Annual northern pueblo art show canceled

Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, New Mexico (AP) 5-09

The annual Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Arts & Crafts show has been canceled after just 51 artists applied for booths, compared to three or four times that number in previous years.

“It’s just the economy,” said the Eight Northern Pueblo’s director of programming and development, Valerie Lyon. “The economy had its impact on artists and sponsors.”

This year’s show had been slated for July at Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo.

Michael Miller, executive director of the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council, said the arts and crafts show needs the past average of 150 to 200 artists to make it a success.

Organizers charge about $400 per booth, with the rest of the funding coming from outside sponsors, Miller said. Past years have netted $60,000 to $70,000.


Artists have told Miller sales have been down at prestigious shows such as the annual market in March at the Heard Museum in Phoenix.

“People come to look but they just aren’t buying,” he said. “I don’t doubt that we could attract people; I don’t know if we could attract the buyers.”

The Eight Northern Pueblos show, first held in 1972, has drawn visitors from throughout the Southwest in the past, with vendors coming not only from the pueblos, but also from Navajo, Hopi, Apache, Cherokee, Tlinfit, Chippewa and Lakota tribes.

The show used to rotate among the pueblos, but since 2003 has been held in the Eight Northern Pueblos Council Arts and Visitors Center at Ohkay Owingeh. The pueblos include Nambe, Ohkay Owingeh, Picuris, Pojoaque, San Ildefonso, Santa Clara, Tesuque and Taos.

The board of directors is considering moving the event to a cooler time of the year because of complaints about the heat in July, Miller said. They plan an indoor show sometime in the fall, and are organizing golf tournaments to raise funds.

“Maybe by then things will have changed,” Miller said. “It’s our concern that these artists depend on us. We have a lot of people who got their start here. It’s our goal to keep this craft alive in the pueblos.