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Artist/Exhibitor Information

2020 Classification Standards Virtual Awards Program

Frequently Asked Questions Applications and Jurying

What is the application and jurying process for Indian Market selection?

Artists that wish to apply for the upcoming Indian Market must fill out an application.  The application includes sections on contact info, proof of tribal enrollment in a Federally American/Canadian recognized tribe/band/corporation, images of the artists’ work and descriptions, certification statements, and an application fee.  Upon submission, the application and images are reviewed by a panel of jurors who then give a score based on 4 criteria.  The score is then totaled with a possible high of 300 points.  Artists are selected based upon that score, with a percentage of placed artists dependent upon the number of applicants in each classification.

When does this occur? What is the criteria?

The scoring criteria focuses on four areas:  Technical Execution, Concept/Design/Creativity, Aesthetics, and Indian Market Standards.  Each juror can award 25 points in each criterion for a maximum total of 100 points per juror, with a perfect score from all three jurors being 300 possible points.

This scoring system is superior to the old 3 criteria system with a max score of 15 (Each juror scored 5 points in each criterion; for a total of 15, then all three scores were averaged).  The new system decreases the chance for duplicate scores.  For example, in 2014, under the old system, jewelry scores averaged 14 points out of 15 in order to be placed.  With only 80 spots available but 140 scores of 14 or higher, who chose which artists were placed?

The new scoring system gives artist applicants more opportunities to differentiate themselves, and  gives SWAIA a more accurate breakdown of scores so we can establish cutoffs for accepted, waitlist, and unaccepted artists.

What if I don’t have access to a computer?

You still can fill out a hard copy and send in the images as usual via a thumb drive or CD.  To request a printed copy of the application, please call the office at 505-983-5220.

How many artists are accepted into Indian Market each year?

There are approximately 735 booths each year at market with approximately 930 artists accepted with many artists sharing booths with other artists.

Who decides who is accepted?

Jurors for the application process are selected from individuals who have long-time expertise or knowledge in each classification.  These individuals have included accomplished and longtime artists, museum curators, experienced collectors, and art educators. Jurors with potential conflicts of interest are avoided; for example, a gallery owner that deals in Native sculptors would probably not be selected as a juror for sculpture.

How will I be notified if I am accepted?

Acceptance letters with booth assignments will be sent via Postal Service in early March 2020. Please allow for potential delays due to weather or schedule conflicts in juror sessions.


What is SWAIA’s tenure policy?

Until 2016, the Tenure Program allowed artists with Tenure status to bypass the jurying process and receive automatic admission into Indian Market.  Most years, Tenured artists simply sent us an application but were NOT required to submit images or undergo the jurying selection process.

Who created this policy?

Tenure Program was started in 1992 when the application process moved to jurying for new artist applicants. The program was only meant to be a two-year program to alleviate the fear of long-time artists having to jury in. The program however has not been applied equally to all deserving artists.

Why has this changed?

Various SWAIA Boards and staff have been agonizing over the abolishment of the program for 25 years and while none elected to fully end the program, 17 years ago SWAIA decided no more artists would be added to the program.  Artists would have naturally lost tenure status through death or missing Indian Market for some reason.  This meant that the number of tenured artists would get smaller and smaller over the years.  Unfortunately, not all Directors chose to follow this policy and awarded tenure status to some artists for many different reasons.   Four years ago, the Board came to the decision that in order to be fair to ALL artists, the tenure program must end.

Does this new policy help promote younger artists?

Not necessarily.  Great Native artists should be present at our show, regardless of age.  Being an all-juried show however does have many positive benefits.  The prestige and high-level fine art that Indian Market is known for will be preserved.  Jurying encourages a healthy competitiveness and allows all artists the opportunity to present their best work.  There is an incentive to develop and grow as an artist.


What is the cost for applying to Indian Market?

The application fee for artists applying to Indian Market varies depending on whether you are submitting your application online or in a hard copy form. Fees are as follows:   Online application  $35.00  Hard Copy application  $50.00

Can I keep the same booth from year to year at Indian Market?

Booth placement is at the discretion of SWAIA.  We do place try to accommodate long time artists in the same booths they occupied prior year but cannot ensure that it will always be in the same place.

How will my collectors find me if my booth assignment changes?

We do try to ensure that the booth guide is as accurate as possible.  Additionally, in 2016 we launched a new Indian Market App for mobile phones.  An artist can be searched by name and then a “pin” shows the spot where the artist’s booths is located.  Official events, amenities, and partner events are also listed on the mobile phone app.

How do you determine booth assignments?

We place juried artists in booths based upon their score and the size of booth requested.  We generally try and place artists in the booths that they were in from the year before if they are returning artists.  We also will try and accommodate a new artist’s request if there is availability in their requested area.

Can I share my booth with another artist?

Yes, up to three accepted artists can share a small booth space, and up to four can share a large booth space.

What are Standards Monitors?

Santa Fe Indian Market is known for the highest level of Native art forms. Monitors review booths, take photos, and even “Secret Shop” to ensure that no violations of the Indian Market Standards Manual occur. It is ALL artists’ job however to not only follow the standards but assist SWAIA with maintaining the integrity of Market.

Who do I contact if I have problems with my application or photos?

Please contact the SWAIA offices if you have any questions or issues with the application or submitting photos.  The office number is 505-983-5220.