Ali MacGraw, just another red-shirted volunteer.
Last weekend was the 6th annual Santa Fe International Folk Art Market--two days of a bazaar with folk artists from all over the world. It was a VERY hot weekend for Santa Fe (93-94 degrees), and with somewhat reduced tourism and the economic climate, the sponsors were worried that revenues would be down significantly. But head count at the market was actually up nearly 13% over last year, with about 23,000 attendees. And sales were only off a few percentage points. The average artist took home about $13,500, and when you consider that 97% of the artists come from countries where the annual per capita income is less than $750, this is a significant piece of their incomes.
Over 400 applications came in for this year's market, which were winnowed down to 147 using a complicated weighting system. About 21 artists from among those selected were unable to attend due to visa or other issues.
This year for the first time I worked as one of 1,500 volunteers at the market. In an effort to become greener, and also to save money, the market (for the first time) did not sell bottled water. I worked at a water station where we gave away free water (Santa Fe water chilled and filtered on the spot by The Good Water Company) to refill customers' own bottles, or paper cones of water for those who did not have bottles. Lots of customers in that heat!
A first for the market this year: former President Bill Clinton, a folk art fan, commissioned three Folk Art Market artists to make the prizes that will be presented in September to the winners of the Clinton Global Citizen Awards. The award honors individuals and organizations for their contributions to solving global challenges. All three artists — Serge Jolimeau and Michée Ramil Remy of Haiti and Toyin Folorunso of Nigeria — work with recycled metals.