I have been involved with the IFAA as a volunteer and donor since the beginning. The success has been amazing! By providing a market for the talented and often deprived artists of the world, this market has resulted in a huge success and had a world wide influence. Here's to many more years!
My wife and I were honored to be asked to be among a core group asked to help financially support the launch of the first International Folk Art Market, and we have been deeply involved in this amazing organization ever since. I was even more honored to be asked to serve as the first Chair of the newly formed Board of the Market, now part of the umbrella organization, IFAA. I have been pleased to serve on several other non-profit boards, but none have been remotely as rewarding as service on this board. The mission of the organization, to preserve artistic and cultural heritage and to economically empower artists around the world is unique. It is noble to aid the disadvantaged, but to me, giving a way for them to earn a living and retain their dignity is even more important. IFAA deserves the many accolades it has received for its tremendous accomplishments.
My wife and I have been donors for several years as well as volunteers and enthusiastic purchasers of the IFAA market's wares. I have been actively involved in social purposes organisations in the US and in Europe for nearly 20 years. Most all such organisations espouse and strive to provide empowerment for their beneficiaries. The IFAA does this in spades. It connects great crafts people to new markets, provides them with new skills that are relevant to survive and thrive globally and has created various new channels to market that enable these crafts people to earn sums of money that would have seemed impossible beforehand. So the Crafts people get skills, market access and money to support their communities; all this is in their hands. How is that for real empowerment. The IFAA IS REMARKABLE in so many ways. Beyond the benefits for crafts people, there is the joy that consumers in the West have by seeing and buying phenomenal arts and crafts AND living and learning from the artists as hosts and volunteers. As I said, IFAA IS REMARKABLE!
The IFAA / Santa Fe International Folk Art Market are platforms that support, encourage
& promote the lives of folk artists worldwide. The impact that has resulted in the past 10
years within the artist's communities has been life changing! In addition a more educated
and growing international support base is being created.....living in Santa Fe for 36 years
we never seen a more positive arts organization. We have proudly served as volunteers,
meeting market artists @ the airport who have traveled for days, co-chairing the music/
entertainment committee, and past co-chair for the Folk Art Market.
Ray & Judy Dewey
I serve on the Advisory Board and am a HUGE FAN and SUPPORTER of this outstanding non-profit. Producing the world's largest Folk Art Market, IFAA provides opportunities to folk artists coming from all over the globe. For many of the participating artists, the income received from the weekend International Folk Art Market Santa Fe represents 10x more than they would earn in a year at home. When they return home, this income can translate into clean water for their villages, girls in school, improved health care, and thriving folk art communities. I am proud to be a part of an organization that contributes so much to so many and is "making a world of difference." JoAnn Balzer
I serve on many boards and am involved with many worthy causes, but IFAA is absolutely one of the most amazing organizations I have ever been associated with. The impact on the economic self sustenance of over 25,000 artist worldwide, improving the lives of over a quarter of a million extended family members is astounding. And, the role IFAA plays in global cultural preservation is huge. The market alone is a real life-changer, where the artists keep 90% of their sales revenue, made possible by the work of over 1500 volunteers. When an artist returns to their home country with 20 or 30 thousand dollars in sales, often in countries where average daily wage can be under one dollar... well you can do the math. Even more significant is the IFAA's commitment to robust and effective training programs and classes for the artists so their ability to market their art and achieve success in other ways and places is further enhanced. This organization is so incredibly well run, with the most committed and active board I have ever experienced. I am blessed to be associated and committed to IFAA.
I am no longer on the Board but I have known many of the people who put this together for years and when I was asked what I thought the Board needed I said it needed an insurance policy on Charlene and Judy because they were absolutely indispensable for the creation of this incredible market. First of all, they lived the vision and not just for the lives they have changed in the many countries abroad but in the lives of the volunteers and staff. In a small town, to have over 2,000 volunteers, year after year - is unheard of.
It is also remarkable that the City has been a partner in this event. Their help with the transportation has saved the market thousands of dollars.
I think it is the most exciting event in New Mexico. And the folk art merchandise is better than anywhere else in the world. To meet the artists, arrange for the merchandise to come to New Mexico, to get it packed and unpacked and priced is a monumental achievement when you consider the language barriers,
the distances, customs etc. - it is monumental. And when the board has a new idea, it is carried out before the next meeting. These people are truly amazing. And what they have done is beyond incredible.
