2015 celebrates the 64th Annual Traditional Spanish Market, the oldest juried Spanish Market in the United States. The celebration includes festivals, music and cultural events centered around Santa Fe’s historic Plaza. Festivities culminate with the largest display of art from Hispanic artisans of New Mexico and Southern Colorado.
The Santa Fe Plaza and surrounding streets are lined with the white tent stalls and filled with excellent works of traditional art including retablos, jewelry, furniture, carvings, weavings and pottery, to mention a few. Regional foods, live music, dancing, and art demonstrations are all part of the celebration of this vibrant heritage.
The market began in 1926 when the Spanish Colonial Arts Society sponsored the event. In the 1930s it lost sponsorship, but persevered as a combined event held with the Indian Market. In 1965 the SCAS took up sponsorship again, but it wasn’t until 1972 that it reestablished independence and claimed the last weekend of July for its annual celebration.
Each July, as many as 80,000 people, including locals, visitors, collectors and enthusiasts flock to Santa Fe to experience this event. Hundreds of artists show their work and this is now known world-wide as the largest juried Spanish Market in the United States.
Though it may sound as if the streets are cramped with people, they’re not. The Plaza accommodates everyone with ease over the course of the weekend. Live performers take over the bandstand and rows of seats are available for spectators to sit in the shade.
It is an enjoyable, relaxed summer atmosphere where you can stroll at an easy pace, and take in the sights, sounds and flavors of this tradition.
The green Plaza lawns are a welcome cool spot for people to sit and for kids to play.
Each year, the SCAS appoints a private panel of judges to award artists for their skills and distinctive works. The awards are funded by the Society and private contributors.
In 2002, SCAS founded the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, which houses a collection of more than 3,700 pieces of historical and contemporary works. It is the only museum of its kind in the country dedicated to exhibiting, interpreting and preserving the Spanish Colonial Arts. The Museum often purchases prize-winning pieces for their collections.
Juan Lopez’ filagree silver jewelry is inspired by, “Anything I see,” he says with a beaming smile, “the clouds, flowers, people. It can come from anywhere.”
The Phoenicians first invented filagree work in 1500 B.C. The Greeks, Italians and French have all put their own stamp on the work. For over 400 years, the Spanish have run with it beautifully, and Juan is happily continuing the tradition in his unique way.
Whether you’re interested in collecting or simply looking to enjoy a relaxed, festive atmosphere, the Traditional Spanish Market is a fun experience for everyone. If you’re traveling from out of state, it is a good idea to book your accommodations early in the year and arrive early to enjoy the Plaza’s festivities leading up to the weekend.
For more information on the Spanish Colonial Arts Society and Museum go to: http://santafeselection.com/museums/museum-of-spanish-colonial-art