History of the Fair

In 1959, the first Indian Fair was held and in 1968 the Heard Guild Arts & Crafts Exhibit was created as a juried competition. These two events were the basis of the current Indian Fair & Market, the Guild’s main fund-raising event and the largest annual public event held at the Heard.

The first Heard Museum Indian Fair was held in May 1959 providing an opportunity for Native American artists to display and sell their work. That first year Bruce Timeche (Hopi) set up an easel on the lawn and painted canvases for sale.  A young Charles Loloma (Hopi) demonstrated and sold pottery and fashion designer, Lloyd Kiva New (Cherokee) held a fashion show. Other well-known artists participating that year included Ida Redbird (Maricopa Indian potter), Lucy Lewis (Pima basketry), Fred Kabotie (Hopi painter), Willie Shaw (Navajo jeweler), and Myron Frederick (Hopi Katsina carver). One of the first men to join the Heard Museum Guild volunteers, Senator Barry Goldwater served as the Fair Master of Ceremonies for many years.

Building on the success of the Fair, the first national all-Indian juried competition show and sale known as the All-Indian Arts and Crafts Exhibit, was initiated in November 1968.  This exhibit encouraged Native artists from across the country to enter their best works in hopes of winning prizes, which bolstered their professional reputations and artistic careers.  In 1990, the Arts & Crafts Exhibit became the Best of Show Juried Competition and joined with the Indian Fair creating the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market.

A long-standing nationally recognized event, the Fair is the second largest live art market of its kind in the country. Pre-pandemic, the live event featured more than 600 Native artists including well established and acclaimed talents along with a new and upcoming generation. Breath-taking works across a wide variety of traditional and cutting-edge media dazzled visitors each year. Held the first weekend of March, the live Fair attracts over 10,000 guests and has become a gathering place for art lovers and the community to celebrate and learn about Native art and culture. The 2020 hybrid event with a virtual art marketplace and a live and online juried competition show and sale offers a different opportunity to celebrate these same indigenous arts and cultures.

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