Santa Fe International Folk Art Market

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June 26, 2011
Members of the Professional Women’s Club Belizean Grove to Mentor Artists from the Maket

As part of its Clinton Global Initiative commitment to help artists support themselves through their work, the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market launches an innovative new business-training program

Contact: Clare Hertel


imageCatherine Allen

Santa Fe, N.M. – Catherine Allen is an Uber-CEO with a long history in banking, consulting and strategic planning.  Janet Nkubana is a basket-weaver from a village in Rwanda. But, Nkubana and Allen have more in common than you might think. Both are creative entrepreneurs, who understand that a person is only as strong as her community.

Allen and Nkubana will come together on July 6, 2011 for a day of professional hobnobbing as part of the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market’s annual Artists’ Training Program, which teaches business skills to folk artists in order to help them promote and sell their work more effectively. This year, some of the most successful and savvy women in the United States will be on-hand to share their expertise with some of the world’s most talented craftspeople. These women are members of Belizean Grove, an eclectic, all-female network of business leaders, artists, academics, scientists and politicians. Part of the group’s mission-and passion-is to support up-and-coming businesswomen. So, Grove member Catherine Allen suggested her hometown folk market as a perfect place to expand their endeavors. In no time, she had about two dozen fellow “Grovers” signed on, and thus Mentor to Market was born, a pilot offshoot of the Artists’ Training Program. 

Twenty of the Market’s most experienced artisans and artist collectives-including Janet Nkubana’s basket-weaving co-op, Gahaya Links-were selected for this one-day-only, intensive training program, designed to help traditional artists take their businesses to the next level. Belizean Grove members (see the list below: a veritable “who’s who” of accomplished women) will lead panel discussions, “speed-marketing” sessions and one-on-one consultations on everything from shipping to tweaking product designs to appeal to a larger global market. “These artists have already built sustainable lives for themselves through their craft,” says Allen, “they’re ready for the next step.”

To help artisans who are just starting out, on the other hand, Mentor to Market will also offer the services of writers and photographers who will chronicle the day-to-day activities of a select group of artists making their debut at the Market. Before they leave Santa Fe, the artists will be given a personalized “marketing kit” of photos, a bio, quotes, and a finished brochure. “The idea is to help them think about how they market their work,” says Allen.

Another new development: for the first time, the Folk Art Market will have a pavilion at the Dallas Market Center’s Total Home & Gift Market, held June 23-26. This is one of the biggest wholesale shows of its kind and will offer well-established, Market-bound artisans an opportunity to meet directly with buyers from around the United States. The Dallas show is the Market’s A.P. course of sorts, designed for artists, who are ready to establish long-term relationships with buyers for year-round sales.

The Market’s training programs represent the Market’s longtime commitment to support the livelihoods of international artists, to build their business capacity and to preserve traditional crafts and culture. As it does every year, the Folk Art Market will also offer workshops for first-time Market participants, who are new to selling their products away from home. They will learn basic marketing skills such as pricing, telling their story and creatively displaying their work, as well as have the opportunity to exchange information and ideas with alumni Market artists.

The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, as exemplified by its Artists’ Training Program, is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, which is dedicated to the health and economic empowerment of people in developing nations.

For more information, please contact Clare Hertel at Clare Hertel Communications, or 505-474-6783.

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.