Santa Fe Indian Market Announces Search for New Director

Santa Fe Indian Market

Young collector viewing art at Santa Fe Indian Market.

SWAIA Ends Relationship with Ira Wilson; New Executive Committee and Two New Staff Members Appointed

Santa Fe, NM—Santa Fe Indian Market—the largest and longest-continuing juried Native American art market in the nation celebrated its 98th year this August, maintaining its reputation as the world’s leading destination for Native American and First Nations visual art. With just two years until Santa Fe Indian Market’s centennial, the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA)’s board of directors made a unanimous decision last week to terminate their relationship with Executive Director Ira Wilson (Diné) and to conduct a search for new senior leadership.

“We are grateful to Ira for the time he acted as the executive director. He performed his job well and the 2019 market was very successful,” says board chair, Tom Teegarden.

Ira Wilson

Ira Wilson (Diné), former executive director of SWAIA

The board’s decision reflects its intention to appoint a director to lead SWAIA through the centennial year of 2021 and into its next century. Two senior staff members, Yvonne Gillespie (finance) and Amanda Crocker (public relations and marketing director), will share the interim directorship. Both are devoted, competent staff members who know the organization well and will ensure the continuous operation until a new director is hired.

The new executive committee, voted on at the September board meeting, is as follows:

  • Chair: Tom Teegarden
  • Vice-Chair: Randy Chitto (Mississippi Choctaw)
  • Secretary: Chris Youngblood (Santa Clara Pueblo)
  • Treasurer: Mark Bahti

Rounding out the board are Elizabeth Kirk (Isleta Pueblo/Diné), Stephine Poston (Sandia Pueblo), Traci Rabbit (Cherokee Nation), Lloyd “Skip” Sayre, and Dominique Toya (Jemez Pueblo).

This summer, SWAIA hired two full-time staff members. Eric Villegas (Acoma Pueblo) became SWAIA’s artist services manager in July. Villegas will support artists through the entire process of application, acceptance/booth assignments and participation in summer and winter markets.

SWAIA appointed Jamie Schulze (Northern Cheyenne/Lakota) as its membership and volunteer coordinator after a successful contract at this year’s market. Schulze is a former owner of the Bavarian Lodge and Restaurant in Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico. “I am honored to promote Santa Fe Indian Market’s mission: bringing Native arts to the world,” says Schulze.

SWAIA is currently focused on revisions to the 2020 Indian Market artist applications, which will open on November 1, as well as planning for outreach into rural communities to assist artists with the process, and preparing for the annual Winter Indian Market, which will take place on December 14 and 15, 2019, at La Fonda on the Santa Fe Plaza.

Santa Indian Market

Plaza crowds at Santa Fe Indian Market. Photo: A. Meredith.

The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) is seeking a visionary executive director to lead the annual production of Santa Fe Indian Market and to develop and implement an expanded business model that will support the organization into its second century. Candidates should have senior-level managerial and administrative experience, exceptional communication skills, proven fundraising success in a nonprofit environment, knowledge of a broad range of visual Native arts media, and a reputation for professional, fiscal, and personal integrity. Request the full job description and apply with a cover letter and resume to by November 1, 2019.


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