It’s often said that the best opportunities produce a win-win outcome, a conclusion in which both parties involved benefit by investing their time, talent and resources. When the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market at Arlington debuts in Downtown Arlington later this month, organizers are confident of a win-win-win: a win for the artists, a win for the city, and a win for everyone who attends this first-ever event.
Nurturing a vision
Since 2004, the International Folk Art Alliance (IFAA) has held an annual, international folk art marketplace in Santa Fe, NM. In that time, more than 700 artists from 87 countries have participated in what has become the world’s largest exhibition and sale of works by master folk artists. Earnings have exceeded $20 million and impacted over one million lives in the artists’ home communities.
Two years ago, long-time Arlington residents Dan and Linda Dipert traveled to Santa Fe to attend the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe. What began as a memorable shopping experience quickly turned into a passion as Linda Dipert began to learn more about the market’s positive economic impact. As she talked with Jeff Snell, CEO of IFAA, she learned that the organization was considering ways to expand their reach.
“IFAA wasn’t just giving fish to the artists and their communities; the organization was teaching them how to catch their own,” Linda said. “IFAA not only gives them an international platform from which to sell their goods but teaches them how to run a business.”
Inspired by the mission and impact of IFAA, Linda approached Ronnie Price, President and CEO of the Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau, and several community leaders including Cindy Dao of The Dao Group, Tarrant County Commissioner Andy Nguyen, Matthew Loh with Asia Times Square, Tony Pompa of Pompa’s General Assembly, and Dr. Aaron D. Reich, member of the Arlington ISD Board of Trustees. It wasn’t long before the group more formally reached out to Snell and a partnership began to form. Other organizations, such as the University of Texas at Arlington, joined the grassroots effort, and soon it became clear that the IFAA would chose Arlington, Texas as the first-ever city outside of Santa Fe to host their internationally renowned market.
The world converges
Now, nearly two years in the making, the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market at Arlington will take place on June 16-17, 2017. The market will feature 35 master artists and their handmade goods from such diverse countries as Italy, Ghana, Uzbekistan, Nigeria, Ukraine, South Sudan, Myanmar and Peru.
In addition to selling at the market, artisans will participate in exchanges with AISD and UT Arlington. They’ll showcase their culture and craft with students and learn about product pricing, marketing and entrepreneurship from UTA faculty. Artisans will also have the opportunity to connect with potential wholesale buyers in Dallas.
“Whatever the results, the festival is already a success,” Linda said. “The IFAA has been tremendously supportive, we’ve built a sustainable planning committee structure, our volunteer base continues to build, and our sponsors have already made commitments for both this year and next.”
Jeff Snell agrees. “IFAA is thrilled to find in Arlington, Texas the right partners – the Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau, the University of Texas at Arlington, the Arlington Cultural Tourism Council, civic leaders, and stellar community leaders in Linda Dipert and Tony Pompa – to help create more opportunities for artisan-entrepreneurs from around the world.”
Schedule and more information
The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market at Arlington will be held at the Green at College Park on the UT Arlington campus. Ticket prices for the market vary. Visit folkartalliance.org/arlington for more information, participating artist bios and to purchase tickets in advance.
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An official State of Texas Cultural District, Downtown Arlington, Texas blends a unique mix of activities, sights, tastes and sounds that attract visitors and locals alike. Within its less than a two-mile radius, Downtown is home to a top tier public research university, prolific fine and performing artists and arts institutions, live entertainment, exciting NCAA and professional athletics, one-of-a-kind dining and retail, and a supportive business climate. Downtown Arlington brings together a plethora of cultures and inspirations with a character all its own.