For the last 5 years, the International Folk Art Market - Santa Fe helped our cooperative - The Cheque Oitedie - to promote the Ayoreo culture, their traditional art based on the sustainable management of Bromelia hieronymi the plant wich deliver its fine fibers to the women. They also helped us to increase the benefit for our artisans, and let us to know many people of different countries! For all these reasons we feel very happy to be a part of this family. Thank you and congratulations!!!
My husband and I have always loved folk art. When we visited the International Folk Art Market-Santa Fe for the first time 6 years ago, I actually got choked up seeing the long lines of people who also appreciate the wonderful folk art that is sold at the Market. We resolved to return to volunteer the next summer, and, amazingly, we did. We were impressed with how well the Market is run, how well the artists are respected, and how many dedicated volunteers it takes to make this incredible event happen. By the fourth year of volunteering, we found ourselves looking at houses in Santa Fe and moved here full time the next spring. We have had a leadership chair position for the last two years with a lot of responsibility. The Market staff is so dedicated, and as a volunteer I always feel valued and appreciated. It is a wonderful feeling to be a part of such an incredible endeavor where artists are able to sell their beautiful wares and return to their homes with the funds to improve their lives. Each artist's story is a beautiful story of devotion to their culture and family.
For the last six years I've volunteered at the International Folk Art Market--Santa Fe. The opportunity to assist artisans who have the backing of such a well-run organization keeps me coming back yearly. The Market cares deeply about the artisans and that shows in its high support for them emotionally, physically, and financially.
For six years my son and I have volunteered at the Market, as waterboys giving cool refreshment to attendees. He was just 10 when we started, and it's been a great experience for him. Although we play a tiny part in the weekend, we are always treated with professionalism by the organization's staff, even as the event increased exponentially in scope. It's a wonderful event and my son and I are very proud to be a part of it.
As someone whose academic career has focused on artisan enterprise development, i give the International Folk Art Market-Santa Fe a 5* rating. They are encouraging excellence in folk art creativity and production and then offering a venue for the artists to market their goods. As the artists come together in Santa Fe, they develop community among themselves which serves as a valuable ongoing resource for their future work.
I feel so blessed to be a part of this organization that is so dedicated to empowering folk artists all over the world. By creating this venue, the Market has not only given these artists an opportunity to receive the recognition they deserve and income to support their families and communities, but it has also given Market attendees, staff and volunteers the opportunity to open their eyes and hearts to the world.
This is a wonderful organization to be a part of. The work of all of the volunteers and the staff make a significant impact on the lives of thousands around the world. I'm proud to be involved as a Board Member and as a Volunteer!!
An exciting place to be, with many treasures to be found, and friends to be made from all over the world.
For ten years I have volunteered with this wonderful organization that really does change lives. After just the first year we learned something so stunning, so amazing….that if we could put just a small amount of earned money into the hands of mothers, we provided a huge life line of support not just for her, but for her daughters, who could now be sent to school and avoid the nightmare of pre-teen or early teen marriage. Young sons would be sent to school instead straight to the fields or factories. As an artist returning home with money in her hands, the mother established a position of respect in the family and in the village as an income earner. That respect helped to keep her safe within the marriage. All this benefit for the woman, her sons, her daughters and her village just by taking the brave step to apply for a booth at an annual art sale thousands of miles away in Santa Fe, New Mexico. What a miracle!
What an exciting experience to be a part of an extraordinary organization that brings together people from all over the world, provides many of these people with an essential portion of their annual earnings as well as with a venue to share their culture with others and provides the volunteers with the satisfaction of knowing that they are contributing in a significant way to making this all happen. The International Folk Art Market-Santa Fe is a swirl of colors, languages, music - a rich and exciting experience for all involved.
It has been such a joy to watch this event evolve over the last decade - I remember wheeling my then 5-minth-old through the first market on a dreary, wet summer day, impervious to the weather because of the amazing energy and vibrancy of the market. Now, 10 years later, my family looks forward to attending each year. The stories that each of the artists bring are just as important as the art they create, and we all leave feeling inspired and alive. By far one of the best events in Santa Fe each year!