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Tuesday, October 20,  2009                                              


Santa Fe, New Mexico -Ardith Eicher and Karen Freeman, Co-Chairs of Native Treasures: Indian Arts Festival, and a small army of volunteers know how to impact the lives of hundreds of Native artists as well as the exhibits and education programs of the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture (MIAC).

Five years ago Eicher and Freeman helped create this unique Native arts festival as a fundraiser for the museum and as an income opportunity for the artists who participate.  In a short time, Native Treasures has emerged as one of the leading Indian art shows in the country.  Their tireless efforts, as well as the dedication of their organizing committee and volunteers, have built Native Treasures into an important income source for both the museum and the artists.  Proceeds from the 2009 show provided the primary funding for both the Picture Books of Change and the Native Couture II exhibits currently on display at the museum.

"We are so proud of the $250,000 we've raised for the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture over the past five years, while supporting the artists that we care so much about," says Eicher.  "We are looking forward to another successful year in 2010."

In a change from previous years, Native Treasures 2010 dates are set for Saturday, May 22 and Sunday, May 23, 2010, the weekend before Memorial Day. Top Native pottery, jewelry, glass, painting, sculpture, carvings, textiles and more will be available for sale at this festive event that takes place at the Santa Fe Convention Center, just off the plaza in historic downtown Santa Fe. 

The show in 2010 will feature over 200 museum-quality Native artists, weaving demonstrations by Toadlena Trading Post, an entertainment mix of Native and non-Native music, Native dancing, and delicious food. 

"Native Treasures is becoming the place to go for some of the best Native art in the world," adds Eicher. "The advantage we have is that this show is invitational, so we are able to invite the 'best of the best' artists.  We also aim for about one-third of the show to be new artists each year, so different artists have the opportunity to participate and collectors have a reason to come back year after year.  It's always fresh."

"We have invited a high caliber group of artists, from established masters to the brightest emerging artists, all of whom are producing museum-quality work," says Museum of Indian Arts & Culture Director Dr. Shelby Tisdale.  "Many of these artists are in our permanent collection, so this is a wonderful opportunity to offer this quality of art for sale to collectors and lovers of Indian art."

In order to increase its commitment to identifying talented emerging artists, Native Treasures will be adding an Emerging Artists section to the show in 2010.  Organizers will be working with the Santa Fe Indian School, Institute of American Indian Arts and the Poeh Center to identify high school and college-aged artists (as well as older artists who are just starting their art careers) to participate in this venue. 

"This allows the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture to continue to encourage and support the next generation of outstanding artists, while allowing collectors to find new talent early in their careers," says Jane Buchsbaum, Artist Chair for the show.

As has been the tradition for the last several years, Native Treasures will also honor an established master with its "Native Treasures Living Treasure Award."  The Native Treasures 2010 recipient is famed Nambe potter Lonnie Vigil. 

Vigil is credited with transforming the perception of micaceous pottery from utilitarian ware to high art.  His elegant and organic forms have earned him wide acclaim and numerous awards, including the Best of Show honor at the 2001 Santa Fe Indian Market.  He is also an example of an artist who came to his art later in life, after a career as a financial and business consultant in New Mexico and Washington DC. 

"I prayed for direction from the Clay Mother, and slowly the information began to come," says Vigil.  In addition to his outstanding body of work, Vigil has also been a generous supporter of the museum, the community and many non-profit organizations, one of the criteria for this award.

"Native Treasures: Indian Arts Festival is an intimate, fun weekend where buyers meet the artists and are able to talk with them and ask questions in a relaxed atmosphere," says Karen Freeman, Co-Chair for the show. "Purchasing art at Native Treasures-which ranges in price from $25 to $10,000 -is a way for the public to support not only the artists but also the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture.  A portion of the proceeds from Native Treasures directly supports the exhibit and education programs at MIAC."

In addition to the festival in May, Native Treasures organizers have announced that they are adding a new event in October of 2010-the Native Treasures Collectors' Sale.  Collectors will have the opportunity to sell Indian art pieces from their collection, with part of the proceeds benefiting the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture.  "This will be a fun event," says Eicher.  "Collectors will be able to make room for new art by selling the pieces that they no longer want and other collectors will be able to snap up great finds.  And all of it will benefit the museum that is an important cultural resource for our community and the global arts community."


Calendar Listing & Information                                          

Native Treasures, now in its sixth year, is an invitational art show and sale featuring the best Native art in the U.S.  Proceeds benefit the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture in Santa Fe, NM.


  • Museum-quality art from almost 200 artists from 40 tribes and pueblos
  • Best and brightest of the Indian Art world
  • Santa Fe's only museum-quality Indian Art show
  • Musical entertainment
  • Food by Cowgirl BBQ
  • Relaxed, intimate event for collectors, dealers and visitors
  • 2010 "Living Treasure" award to outstanding Nambe potter Lonnie Vigil

Saturday May 22 & Sunday May 23, 2010
Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., $5; Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m, Free
(Early Bird Market Saturday, 9-10 a.m., $15)
Festival tickets available at entrance.
Friday, May 21, 6-8 p.m.
Benefit Pre-Sale Gala, offering special pieces selected by each artist.
Attendees will meet the artists and mingle with other collectors.
Hors d'oeuvres and wine will be served; $75. This includes an Early Bird ticket for Saturday.
Tickets: 505-982-6366, ext. 112.

WHERE:       Santa Fe Convention Center at the corner of Marcy and Grant Streets; Santa Fe, New Mexico

INFO:             505-476-1250;




PLEASE CONTACT Jennifer Marshall, 505-231-1776,

Jennifer Marshall