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Editor's Pick: Santa Fe's Global Folk Art Festival

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There are many reasons to visit Santa Fe in the summer—the museums and art galleries, the chamber music festival, the Santa Fe Opera—not to mention, the city’s restaurants or its glorious high desert setting, but the best reason for this weekend (July 8-10) is the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market.

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One-hundred fifty artisans from 49 countries, chosen by a panel of U.S. folk art curators, gather at booths at Museum Hill to display and sell their creations.  There you’ll find Ralli quilts from the Hindu Kush of Pakistan, silk scarves in brilliant hues from Madagascar, jewelry from Niger, papier-mâché objects from Haiti, elaborately designed, glazed ceramics from Michoacán, Mexico. Not your grandmother’s crafts: the work is as fine in craftsmanship as it is dazzling in beauty.  Support of it through purchase contributes to preservation of cultural traditions and at the same time makes a decisive impact on lives in participating countries, Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, through the building of schools, cultivation of crops, and prevention of illnesses.

If the bigness of global enterprise wasn’t alluring enough, there is international food on a comparable scale as well as music from Senegal, whirling dervishes from Turkey, and Latin rock.  And where else are you going to see master artists from Israel and the Palestinian Territories, China and Tibet, displaying their work side-by-side?

Mario Mercado is the arts editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photos courtesy of Hilario Alejos (Ralli quilt) and The Artisan Group (woven animals)

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