After a year of absence, the Traditional Spanish Market returns in a family atmosphere | Local News
Lorrie Garcia can’t wait to see her family again after spending so much time away from them.
La santera de Peñasco, which has exhibited its work at the traditional Spanish market for 20 years, was disappointed when last year’s event was canceled due to the pandemic.
So, the return of the market this weekend applauded Garcia, who said that she considered her fellow artists at the event to be her siblings, cousins, parents.
Now, after two years, she will be able to interact with many of them again.
“Even though the family is smaller, it’s fine,” she said by phone from her studio.
The long-running event, held in the Plaza, has drawn tens of thousands of visitors in recent years. Randy Randall, Director of Tourism for the City of Santa Fe, said the Spanish market “is one of our anchor markets, not just for our culture and our history, but for our brand.”
The market will not be running at full capacity this year, as only 82 artists – just under half the usual number – have registered, said Yvonne Gillespie, director of finance and logistics for the Spanish Colonial Arts Society, who manages an event.
In addition, 22 young artists aged 7 to 17 will present their work in the youth category this year – again, around half of the usual entrants.
One of those young people is Leoncio Adams, 8, of Sapello in San Miguel County, who won the cathedral award this year for his age group for his retablo. Our Lady of Guadalupe.
A calm, polite, and unpretentious boy who almost prefers to talk about animals rather than art – he wants to be a vet and an artist when he grows up – Adams started creating art from his first day in kindergarten.
“I cried a lot”, he remembers this traumatic first day, experienced by many children. “There was this kid who drew a lot, so I copied him.”
Last year, during the pandemic, her mother, Celestina García, who is friends with famous New Mexico retablo artist Felipe Rivera, told her about her son’s artistic bent. He offered to mentor the youngster in order to bring him into the Spanish market.
They gave art lessons through Zoom, García said. Adams was a quick study, using all-natural materials to create his works on wood. He will have nearly 10 works of art at the market this weekend.
Adams said he works alone in his bedroom, thinking about the pictures as he paints. When asked what he thought of the attention, the award he won and his role in the Spanish market this year, he replied, after a moment of deliberation, “I did really no answer to that. ” Then he moved away to wrestle with a cousin.
Adams is not the only young artist happy to participate this year. Gabriel Durán d’Española, a 17-year-old jeweler, carpenter and blacksmith, has been participating in the market for eight years. He’s ready to come back with over 50 pieces of jewelry to show off and sell.
“It’s a joy for me to be back here to do something that I love after being broke last year,” he said by phone.
Durán, who won the grand prize in his age category this year at the market for one of his jewelry belts, said the restrictions caused by the pandemic – school closures, social distancing, stay orders in home – led him to focus more on his art last year.
“It was actually easier to create because I was always at home,” he said.
But he noted that he had heard “a lot of artists are not coming back this year”.
Jimmy Trujillo from Albuquerque is the one who won’t be in Santa Fe this weekend. But Trujillo, who had participated in all the markets from 1986 to 2019, said he was not staying at home because of the pandemic.
On the contrary, he said he did not have enough time to prepare enough works. His pieces of straw can take weeks to finish, he said.
“I didn’t find out until too late that the market was going to happen,” Trujillo said. “The straw work done in the traditional way takes too long to heal, so there was no way I could do enough of the work to get my money’s worth. “
He said his decision hadn’t made him sad, but “I’m sad for some of my fellow artists who haven’t been able to make it this year. For those who end up relying on the market for their money, this can be tough. “
Whether the event will draw the crowds it drew in its heyday – Randall estimates the figure to be around 50,000 in most years – is another question. Gillespie and several other performers said they thought people were eager to go back and check out some of the city’s popular events, like the traditional Spanish market.
While some participating artists said sales and visitors were down in the years leading up to the pandemic, Gillespie and Randall both said 2019 was a good year for the market. Gillespie said it was “probably true” that attendance and sales had declined a few years ago.
For Lorrie Garcia, monetary matters mean less than the chance to get back into the world in a normal way.
“It may be less crowded,” she said. “But this is a time and place for immediate and extended families to come together. They love to come to our state and visit the market, then go visit loved ones who live in New Mexico. For them, it is. is like having a real family reunion with blood relatives. “