The innovative business development programs, now in their fourteenth year, respond to the needs of master folk artists as they navigate the challenges of the new global marketplace

Santa Fe, New Mexico—As part of its ongoing mission to promote the global artist economy through education and sustainable business development, the International Folk Art Market (IFAM) is continuing to grow its Mentor to Market (M2M) programs, providing master folk artists with opportunities to develop their businesses and navigate the global marketplace while preserving their artistic and cultural traditions.

With the International Folk Art Market Santa Fe now in its fifteenth year, and the Mentor to Market program in its fourteenth year, one thing is clear: To nourish the unparalleled talent of folk artists around the world, these artists—many of whom live in developing countries where the average person gets by on less than $3.10 a day—need more markets, more capacity building, and more opportunities to participate in the formal economy. For this reason, M2M programs provide artists with critical tools and training as well as ways to connect with the rest of the world.

“Craft is the second largest income generator in the developing world, but the barriers faced are many,” says Jeff Snell, IFAM’s CEO. “We’re deeply committed to helping them meet those challenges in a number of ways. If we can offer programs that teach how to better navigate the demands of selling work in the global marketplace, they become vibrant cultural entrepreneurs who can leverage their art to create economic and social value both for themselves and for their entire communities.”

Through varied curricula, including artist-to-artist teaching, a mentor program, and a partnership with the Dallas Market Center, M2M provides master folk artists with the opportunity to build their businesses through export guidance, sales tips, and classes on pricing, merchandising, and more. The mentors who participate include prominent industry professionals, and the M2M programs have received financial support from BNY Mellon, UNESCO, the Kellogg Foundation, Eileen Fisher, and others.

Over the years, more than 900 artists from over 60 countries have received invaluable training. Through the M2M programs, as well as participation in the Market itself, artists develop the skills to improve their businesses, build assets, and gain economic security for themselves, their families, and their communities. They also acquire the confidence to be successful in the global marketplace and become their own powerful agents of change. M2M supports artists across four main tracks:

  1. ‘WELCOME TO THE SANTA FE MARKETPROGRAM
    Because the Santa Fe Market is often their first global marketplace experience, artists in this program are provided with education on booth display, customer service, marketing and merchandising, the role of volunteers, and how to tell your story to your potential buyers. This program takes place in Santa Fe in the days leading up to the Market and all new artists are encouraged to attend.  They are mentored during the day by both industry experts and experienced IFAM artists.
  2. IFAM ARTIST CONFERENCE
    2018 will be the second year that this conference is offered, open to all IFAM artists, new and returning. In 2017, over 22 sessions were offered and over 200 artists attended.  Artists will be able to choose from a menu of topics, which fall under the themes of business management, marketing and promotion, costing and pricing, finding new markets and the design process. New topics in 2018 include indepth sessions on navigating customs, successful organizational structures for artisan businesses, and a natural dye demonstration.  Artists themselves will lead about a quarter of the sessions.
  3. PREPARING FOR THE EXPORT MARKETPLACE
    This is an advanced course for alumni artists who want to engage in the wholesale marketplace. Online education, completed over several months, includes selecting an export collection, customer relations, order fulfillment, quality control, and marketing and development of promotional materials. Prior to this summer’s Market in Santa Fe, these artists will participate in the International Folk Art Market Collection at the June 19-24 Dallas Total Home & Gift Market. One of the largest wholesale markets in the country, the Dallas Market will provide some artists with their first direct encounter with the wholesale ordering process. More important, the artists are given a crucial opportunity to meet potential wholesale buyers and form long-term, year-round relationships. In 2017, artist sales at the Dallas Market totaled over $225,000.

 

MARKET LOGISTICS

The International Folk Art Market Santa Fe opens with a party on the evening of Friday, July 13, and runs through Sunday, July 15, 2018, at the beautiful Milner Plaza on Santa Fe’s Museum Hill. Tickets go on sale May 1, 2018. For detailed information and schedule of events, visit www.folkartmarket.org

International Folk Art Market Santa Fe is held in partnership with the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, Museum of International Folk Art, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Museum of New Mexico Foundation, and the City of Santa Fe.

For more information, interview requests, and photos, please contact Clare Hertel at 505-474-6783 or clare@clarehertelcommunications.com.