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Recapping the 2013 Eiteljorg Indian Market & Festival

by By Jaq Nigg, festivals and markets manager | Jun 28, 2013

Every June, the Eiteljorg brings gifted Native American artists and performers together with visitors for a celebration of Native American cultures. It’s a culmination of yearlong efforts as well as a “family reunion” for artists, museum staff and visitors. There’s always so much to see and do. Here are a few of the things I saw and did.

Indian Market and Festival weekend started early Friday morning with artists arriving for judging and setting up in Military Park.




Friday evening’s Preview Party is the official kick off of the weekend. Many of the artists were there and it was a wonderful and relaxed opportunity to spend time with them before the business of the weekend took over. The Best of Show Exhibit gave a chance to see all the prize winning artwork in one place, including Best of Show, Harrison Eiteljorg Purchase Award and the Helen Cox Kersting Award. Complete list of prize winners.
 

Beadwork portrait, Gentleman Jim by Summer Peters (Saginaw Ojibwe Tribe of Michigan) won Best of Show. It was Summer’s first time at the Eiteljorg Indian Market!



Potters, Pahponee (Kickapoo/Potawatomi) and Dominique Toya (Jemez Pueblo), admire the Harrison Eiteljorg Purchase Award winner, Love Gun, by Susan Folwell (Santa Clara Pueblo)

Early Saturday morning, collectors and visitors lined up along the lovely canal path and West Street. Artists hurried to get to their booths and the sun warmed the day – but not too warm! A pleasant breeze and the shade trees kept things comfortable. As artists opened their booths and greeted each other, museum staff whizzed around on golf carts doing final tasks. Volunteers provided coffee, fruit, bagels and ice to the artists. The performers finished their sound checks. The food vendors started cooking and the media came for interviews. We were ready to open!

 


Main admissions at 10am.


I talked on camera to WTHR (NBC-Indianapolis) before Shelley Morningsong played her flute.

The first stop for many visitors was the artist tents. Some artists sell out so it’s important to visit favorites early. Other popular destinations included the Dogbane Family Activity Area where kids of all ages created their own artwork to take home; the Delaware encampment and, of course, the performance tent.


Rumors spread that artists seemed to be selling well: potter Jody Naranjo (Santa Clara Pueblo) only had two small pots left by Noon; Peter Boome (Upper Skagit) sold a bentwood box; sculptor Mark Fischer (Oneida) barely had anything left by the end of the weekend; jewelers Sharon and Richard Abeyta’s (Santo Domingo Pueblo) tables were always crowded; jeweler Jolene Bird (Santo Domingo Pueblo) charmed the Eiteljorg store folks with her sleek and funky inlay jewelry.

Shoppers crowd the artist tents.

Visitors discovered delicate jewelry, colorful kachina carvings, musical instruments, large sculptures and more. The food vendors kept busy throughout the day, selling Indian tacos, papusas, ice cream and, our favorites to cool down in the afternoon, lavender lemonade and Melmosas.


The weekend was picture perfect – until about 3:30 pm on Sunday when ominous clouds in the West threatened and we made the tough decision to close the market early for the safety of visitors, artists, volunteers and staff.

As artists packed up their artwork, they hugged lingering visitors goodbye; wishing them a great year until they return next June to see them again.

 If you missed this year’s Indian Market and Festival, make sure to mark your calendar for next year’s festival: June 21-22, 2014.

Please share your own stories about the 2013 Indian Market and Festival. And, if you haven’t had a chance to fill out our visitor survey, please do.

 
Festivals and markets manager, Jaq Nigg wants to say a big THANK YOU to all of the artists who come from so far and who are so wonderful; to all of the volunteers who work so hard and keep smiling; to all of our vendors who are the best at what they do and have my back when I forget something; and to the rest of the Eiteljorg staff who make being the Indian Market grand poobah the best job in the entire museum. A special tip of the cap to Erinn Wold and Lisa Watt who are crazy good at being my team.


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