Santa Fe International Folk Art Market

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Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action


Expanding Market Access for World Folk Artists

The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market joined the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in 2009 and was one of only 100 non-profits to be selected to attend the annual meeting in New York that year.

At the meeting, heads of state, government and business leaders, scholars, and NGO directors worked together to analyze, discuss, and debate possible solutions to urgent global issues.  Each participant was asked to take action on one or more issues by making a Commitment to Action to address global challenges in the areas of economic development, global health, education, energy, and climate change.


President Bill Clinton with former Folk Art Market Executive Director Charlene Cerny (Photo Courtesy of the Clinton Global Initiative)

The Folk Art Market’s Commitment

Based on a proven cultural enterprise model, the Market’s commitment to action is to expand market access for world folk artists resulting in increased economic independence, dignified and sustainable livelihoods, and the preservation of valuable cultural traditions for 60,370 artists and members of artisan cooperatives and an estimated 600,370 community members.*

The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market commits to work in collaboration with master folk artists from more than 55 countries to create at least one new major international folk art market event, to be launched sometime after 2014, that draws upon the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market’s innovative cultural enterprise model, which presents a new paradigm for international development, economic empowerment and poverty alleviation.

In order to provide new markets for the artists’ work, the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market will work with strategic partners to connect women’s cooperatives and other market-ready producers who have sufficient capacity with appropriate catalogue, internet, and large specialty retailers.

A major component of the commitment is a new, improved training program that will prepare folk artists to succeed in the global marketplace through skill-building, leadership development, financial literacy, enterprise development, the use of new media and the cultivation of human capital through cultural exchange.

Building on our Success

Over the next five years (2009-2014), the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market plans to build its support for folk artists’ entrepreneurial success, strengthen the current organizational business model, and increase the scope of its operations through expansion and strategic partnerships. This Commitment to Action at the Clinton Global Initiative will enable the organization to build this model for success and economic empowerment for folk artists worldwide.

This will be a five-year commitment involving multiple stages of development.  One of the first tasks will be to form an Artists’ Council in order to solicit the input and involvement of key constituents in the development of a new market event and to review new marketing strategies to expand market access.  The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market will also add an online artist community to its website to facilitate communication and increase access to resources.

In the first year, Santa Fe International Folk Art Market will also research other potential locations for the new market event and identify strategic partners who will help create and fund it.  With the help of a partner who can provide in-kind services, the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market will also create an international business plan to scale up the organization and accommodate growth.

In the subsequent years the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market will continue to pursue plans with partners and artists for the new Market event. In addition, the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market will engage strategic partners to assist in the implementation of other market access strategies. Work during this period will also focus on researching new training resources, developing new modules for the artist training program and identifying partners, both for funding and implementation.

As an integral part of this commitment, the Market will work with partners to optimize profits for folk artists by helping them participate in new markets, and facilitating new market access for their work. The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market will work to improve its training program so that it better meets the needs of artists and helps them advance their business enterprises.

Countries Involved to Date

Afghanistan, Algeria, Bolivia, Cambodia, Cameroon, Ecuador, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, India, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Madagascar, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Puerto Rico, Namibia, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestinian Territories, Peru, Rwanda, So. Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tibet, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Zambia, and Zimbabwe

*Number adjusted in February 2013 to reflect the change in plan for producing a new 2nd Market (will not be accomplished in 2013).



The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, a non-profit organization, produces the largest international folk art market in the world, and our success led to Santa Fe’s designation as a UNESCO City of Folk Art.