SWAIA Develops “NDN World:” A Virtual 3D World Showcasing Native Art

If you haven’t heard of NDN World yet, don’t worry, you will soon. In March, the Southwestern Association of Indian Arts, the non-profit that produces the 99-year-old Santa Fe Indian Market, embarked on a project with consulting partners, the Clark Hulings Fund and Free Agent Source to create a virtual gathering space. The virtual space, named NDN World, is the location of this year’s Santa Fe Indian Market Best-of-Show Awards.

Those of us working on the SWAIA project love it so much we hope to do more projects like this. Implementing virtual collaboration and expo space on the Vircadia platform for organizations and corporate clients is a growing practice area,” said Steve Pruneau, co-owner of Free Agent Source, responsible for consulting operations.

NDN WORLD—3D, modeled after the Santa Fe Convention Center with design elements such as a kiva fireplace from the La Fonda Hotel and textiles modeled from images of Shiprock Santa Fe’s collection, now exists on the open source Vircadia Platform. Vircadia is an online metaverse: participants can connect and create with others in an immersive and interactive virtual world. 

Avatars visiting NDN World in the Vircadia Multiverse

NDN World demonstrates the non-profit’s commitment to the future, embracing new ways of showcasing Native art and entrepreneurship in an increasingly digital world. “I think it is amazing that a Native American art festival is stepping into the virtual world. All of the collaborators on this year’s Virtual Indian Market are setting the bar, embracing the future,” said Elizabeth Hulings, founder of the Clark Hulings Fund for Visual Artists. 

SWAIA’s Executive Director Kim Peone (Colleville Confederated Tribes/ Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians) has a history of organizational leadership and enacting change. She is the first woman to lead SWAIA in the organization’s almost 100-year history. Her goals for SWAIA are both immediate and long term. 

“I immediately recognized the potential in creating a virtual space to showcase the best in Native art, to educate visitors about the North American Indigenous Nations and to gather with people from around the world,” said Executive Director Kim Peone. 

Join This Year’s Virtual Experiences:

On Saturday, August 15, SWAIA Members with Select/Premium and VIP Access will have the opportunity to attend the first-ever, live “In World” virtual awards program sponsored by JoAnn and Bob Balzer. Awards will be announced in 11 categories, including a newly designated Virtual Grand Award.

  • Jewelry
  • Pottery
  • 2-D
  • Pueblo Wooden Sculptures
  • Sculpture
  • Textiles
  • Diverse Arts
  • Beadwork/Quillwork
  • Basketry
  • Youth
  • Virtual Grand Award 

Special Awards will be presented in the following categories:

  • “Elaborate Face Masks”
  • “Solidarity in our Current Times”
  • “Executive Director’s Award: Honoring Your Mother and Father”

The Virtual Awards Program will begin In World at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 15, or visitors with Select/Premium and VIP access can watch the live-streamed event at 

August 22: SWAIA Gala and Benefit Auction

The Gala begins at 3:00 p.m. MST followed by the Benefit Auction at 4:00 p.m.

For additional information on how to install Vircadia software on a Mac or PC and an ‘In World’ user experience guide, visit SWAIA will offer technical support to members throughout the month of August, Monday to Friday, 12:00 pm (Mac Users) and 2:00 pm (PC Users). 


Press interested in previewing NDN World, please contact Audrey Rubinstein to join an In-World Press Preview.


            505.466.6992 or 505.490.5029 


About Virtual Indian Market:
The Indian Market 2020 (The Virtual Edition) is Delivered By Close Collaboration Between the SWAIA, the Clark Hulings Fund, ArtSpan, Vircadia and Madpipe.

Scroll to Top