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People walk downtown as artists set up for the Santa Fe Indian Market in 2019, the last live market before the coronavirus pandemic. This year's market is likely to be the first in the event's history with paid entry and timed admissions.

The 99th Santa Fe Indian Market is likely to be the first in the event’s history with paid entry and timed admissions.

Organizers say they are considering a plan to hold the annual Native arts showcase in a fenced-off area encompassing the Plaza and adjacent downtown streets to ensure marketgoers and artists can practice social distancing amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Still, if all goes well, a live Indian Market is on for Aug. 21-22.

So is an online virtual market.

“We are going to have a hybrid market,” said Kim Peone, executive director of the Southwestern Association of Indian Arts, which stages the event billed as the world’s oldest and largest Native American art market. In most years, it draws of tens of thousands of visitors to the city.

“The virtual market will capture those artists who cannot be live and enhance the market for those who are live,” Peone said.

Only 500 Native American artists will showcase their work this summer instead of the usual 800. Participants will be selected from the same 1,100 artists whose works were juried ahead of the 2020 market, which was canceled as the pandemic swept through the state. In place of the live event, SWAIA launched its first virtual market.

“It will be the top tier of the artists,” Peone said of those chosen for this year’s event.

SWAIA’s plans are subject to change, depending on how the pandemic plays out in the next four months. Conditions could allow for more artists to participate or could force the organization to narrow its list, Peone said.

Market shoppers might be required to buy timed tickets online in advance, offering a two-hour limit at the market, to contain the number of people in attendance at any time.

SWAIA has not yet determined how many people will be allowed on the market grounds at once, Peone said, and ticket prices have not been determined.

The online ticket sales will enable SWAIA to obtain visitor information for contact-tracing purposes.

Along with limiting shoppers, organizers are planning other safety procedures to prevent the spread of the virus.

“As of today, there is definitely going to be temperature checks,” Peone said. “Masking is necessary. Safe distancing is necessary.”

Organizers of the International Folk Art Market also are planning to hold a live event this summer. They announced their intention in January to have an extended live market July 7-18 at two locations: the usual Museum Hill venue and the International Folk Art Market Center parking lot at 620 Cerrillos Road.

The International Folk Art Market also might have timed tickets and two-hour limits for shoppers, CEO Stuart Ashman said.

The Spanish Colonial Arts Society, which stages the downtown Traditional Spanish Market, has not yet announced its summer plans. But Executive Director Jennifer Berkley said it likely will hold a live event on the Plaza.

(5) comments

Elizabeth Pettus

How about waiting until we know the prices of the tickets to complain? It seems as though the organization is doing the best it can without a reliable crystal ball right now. Also, as Market costs hundred of thousands of dollars to put on and the traditional methods of fundraising have all changed, perhaps less criticism and more support might be helpful.

Robert Kowalski

So charge people to walk through the market and then tell them they can only do it for a specific amount of time. Thanks for making my decision for me to not attend. Ridiculous.

KK Hannegan

No way will I pay just to enter for a limited time. Very disappointing.

Lisa Wooldridge

Hooray! I will totally buy a ticket and go.

Stefanie Beninato

How about free tickets rather than charging for Indian Market so all income levels may attend if they so choose? And as for the International Folk Art Market taking place in the parking lot at Cerrillos just N of Paseo--what a traffic congestion and logistics problem that will make!! I am sure the locals who live in the area will be overjoyed. Can you imagine moving both vendors and buyers every 90 minutes in and out of that lot?

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