One of my favorite “close to home” international expeditions is the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market (IFAM).
Every July IFAM brings the very best folk artists from around the world to my hometown, Santa Fe, New Mexico. This year, 162 artists from 52 countries were chosen from hundreds of applicants.
It’s the biggest event of its kind in the world. The Market will run from July 6-9 this year.
Walking through the aisles is like walking directly through a series of doorways that transport you into distant parts of the world. Nowhere else brings together this big a collection of the finest authentic folk art from internationally renowned master artists.
You can visit many countries in a single day. And talk to the artists who created the masterpieces spread out before you.
Or, you can focus on one region. When I visit, I have to visit the Silk Road countries of Central Asia to connect with our HoonArts artists, explore new artists from the region, and immerse myself in the magic of the Silk Road experience.
I created this little video that captures some of that Silk Road magic from my previous trips to the Folk Art Market.
And if you want an even deeper experience of connection and cultural understanding, you can volunteer at IFAM. My favorite volunteer spot is as an “artist’s assistant” in the booth of one of the artists I work with at HoonArts, like Aziz Murtazaev, a master ikat weaver from Uzbekistan who is returning to Santa Fe this year.
As one 2022 volunteer put it,
“Talking directly with the artists helps to see how much we are all alike in our needs, wants, and our love of family and community. It also helps to appreciate the hard work that the artists do to make their creativity into something that is viable and beautiful.”
If you want to volunteer, visit the IFAM website volunteer page.
This year, skip the hassle and plan your international bucket list trip to Santa Fe. No visa required! But make your plans now, because the world descends on Santa Fe in July. Albuquerque is only an hour away, so that’s a good choice if the hotels in Santa Fe are full.
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