Nanabah Aragon, an Arizona National Treasure. Photo courtesy of Greg Harrison.
Nanabah Aragon, an Arizona National Treasure. Photo courtesy of Greg Harrison.
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A handful of prominent Indian Arts Markets exist throughout the United States, most notably the annual Santa Fe Indian Market that traces its founding to the 1920s. In addition, events at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles, the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, and the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., and New York, comprise the most prestigious Native arts markets in the country. These markets serve as a venue for artists to sell their work, promote tourism, educate the public, and sustain artistic traditions that have endured for generations.

Ty Defoe performs. Image courtesy of the artist.
Ty Defoe performs. Image courtesy of the artist.

The Briscoe Western Art Museum in San Antonio is proud to join this prestigious cultural circuit with its inaugural Yanaguana Indian Arts Market the first weekend in October, named in honor of the San Antonio River’s earliest known name, given by the Payaya people who inhabited this region.

Located along San Antonio’s iconic River Walk, the Briscoe Museum opened to the public in October 2013. Our mission is to preserve and interpret the art, history and culture of the American West. Since the beginning of this year, the Museum has presented public programs and events that encourage dialogue about different cultures, traditions, and art forms, centered around the shared heritage of the West.

The Yanaguana Indian Arts Market, Oct. 4-5, will feature more than 20 of the most respected Native American artists from across the country, including weaver and Arizona Living Treasure, Nanabah Aragon (Navajo); Jody Folwell (Santa Clara Pueblo), matriarch of Native American avant-garde pottery; and Michael Horse (Pascua Yaqui), who is credited with reviving the contemporary ledger art genre. Participating artists represent more than a dozen federally recognized tribes and various parts of the country. Basketry, jewelry, carvings, ledger art, beadwork and pottery will be available for sale directly from the creators.

Mavasta Honyouti's carving entitled "Night Dance Series #2." Image courtesy of the artist.
Mavasta Honyouti’s carving entitled “Night Dance Series #2.” Image courtesy of the artist.

The weekend’s schedule is filled with dancing, drumming, music, artist demonstrations and Native American-inspired cuisine. Grammy Award winner Ty Defoe will perform his interactive hoop dance and United San Antonio Pow Wow, Inc., will demonstrate drumming and dancing. Museum tours, featuring work by contemporary Native American artists and a large interactive community basket will round out the offerings. Hopi artist and musician Ed Kabotie will discuss Hopi culture and perform contemporary music from his One Man Jam.

“My culture is the greatest inspiration of my music,” Kabotie said. “By mixing genres, languages, and instrumentation, I seek to express the virtues, values, and sometimes vices of my people.”

Leading up to the inaugural Yanaguana Market weekend, the Briscoe Museum will debut its Voices of the West Distinguished Lecture Series. Former U.S. Senator and jeweler Ben Nighthorse Campbell (Northern Cheyenne) will open this series at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 2. Campbell will speak about his role as an artist and his work with the passage of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, which expanded protections for Native artists and their work. He will also serve as a judge for our Yanaguana Market — helping to select awards for Best of Show, Honorable Mention, and Museum Purchase.

The Briscoe Western Art Museum abides by the Indians Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 which prohibits misrepresentation in marketing of Indian arts and crafts products within the United States. To learn more about Yanaguana Market, visit or call (210) 299-4499.

*Featured/top image: Nanabah Aragon, an Arizona National Treasure. Photo courtesy of Greg Harrison.

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Jenny Chowning / Briscoe Museum

Jenny Chowning is Senior Head of Education & Programs and has been with the Briscoe Museum since June 2013. She has worked in the non-profit arts sector for over 12 years—including positions at American...