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SWAIA Hires Ira Wilson (Navajo) as Executive Director of the Prestigious Santa Fe Indian Market

Mr. Wilson is a Native art expert with vast experience in artist management and promotion

February 19, 2018; Santa Fe, New Mexico: The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) (swaia.org) is pleased to announce the appointment of Ira Wilson (Navajo) as its new Executive Director, effective February 26, 2018. SWAIA is the non-profit that produces the 97-year-old Santa Fe Indian Market, the world’s oldest, largest and most prestigious juried Indian art market. 

Ira Wilson spent 26 years as the Lead Buyer for the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center (IPCC) (indianpueblo.org) in Albuquerque, where he transformed Shumakolowa from a small gift shop into an international online resource for the finest Native art. At Shumakolowa (shumakolowa.com), Mr. Wilson provided economic opportunity to a wider and more diverse group of Native artists and educated the public about Native arts and culture. “With my expertise in management, finance, personnel, multiple facets of Native arts, techniques, materials and motifs, I will be a strong advocate, a staunch cheerleader, and an accessible and fair advocate for Native artists,” he says. Mr. Wilson takes over as SWAIA’s Executive Director from Dallin Maybee, who served in the capacity for almost four years.


Ira Wilson is originally from Teec Nos Pos, AZ, in the Four Corners area- where he was raised in a traditional Navajo way with influence from his grandmother, a weaver. He has connections to both the traditional and contemporary Native art world, an asset that will serve SWAIA well as it heads into its 100th year in 2021. 

Elizabeth Kirk (Isleta Pueblo/Navajo), Board Chair for SWAIA, says, “Ira brings decades of experience in business and artistry, as well as a strong dedication to the cause of Native artists and the arts. He will take the organization in a direction which will insure SWAIA continues to evolve, sustaining our mission and vision in the years to come.”

The 97th annual event will take place on August 18 and 19, 2018.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Amanda Crocker 
505 983-5220
acrocker@swaia.org