Arlington is home to the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park, the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, Six Flags Over Texas, and many other attractions. Now, the city can add another notch to its event belt: the first-ever expansion of the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market.
Arlington surged ahead of Seattle, Vail, and Milwaukee for the festival’s expansion, according to a release.
At the market, which will be held June 16-17 at the University of Texas at Arlington’s The Green at College Park, visitors will find one-of-a kind, handmade clothing, accessories, shoes, and art made by artisan entrepreneurs from around the world.
“Diversity champions innovation, and this sets us apart from the rest of the DFW area.”
But, this is more than an art fair offering exclusive pieces. It represents growth of Santa Fe’s annual International Folk Art Market, an event that attracts 20,000 visitors, is now in its 14th year and, according to USA Today, is voted the “Best Art Festival in America.”
Arlington resident Linda Dipert, a folk artist who makes hooked rugs, is responsible for bringing the event to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She visited the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, learned about the social impetus driving it, and wanted to be a part of it.
“I think our city is the perfect spot for the market, because Arlington is the second most diverse city in Texas with the fifth most diverse school district and university. Diversity champions innovation, and this sets us apart from the rest of the DFW area,” Dipert told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
SPURRING SOCIAL CHANGE VIA ART
According to Santa Fe show sponsor International Folk Art Alliance, the event has a huge impact on the artists’ home communities, many of which are poverty-stricken towns and villages. The IFAA offers a program to artists from these villages, so they can grow their businesses, and be the catalyst for social change. To date, the training has reached 820 artists from more than 40 countries.
The artists take home an average of $20,000 from art sold in the U.S. What the artists bring home has accomplished a great deal, from building schools and infrastructure, to providing employment and medical supplies.
The fact that the Folk Art Market has a $13 million impact on the Santa Fe economy wasn’t lost on Dipert, either. She encouraged IFAA CEO Jeff Snell to visit Arlington, which he did with other board members. She enlisted help from Arlington residents to form a steering committee that marketed and financed the effort. About one-third of the market’s funding is coming from the IFAA, with remaining being covered by sponsors, ticket sales, and an Arlington Cultural and Tourism Council grant, according to the Star-Telegram.
“IFAA is thrilled to find in Arlington, Texas, the right partners-the Arlington Visitors and Convention Bureau, The University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington Cultural Tourism Council, civic leaders, and stellar community leaders in Linda Dipert and Tony Pompa, to help create more opportunities for artisan entrepreneurs from around the world,” Snell said in a release.