prize for Best of Show. The Preview allows gives attendees the opportunity to scope out the artists and their wares and formulate a strategy for the next day. The prize-winning pieces are often the first to be sold at 7am Saturday morning when Santa Fe Indian Market opens. No sales are allowed in advance. This is such serious business for some that they camp out all night at the artists’ booths or even pay someone to do it for them.

Serious collectors arrive early

Santa Fe Indian Market 2017 - Ledger artist Sheridan McKnight at the 2009 Santa Fe Indian Market, photo Billie Frank

Ledger artist Sheridan McKnight at the 2009 Santa Fe Indian Market, photo Billie Frank

Well-known artists can sell out very quickly. Their booths will be taken over by someone on the waiting list. Prices at the market can be high; after all, these are some of the best Indian artists and artisans in the world. There are also affordable pieces to be found.  Or treat the Santa Fe Indian Market as a museum and look at the art. You’ll see some the best Native American work on the Planet. The artists are present at their booths and you can meet them and ask questions about their work.

The market runs from 7am to 5pm on Saturday and from 8am to 5pm on Sunday. There’s entertainment, food booths (some offering Native American treats) and great people-watching.

Some Santa Fe Indian Market tips

Santa Fe Indian Market Food vendors photo Steve Collins

You can buy Native American taste treats in the food area photo/Steve Collins

  • For hotels and restaurants, this is the busiest weekend of the year.  Hotels often book up a year in advance.  Popular restaurants can book up a few months prior to the weekend. If you didn’t make reservations in advance, there will still be somewhere great for you to eat. Be prepared to wait. Try restaurants away from the downtown area, they may have shorter waits.Traffic can be congested and parking is at a premium. If you stay at a hotel or motel that offers shuttle service, take advantage of it.
  • To avoid crowds, traffic and get the best shot at parking, go first thing Saturday morning.
  • It can rain in the afternoons, so be prepared.

There are some great art events that run the weekend before Santa Fe Indian and during the entire week leading up to it and concurrently. We’ll have some on Tidbits this week as well as in a special post on Thursday.

Santa Fe Indian Market Taos Pueblo's Robert Mirabal photo Steve Collins

Billie talking to Taos Pueblo artist, musician and flute-maker Robert Mirabal photo/Steve Collins

Santa Fe Indian Market 2017 (and the week preceding it) is a wonderful and vibrant time to be in Santa Fe. If you don’t come this year, put the Santa Fe Indian Market on your schedule for next summer. See you at the Plaza!

Here’s a complete list of SWAIA’s Santa Fe Indian Market 2017 events.

Are you planning to attend Santa Fe Indian Market 2017?

If you need assistance planning your Santa Fe Indian Market visit (or any other visit to Santa Fe) contact The Santa Fe Traveler.

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