A Spotlight on the IM: Edge Contemporary Show
This is the 96th year for the Santa Fe Indian Market, the largest and most honored juried Native American art show in the world, to be held August 19 – 20, 2017. Indian Market is dedicated to promoting authentic Native American art and showcases 1,100 Native artists from the U.S. and Canada and attracts 150,000 visitors from all over the world (along with an estimated $100 million in revenue to the state and region). It is sponsored and produced annually by the non-profit organization Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA), an advocate for Native American arts and culture.
But Indian Market also extends its viewpoint to expressions of the Native experience that are outside the traditional “booth” space channel, such as Native cinema and Native haute couture fashion. Another growing arm of the Native experience, especially amongst a more technologically-savvy (and younger) generation, is the contemporary movement of Native art. For the third consecutive year, Indian Market will present IM: Edge Contemporary Show, a curated exhibition dedicated to contemporary art. This gallery-style presentation held on August 17 – 19 at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center (201 W Marcy Street) will feature the work of artists who push the boundaries of Native art—who create contemporary art forms that do not fit into the traditional Indian Market categories.
The IM: Edge show is sponsored by JoAnn and Bob Balzer, Santa Fe community leaders and arts advocates who have a strong connection with the Santa Fe Indian Market and many other New Mexico arts organizations. They were inaugural sponsors of the IM: Edge show in 2015, and continue their support for the third consecutive year. We were lucky to have an opportunity to speak with them about the IM: Edge show and their passion for contemporary Native art.
The Balzers’ passion for contemporary art has directed much of their philanthropic path. Along with their involvement as major sponsors at Santa Fe Indian Market, the Institute for American Indian Arts, and the International Folk Art Market, JoAnn currently sits on the Boards of IAIA (a Presidential appointment), the Lensic, the International Folk Art Market, and the New Mexico Arts Commission. She is on the advisory board for MIAC, where she co-founded Friends of Indian Art. She also is Chair of the Santa Fe Arts Commission Cultural Affairs Working Group.
State ECU: Why do you find Native contemporary art so compelling?
JoAnn and Bob Balzer: We are extremely supportive of innovative art in all forms and certainly in the Native American art world. We have attended Indian Market for 43 years straight and we always gravitate toward collecting contemporary art. Part of that attraction is being able to collect work by living artists, and enjoy how that enhances our experience. We like to interact with the artists, understand what motivates them, get to know their families, attend Feast Days with them, etc.
In addition, we have a love for contemporary expression and innovation and believe that art elements speak to us inside our psyches. Our collecting of contemporary art is a holistic experience—and we love finding new artists and art forms; it is what we live for. This taps into our innovative spirits and into a cause of ours of finding more opportunities for artists to display and sell their works.
State ECU: What is exciting about the IM: Edge Contemporary Show?
JoAnn and Bob Balzer: The art that is showcased at IM: Edge is cutting edge. Often it is based on Native traditions but with a new spin—giving artists who are working in mediums outside the “traditional” Native art forms, like video, digital prints, or glass, an opportunity to show their modern interpretations. And it also allows artists to expand the boundaries of categories that don’t qualify for the traditional Indian Market format. For instance if they are working in forms like textiles or painting, they can explore new colors and designs that don’t conform to the requirements of the IM – and we feel that makes it fresh and exciting.
State ECU: What should visitors know about the IM: Edge experience?
JoAnn and Bob Balzer: For one thing, it provides a nice break from the larger market on the Plaza, by going over to the Santa Fe Convention Center. The climate-controlled interior space offers a quieter and more intimate setting for viewing the work of about 30 artists. It also is a great opportunity to interact one-on-one with the artists. If you attend IM: EDGE on Thursday night, the show includes exciting performance and fashion components. Hopefully this will ignite your senses at this one-of-a-kind event.
State ECU: How do you see your role as sponsor of the show?
JoAnn and Bob Balzer: We always leave the jurying, selection, and curating process to the SWAIA committee, but we are very supportive of contemporary artists. We encourage extraordinary up-and-coming artists that we meet to apply for the IM: Edge show. The show has the potential to be a career-enhancing process—it is a springboard for the artist to secure gallery representation and collectors and even a way for them to connect to the market with their more traditional work. This is transformative in the sense that it can inspire artists to do new things, as they will have a space to showcase their innovation.
State ECU: What do you hope visitors come away with from attending IM: Edge?
JoAnn and Bob Balzer: We hope that visitors appreciate the creativity of the IM: Edge artists and their hard work, and see how art is a reflection of our contemporary culture and gain insight into artists’ voices of our times. Of course we also hope they find something that appeals to them and that they want to buy. These are emerging artists who may be more affordable because they are younger and newer artists who are just discovering their audience.
We hope your State ECU members come visit the IM: Edge Contemporary Show at the Santa Fe Convention Center. It is a great way to see contemporary Native art, on Saturday it’s free, and they may just fall in love with some contemporary artwork in the same way that we often do!
IM: EDGE OPENING RECEPTION – Thursday, August 17 (6 -8 p.m.)
Sponsored by JoAnn and Bob Balzer
VERY Limited tickets available!
MY SOUL REMAINER
Choreographed Jock Soto (Navajo)
Performed by Jock Soto (Navajo) and Rulan Tangen (Métis)
Original Score & Live Performance by Laura Ortman (Apache)
Special Fashion Component featuring the work of Orlando Dugi (Navajo), Patricia Michaels (Taos Pueblo) and others
Sneak Peek – IM: Edge—Friday, August 18
Attendees at the SWAIA Friday ticketed events can enjoy a sneak peek of Indian Market: Contemporary Edge curated show
96TH ANNUAL SANTA FE INDIAN MARKET ON THE PLAZA – Saturday, August 19
IM: EDGE CONTEMPORARY SHOW – Saturday, August 19
Free and open to the public – Santa Fe Community Convention Center
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
This gallery-style presentation features the work of artists pushing the boundaries of Native art
Visit swaia.org to learn more about Indian Market week to purchase tickets for IM: Edge Thursday and Friday events.