Native Artists to Show Work at Southwest Indian Art Fair

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By Arizona State Museum, February 19, 2014

The fair is the Arizona State Museum's largest cultural celebration and signature educational event.

Visitors to the Southwest Indian Art Fair can browse a variety of pieces made by Native American artists.

Visitors to the Southwest Indian Art Fair can browse a variety of pieces made by Native American artists.

Jody Folwell is this year's featured artist at the Southwest Indian Art Fair.

Jody Folwell is this year's featured artist at the Southwest Indian Art Fair.

Organizers say the fair has something for everyone, from serious art collectors to casual buyers to first-time visitors.

Organizers say the fair has something for everyone, from serious art collectors to casual buyers to first-time visitors.

More than 200 Native American artists will gather this weekend for the Arizona State Museum's 21st annual Southwest Indian Art Fair.

Southern Arizona's premier Indian art show and market, the colorful two-day event brings together those who share an interest in Southwest native arts and cultures in a fun, festive and intimate setting on the front lawn of the Arizona State Museum on the University of Arizona campus.

It is the Arizona State Museum's largest cultural celebration and its signature educational event.

"SWIAF is a shopping opportunity, to be sure. But at the same time, it is an educational event," said Darlene Lizarraga, the museum's marketing director. "This is no accident, considering it takes place on a university campus and is produced by a museum whose mission is to promote the understanding of and respect for the peoples and cultures of the region. Through SWIAF, we strive to expand our community's knowledge of and appreciation of Southwest Native American arts and cultures in a relaxed, fun and festive atmosphere."

Organizers say the fair has something for everyone, from casual buyers and first-time visitors to serious art collectors.

Visitors will have the opportunity to meet and chat with artists and purchase authentic, top-quality, handmade, regional artwork, including Acoma pottery, Apache sculpture, Hopi katsina dolls, Navajo jewelry, Tohono O'odham baskets and much more. Visitors to the fair also can enjoy artist demonstrations, traditional music and dance performances, storytelling and Native American foods.

As descendants of ancient cultures, the artists represent a rich heritage, said Patrick Lyons, director of the Arizona State Museum. "His or her talent is the culmination of centuries of tradition. Each piece of art and each performance is the latest personal expression of an enduring art form. It is all this they come to share with us every year."

This year's featured artist at the fair is Jody Folwell, an internationally known clay artist from Santa Clara Pueblo.

Although Folwell is often referred to as the matriarch of the avant-garde in Native American pottery, she still, as she has done since childhood, continues to hand build and hand decorate all her pieces in the traditional ways.

She's known for pieces that reflect political satire or social commentary.

Folwell was honored in 2013 with a Community Spirit Award from First Peoples Fund, an organization that supports "creative indigenous artists who share their inspiration, wisdom, knowledge and gifts with their communities."

Also taking place at this year's fair will be a live auction of Navajo rugs to benefit Navajo and Hopi college students. The auction is hosted by the nonprofit Friends of Hubbell Trading Post NPS, which, as part of its mission, provides scholarships to Navajo and Hopi college students.

Rug viewing will take place from 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, with bidding starting at noon.

This is the third year the Friends of Hubbell Trading Post NPS has participated in the fair. It's a fitting partnership, said Frank Kohler, a board member and treasurer for the organization.

"Not only are we right here on a university campus, the missions of the museum and its art fair complement our own," he said.

The Southwest Indian Art Fair runs from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $10 for adults, and advance tickets are available online. Students and children are free.

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