Santa Fe International Folk Art Market

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February 9, 2013
The Work of Art: Folk Artists in the 21st Century By Award-Winning Arts & Culture Writer, Carmella Padilla


The Work of Art invites readers to understand and invest in the living legacy of folk art as a way to participate in the human story of the handmade––and to make a meaningful impact on lives worldwide.

April 29, 2013Santa Fe, New Mexico—The Work of Art by Carmella Padilla (Available July, 2013) examines the role of folk artists in the twenty-first century, recognizing their power as creative and socially responsible champions for global change, connection, and cultural sustainability. Through interviews with folk artists from Mali to Madagascar to Cuba, Peru, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and beyond, Padilla introduces us to individuals and communities who are using their handmade traditions to overcome poverty, gender inequity, environmental degradation, ethnic conflict, and limited opportunities for political, educational, and social advancement. We also hear from influential folk art advocates and entrepreneurs on how to create a viable international folk art marketplace and involve modern consumers in maintaining the world’s living traditions and the cultures they represent.

“I believe that art is the soul of culture and is something precious that must be preserved. The Work of Art carries this message so poignantly. Art is the essence of everything. Art is the answer.”
—Donna Karan, founder, Donna Karan International, Urban Zen Foundation

At the heart of this story is the work of the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which, since its inception in 2004, has become a major force in the personal and economic empowerment of more than a million international folk artists and their communities. Thanks to the success of the Market and other supporters in the global marketplace, the work of art in traditional communities is today, more than ever, the work of living: generating resources for building schools, funding healthcare, protecting indigenous landscapes, and offering vital livelihoods that preserve skills that have been learned and practiced for generations. The book celebrates the extraordinary achievement of the International Folk Art Market as a profound point of connection, education, and exchange for folk artists and consumers, as well as an inspirational model for other markets the world over.

“This beautiful book tells the story of the bold vision and hope of the International Folk Art Market—to bring the importance of artisan work into the light . . . the Market leads the way in recognition of this critical sector.”             —Peggy Clark, Vice President, Aspen Institute, Director, The Alliance for Artisan Enterprise 

With nearly 200 photographs of folk artists and their creations, including a gallery of images of folk art masterworks, The Work of Art is an elegant and thoughtful examination of folk art and artists that emphasizes its relevance for all who value ideals of beauty, history, diversity, and community. An informative and hopeful call to action, The Work of Art invites readers to understand and invest in the living legacy of folk art as a way to participate in the human story of the handmade––and to make a meaningful impact on lives worldwide.

“This exceptional book stands as a witness to that glorious hope––it is a must for everyone who longs for sanity and love and beauty in our much-beleaguered world.”
—Ali MacGraw, actor, activist, and longtime International  Folk Art Market volunteer

The Work of Art: Folk Artists in the 21st Century will be available at the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe, July 12-14, 2013, and online at The cloth edition of the title is $60 and the paperback edition is $29.95. See for a complete list of upcoming author signings and additional places to purchase the book.

About the Author: Carmella Padilla is a Santa Fe-based author and journalist who writes extensively about intersections in art, culture, and history in New Mexico and beyond. Her articles have been published in the Wall Street Journal, Dallas Morning News, American Craft, Travel Holiday, Latina and elsewhere. Her books include El Rancho de las Golondrinas: Living History in New Mexico’s La Cíenega Valley; Low ‘n Slow: Lowriding in New Mexico; The Chile Chronicles: Tales of a New Mexico Harvest (all with photographer Jack Parsons); and Conexiones: Connections in Spanish Colonial Art (with Donna Pierce). Padilla, who helped launch the International Folk Art Market in 2004, is a recipient of the Santa Fe Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Literary Arts and the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the state’s highest artistic honor.

For more photos or to schedule an interview with Carmella Padilla, please contact Clare Hertel at, 505-474-6783.

THE WORK OF ART: Folk Artists in the 21st Century
by Carmella Padilla
Introduction by Indrasen Vencatachellum
Gallery photography by John Bigelow Taylor
Principal International Folk Art Market Photography by Judith Cooper Haden, David Moore and Bob Smith
264 pages, 160 images
Published by IFAA Media
Distributed by the Museum of New Mexico Press*


More Advanced Praise for The Work of Art: Folk Artists in the 21st Century

“This global panorama of the contemporary folk arts scene celebrates the astounding diversity and vitality of traditional art forms in this era of globalization and high-tech. It is also a moving tribute to the achievements of the International Folk Art Market . . . [It] will inform and delight specialists as well as the general public.”
            —Francesco Bandarin, Assistant Director-General for Culture, UNESCO

“The resonant message of The Work of Art, a compelling tribute to modern-day folk artists, is the vital and timely need to support the beauty, history, and social opportunity of folk art. It is also the mission of the International Folk Art Market, whose broad global implications include the empowerment of women, education, social justice, and improved quality of life, especially in developing economies. The Work of Art deepens those connections and inspires us to strengthen our commitment to the art and cultural sustainability of the world’s folk artists.”
            —Valerie Plame Wilson, author, Fair Game, and Former US Ambassador Joseph Wilson

“The International Folk Art Market is a big idea that deserves a lasting record of its inception and maturation into a remarkable global marketplace. In this book, Padilla captures the essence of the Market’s vision of an artist-centered enterprise and its inspiring impact on folk artists’ lives. . . . [She] gives the reader a close-up look into the complex issues that folk artists face at home . . . and alerts us about what we, as folk art aficionados and consumers, can do to encourage and support the vitality of these irreplaceable arts.”
            —Marsha Bol, director, Museum of International Folk Art

“For a decade now, the International Folk Art Market has brought the world’s finest folk artists to Santa Fe. The Work of Art is a celebration of those unique artists, of the cultural diversity that enriches our community, and the living traditions of art that inspire us.”
—US Senator Tom Udall

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.