No stranger to assisting artisans access the global market, Marideth Sandler met on November 20 with the International Folk Art Alliance’s Ms. Shawn McQueen-Ruggiero (Executive Director) and Ms. Judith Espinar (Creative Director); Ms. Michele A. Manatt of the Meridian House who also organized the meeting; Ms. Jan Du Plain and Ms. Allyson Browne McKithen of the International Trade Center; and other Washington women leaders interested in bringing a Folk Art Market here to the Washington area.
Formerly called the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, the Alliance recently celebrated its ten-year anniversary by holding a 21-hour market last July at which artisans sold $128,000 of their masterworks each hour. CBS recently featured the Market on its Sunday Morning program (http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50157040n)
Sandler Trade LLC co-sponsored and brought an artisan and textile expert from Timor-Leste’s Feto Forte weavers for the first time to the July 2013 Market. Having the opportunity to come to the United States, to learn about the U.S. eagerness to purchase high-quality, handwoven textile items, and to meet other artisans was a terrific experience for the Timor-Leste team, and they are eager to return. Their experience was echoed by the many other master folk artists from around the world who were chosen to participate and sell to the 20,000 buyers attending.
To celebrate the international folk arts in a town (i.e., Washington, D.C.) where there are 176 resident embassies and hundreds of thousands of residents from around the world or with international experience and interests would be a “perfect storm” of opportunity.
Take a look at this incredible website and video about the 2013 and upcoming 2014 Markets (http://www.folkartalliance.org/), and we think you’ll agree this is something for Washington to seriously consider.