The 59th Annual Summer Spanish Market takes place from 8am to 5pm on Saturday, July 24 and 9am to 5pm on Sunday, July 25 on the Santa Fe Plaza.
Each year, Santa Fe celebrates 400 years of Spanish heritage with the annual Spanish Market. While this event has both a summer and a winter incarnation, it is the July event that has the largest attendance. That being said, those who want the culture but not the crowds, should consider returning December 4 and 5 for more leisurely looking, as well as a chance to enjoy the City Different in her holiday attire. Either way, the once-intimate Spanish Market has evolved into the largest exhibition of traditional Hispanic Arts in the United States, and since 2010 celebrates the 400th anniversary of our fair city, the 59th summer market should be muy bueno!
The traditional arts of Spanish New Mexico feature a broad array of materials and methodology, from sweetly simple straw applique to finely-carved and embellished Santos. The artisans of this culturally-rich but economically-poor region have historically used materials that were close at hand, since it was difficult to justify art supplies when resources were so slim. The state’s late entry into the U.S. was a blessing in disguise in terms of retaining the cultural authenticity found in these native crafts.
Spanish Market is a time for dedicated fans to add new items to their collections and for neophytes to receive a comprehensive introduction to the artistic heritage of the region. It also offers the opportunity to speak directly with the artists about their creations, to learn if this is a family tradition or a new artistic adventure, to discover the history of an individual medium, or to simply hear about a local’s favorite place to buy or eat green chile.
Participating artists are required to be of Spanish descent, and many are part of a family tradition that keeps the spark of la herencia alive by teaching the next generation both the artistic process and the respect due to the culture. Young artists have always been a part of Spanish Market, with a section specifically dedicated to emerging artists. The annual judging for Spanish Market includes the choice of one young exhibitor’s work to be used for the Winter Market poster. Buying a piece from one of these eager youngsters is a generous opportunity to support their desire to be part of the heritage with the possible bonus of owning an early work by a future master!
The pool of both emerging and established artists includes those making contemporary pieces, since the event encompasses a Contemporary Hispanic Market, celebrating its 24th appearance as part of the festival. This exhibition takes place on Lincoln Avenue and is a showcase for Hispanic artists with a contemporary bent, showing painting, sculpture, jewelry and pottery.
In recognition of the religious heritage of New Mexico, there is a special Spanish Market Mass, naturally celebrated in Spanish, at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis on Sunday morning at 8:00am. Other unique events include a Friday night members-only preview at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center from 6:00-9:00pm for those who hold membership in the Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts. Other special events include an Emerging Artists Panel Discussion on Tuesday, July 20 from 5:30-6:30pm at the Museum, at which Curator Robin Gavin will talk with young adult artists Rose Leitner, Craig Moya, and Tomas Salazar y Weiler about their lives and their art, concluding with questions from the audience. Also at the Museum, on Wednesday, July 21 from 10:00-11:00am, former Museum Director, William Field, will lead a discussion on how to buy at the market based on his years of experience, useful advice indeed.
If you love art and you love history and you love New Mexico, this weekend will satisfy on all accounts, and of course, as befits any Santa Fe fiesta, there will be food, music and dancing to satisfy those desires too! Hasta la Vista!