Patricia Michaels At SWAIA

This week, taoStyle celebrates SWAIA.

Every August, our state capitol, Santa Fe, NM becomes the Santa Fe Indian Market, taking over the town’s  Plaza and surrounding streets. Hundreds of gallery openings, art shows and related events take place during the weekend of Indian Market and during the two weeks prior.

Collectors of Native art along with the artists themselves converge on Santa Fe. The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) sponsors the event, which is estimated to bring more than 100,000 people and over $100 million in revenues to the state and region this year.

Today’s SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market  began in 1922 when the Museum of New Mexico and a group of remarkable women,  formed themselves into a political action organization to establish and protect human rights for New Mexico’s Indian population. That year, the Indian Fair was created by the Museum of New Mexico as part of the Santa Fe Fiesta celebration.

In 1922 the New Mexico Association on Indian Affairs (NMAIA) was founded to help fight the U.S. Senate’s proposed Bursum Bill, which would have illegally given an enormous amount of Pueblo land to Spanish and American squatters.

The first Indian Fair in 1922 was originally developed by the Museum of New Mexico as the ethnological display of the Santa Fe Fiesta. In 1919, Museum Director Edgar Lee Hewett had revived the Fiesta as an annual celebration to help promote tourism. His inclusion of the Indian Fair in the Fiesta Pageant was reminiscent of previous World’s Fairs, and in particular, the San Diego Exposition’s anthropological exhibits and the Santa Fe Railway’s living exhibition, the “Painted Desert.”

The Museum continued to sponsor the Indian Fair until 1926. In 1936 the New Mexico Association on Indian Affairs took over the event, which in the past 25 years has morphed into the phenomenon it is today. In 1970 Market was confined to beneath the portal and along the north and east sides of the Plaza. All 200 artists who showed up on Saturday morning were given a booth. In 1980 the Market included 330 booths in rows of three on all four sides of the plaza, and no space could be found for many more artists. 

In 1993, SWAIA’s Board of Directors voted to change the name of the organization to Southwestern Association for Indian Arts to more accurately reflect the focus of the Association’s work.  By 2002 there were 625 booths and 1200 artists. Booths now extend up Washington and Lincoln Avenues as well as to Marcy Street and Cathedral Place.

Now, almost 100 years after the first Indian Fair, the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts proud mission is “Bringing Native arts to the world by inspiring artistic excellence, fostering education, and creating meaningful partnerships.”

As SWAIA moves through the 21st Century with a world gaining deeper appreciation for American Indian arts and culture, it is poised for expanding its role through the creation of Markets worldwide, and through further developing its educational and training programs in support of Native American artists.

This week I’ll feature two amazing Taos artists who over the years, have participated in, and been honored by, SWAIA.

Patricia Michaels has with good reason, been featured on this blog since its inception. Pat is not only a Taos Treasure, she garnered worldwide fame when she was the runner up on Project Runway’s Season 11.

A truly remarkable human being as well as an incredibly talented and accomplished designer, Pat was recently commissioned to participate in A Seat At The Table installation at the Edward Kennedy Institute in Massachusetts, where she designed the chair for New Mexico’s first Native Congresswoman, Deb Haaland.

She was in Chickasaw Nation territory recently teaching workshops to  teens from different tribes about  fashion and textiles, before heading home to Santa Fe, where she lives these days, to get ready for “Market.”

Today she will be at the Eldorado Hotel & Spa for the “Patricia Michaels Heritage Hotels & Resorts Collection Fashion Show”. Join Patricia  at the Eldorado Hotel & Spa as she debuts her Resort Collection Fashion Line developed exclusively for Heritage Hotels & Resorts. Ticket holders will get their first look at Patricia’s collection & will have the opportunity to be some of the first to purchase from this line.The show starts at 1.00pm.

“My Heritage Hotel Collection will have a special tribute to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.” She told me, and she will take that story into another arena on Saturday with she and her sister, Donna Concha performing a song composed by Donna. Pat has long been an advocate for Native women and girls and has always leveraged her fame and many awards to keep the focus on their plight and rights!

 “We will sing (Waiting For You),  together,” she said. “There’ll be a tree lit on the Plaza with red lights and hang tags with 1800 numbers for help info!”

The  tribute to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) will take place in the Santa Fe Plaza at the tree in the NW corner. Patricia will be joined by her sisters and nieces. 

“Everyone is invited to sing with us!” She added. The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Song Tribute happens on Aug 17, at 4:00 PM.

Then on Aug 18, also at 4:00 PM – 05:00 PM Patricia will be featured at the SWAIA 2019 Haute Couture Fashion Show at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center,on W Marcy St.

The SWAIA Haute Couture Fashion Show is a market highlight featuring 10 Native designers. Patricia will be one of the designers participating, bringing her years of fashion and runway experience from Project Runway to her recent installation at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute. “A Seat at the Table,” along with her fabulous joie de vivre to the event.

For much more information about all of these events and SWAIA, please visit the sites linked below this post.





Photographs taken for the “Seat At The Table” installation, by Bill Curry, thanks to Patricia Michaels.