Tuesday, July 13, 2010


The importance of Artists having a plan, working collaboratively, and growing a global network
resonated with me this past week while visiting old and new friends and colleagues in Santa Fe New Mexico.

How often have you wondered?
How will I provide for me / or my family?
How can I make my life better?

As an artist how often do you work collaboratively with your peers?
or to help new comers to your field?
Deep down does the fear of not knowing where to start,
fear of your  competition, or  having to learn something new  stop you? (Your not alone!!!)

Let me share with you artists, some who come from the simplest means you could possibly imagine, many have lived and died trapped in oppressive deadly situations, from recent examples of natures wrath in Haiti to cultural wars in Rwanda, Kenya, So. Africa, and so many other countries. Despite a variety of incredible obstacles have organized, prioritized, and are realizing the success of planning, setting goals, and using their business plans to take CONTROL of their lives.

We were among an estimated 25 thousand visitors to the:

The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market www.folkartmarket.org/
The 2010 market featured 147 artists from all over the world.
Over half the artists attending for the 1st time. 1/3 of these artists were member of a Artist Co-operatives.

To kick off what is now billed as International Folk Arts Week, the Museum of International Folk Art also exhibited the work of women's cooperatives from Bolivia, Rwanda, Peru, Swaziland, India, Kenya, Laos, South Africa, Morocco and Nepal that are represented at market.
Artwork included- weaving, bead work, painting, baskets, embroidery and other traditional folk arts.

The Santa Fe Folk Art Gallery of Conscience exhibition at the museum featured:
"Empowering Women: Artisan Cooperatives That Transform Communities"

Featuring 10 multinational - Woman’s Co-operatives which were selected for this exhibit.

Each Co-Op has a different motivation- whether it is preserving a dying heritage, sustaining the environment, providing a safe haven from violence, it is art that binds them however, the growing consumer market drives them.

These women have all learned to work collaboratively, creating products, develop distribution networks, and to decide democratically how to distribute or invest the revenues- whether it will be for group health care, or village to village water systems, or providing college scholarship funds for their children.

In recognition of the huge impact these co-operatives have the United Nations have proclaimed 2012 as the international Year of Cooperatives.

I am highlighting two Women that I met, who touched my heart, and whom I admire, respect, and honor.
Each represents the trans formative power of women working together to provide for their families, educate themselves and their children, promote equality, be stewards to their environment , or give back to their communities.

Gahaya Links Cooperative- Rwanda Janet Nkubana

In 1994 100 days of horrific ethnic violence Rwandan Hutu’s Murdered 1 million Tutsis and moderate Hutus, heaving hundreds of thousands widowed and orphaned. Neighbors killed neighbors, war rape was a systematic means of Genocide. Recovering from this unspeakable tragedy was impossible to imagine. Ephigenia Mukantabana lost 65 members of her own family, but has forgiven her families killer who is now imprisoned. For Ephigenia healing began when she worked side by side with the man’s wife Ephigenia a member of a basket weaving co-op in their home village of Sough Province. From it’s humbled beginning of 20 women the company has now grown to a network of over 4,000 weavers from across the country organized into 52 cooperatives.

Teaching her art to both Huto’s and Tusis and the balm that restored her shattered life “Art Heals a hopeless soul” & Though interaction you reduce trauma,. Weaving is our hope for tomorrow.

Umoja Uaso Woman's Group A Safe Haven from Violence; KENYA Rebecca Lolosoli -

The Beginning of this Co-op was not about art, it was about survival- Rebecca and 16 other homeless women in 1990 founded the village of Umoja Uaso as a refuge for other Samburu women who were victims of beatings, rape, forced marriage, and other violent domestic crimes. Rebecca shared with me privately some very horrifying personal stories of the brutal existence, she and others are working hard to change.

"Umoja" means Unity in Maa (the same language spoken by the Masai) Umoja is now a safe haven for women and girls fleeing abuse, it is also a education and training center to promote human rights, economic empowerment, and the preservation of indigenous art and crafts.

Today Rebecca and other Umoja leaders inspire women throughout the nation through workshops such as the rights of the girl-child, female reproductive health, HIV/Aids, violence prevention, and wormen's rights.

I encourage you to check out the links I have provided at the end of this article to read about these organizations and individuals- and if you or someone you know is an artist(male OR female!) that wants to sustain their families & themselves- or make your community a better place and need business guidance- I provide business solutions for creative minds to succeed in evolving competitive markets.

"Divided there is little we can do, working together we can change the world"
- TE inspired by JFK

List of Co-op's at the market:

2010 Market by the numbers:

2010 Folk Art Market

175: Number of artists (half of them new to market)

53: Countries represented

400: Number of applicants

28: Sponsored artists

$200,000: Cost to pay for artists to come to Santa Fe

2009 Folk Art Market

123 artists from 46 countries

23,400 people attended (14.4 percent increase over 2008)

60 percent of attendees were visitors to Santa Fe

Generated $1.95 million in artists' sales

$152,257 in gross receipts tax paid on sales

Total economic impact estimated at $15.7 million

Over 1,500 volunteers worked for the market

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