Press Release

Santa Fe Indian Market Announces Search for New Director

New Executive Committee and Two New Staff Members Appointed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—October 1, 2019; Santa Fe, NM: Santa Fe Indian Market— the world’s oldest and most prestigious juried Native American art market celebrated its 98th year this August, maintaining its reputation as the world’s leading destination for Native fine art. With just two years until Santa Fe Indian Market’s centennial, the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA)’s Board of Directors made a unanimous decision last week to terminate their relationship with Executive Director, Ira Wilson (Diné) and to conduct a search for new senior leadership.

“We are grateful to Ira for the time he acted as the Executive Director. He performed his job well and the 2019 market was very successful,” said Board Chair, Tom Teegarden.

The Board’s decision reflects its intention to appoint a director to lead SWAIA through the centennial year (2021) and into its next century. Two senior staff members, Yvonne Gillespie (Finance) and Amanda Crocker (PR & Marketing Director), will share the interim Directorship. Both are devoted, competent staff members who know the organization well and will ensure the continuous operation until a new director is hired.

The new Executive Committee, voted on at the September Board meeting, is as follows:

Chair: Tom Teegarden

Vice-Chair: Randy Chitto (Choctaw)

Secretary: Chris Youngblood (Santa Clara Pueblo)

Treasurer: Mark Bahti

Rounding out the board are Elizabeth Kirk (Isleta Pueblo/Diné), Stephine Poston (Sandia Pueblo), Traci Rabbit (Cherokee Nation of OK), Lloyd “Skip” Sayre and Dominique Toya (Jemez Pueblo).

This summer, SWAIA hired two full-time staff members. Eric Villegas (Acoma Pueblo) became SWAIA’s Artist Services Manager in July. Villegas will support artists through the entire process of application, acceptance/booth assignments and participation in Summer and Winter Markets.

Jamie Schulze (Northern Cheyenne/Lakota) was appointed Membership and Volunteer Coordinator after a successful contract at this year’s market. Schulze is a former owner of the Bavarian Lodge & Restaurant in Taos Ski Valley. “I am honored to promote Santa Fe Indian Market’s mission: bringing Native arts to the world.”

SWAIA is currently focused on revisions to the 2020 Indian Market artist applications, which will open on November 1st; planning for outreach into rural communities to assist artists with the process, and preparing for the annual Winter Indian Market, which will take place on December 14th and 15th at La Fonda on the Santa Fe Plaza.



Audrey Rubinstein

The METTA Agency


About SWAIA:

The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) is a non-profit organization supporting Native American arts and culture. It creates economic and cultural opportunities for Native American artists by producing and promoting the Santa Fe Indian Market, the biggest and most prestigious Indian art event in the world since 1922.

SWAIA plays an ongoing role in supporting Native American arts and culture year-round, cultivating excellence and innovation across traditional and non-traditional art forms and developing programs and events that support, promote, and honor Native artists.