Phoenix hosts huge Native American art festival

Toney Mitchell, Navajo Jewelry ArtistIn March, all roads lead to Phoenix for collectors and lovers of Native American jewelry and art. The annual Heard Museum Indian Market attracts over 700 artists who consider it a privilege to display and sell their art at The Heard.

One of Arizona’s most significant cultural events, the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market, the state’s largest, continues to combine innovative new artists and activities with the timeless traditions of the Southwest. The Fair is a world-acclaimed festival that draws nearly 20,000 visitors.

Spending a day at the Heard Indian Market will be a day full of culture, color, food and entertainment.  You’ll encounter nationally known artists and up and coming young artists. There will be something for everyone from $12 children’s books to $1200 necklaces. You can go to the Heard and spend a few dollars or drain your piggybank on a collector’s piece.

Favorites include Colin Coonsis, young Zuni contemporary jewelry artist, who excels in beautiful inlay work. I always enjoy seeing local Native Americans such as Michael Chiago, Tohono O’odham, who paints beautiful scenes of southern Arizona  reservation life.Colin Coonsis Zuni Inlay Artist I enjoy seeing Tone Mitchell’s work. He is from Flagstaff and combines traditional Navajo design with a contemporary flair.

Scottsdale ArtWalk
When you go to the Santa Fe Indian Market you may as well spend a week or more. There are gallery openings, receptions and special shows all through the week preceding the market. Now the Phoenix market is expanding with additional events. Scottsdale is hosting a special Native American ArtWalk the Thursday before the market festivities begin.

Tips for Enjoying the Heard Indian Market
It gets crowded at Indian Market so be sure and go when it opens.
Bring a hat and wear sunscreen. Most of the market is outdoors.
Pick up a schedule so you don’t miss colorful Indian dances and music.
Food vendors can get very busy so consider eating early or late.
Plan to spend the day so you can visit an talk with as many vendors as possible. You won’t want to miss a single thing!
Be sure and purchase something within your means. The people who travel to Indian Market are dependent on your purchases to make a living and to keep purchasing supplies to create more art.

More Information:
Heard Museum Website

Photo Credit: Elizabeth R. Rose

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