One of the Midwest’s most iconic cultural weekends takes place June 24-25 in Indianapolis when the Eiteljorg Indian Market and Festival returns for its 31st year. Approximately 140 Native artists from across the United States and Canada will be at the Eiteljorg Museum to show and sell their jewelry, pottery, paintings, beadwork, weavings, carvings and more. Visitors can enjoy onstage cultural performances such as music, storytelling and dance.
At Indian Market and Festival, seasoned collectors and general market-goers alike appreciate the personal interactions with artists and learning about their artwork, process and cultures. The event forges relationships between artists and their collectors, builds support for and interest in Native art generally, and is a family-friendly cultural experience for those eager to learn more about Native peoples.
“Since its inception in 1993, the annual Eiteljorg Museum Indian Market and Festival has grown in stature to become one of the top Native American art markets in the country, as well as a must-do event on the downtown Indianapolis summer calendar. Artists, performers and thousands of market-goers and art buyers have come together at the Eiteljorg to celebrate Native arts and cultures,” said Alisa Nordholt-Dean, vice president for public programs and Beeler family director of education at the Eiteljorg.
Indian Market and Festival is presented by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council and the Indiana Soybean Alliance. To show and sell art at Indian Market and Festival, artists must be enrolled members of a federally or state-recognized tribe and present their art to a panel of selectors. Many of the participating artists also enter their artwork for judging as part of the weekend’s juried art competition, which includes awards and cash prizes across various categories. Artists’ booths will be inside the museum and outdoors on the Eiteljorg grounds.
Market-goers also can experience the completely reimagined Native American Galleries featuring the exhibition Expressions of Life: Native Art in North America, which opened in June 2022. The new galleries showcase Native art in a multi-sensory space creating a contextual experience – organized around the themes of relation, continuation and innovation – that demonstrates a continuum of Native art told through the voices of Native peoples.
For Eiteljorg Museum members, free admission to Indian Market and Festival is available for the individuals named on the membership card with the option to bring two adult guests at $20 per guest. Non-member adult tickets to the market can be purchased for $25 at the gate either day. Advance discount tickets are available for $20 online at Eiteljorg.org/IndianMarketandFestival or by calling 317.636.9378. Youth and children ages 17 and under will have free admission on market weekend. Tickets to Indian Market and Festival also include admission to the entire museum and the new Native American Galleries, as well as the Eiteljorg’s other ongoing exhibitions, including the traveling exhibit Changing Views: The Photography of Dorothea Lange.
Eager art-buyers who want to get an early start on shopping can register for the Market Morning Breakfast taking place at 8 a.m. Saturday, June 24, at the museum; it includes early access to the artists’ booths, and a breakfast catered by Kahn’s Catering. For reservations ($50 for members, $60 for non-members), visit https://eiteljorg.org/market-morning-breakfast-invitation-only/.
There will be a variety of delicious food truck options at Indian Market and Festival, including popular fry bread and Navajo tacos. Visitors of all ages will enjoy a wide range of musical performances, dance and storytelling, as well as family art-making activities. Performers are scheduled on the Indian Market outdoor stage under The Sails both days, June 24-25, and are included with admission. Performance groups are:
Yellow Bird Dancers of Phoenix, Arizona, a professional family dance company performing songs, dances and stories, and led by Ken Duncan (San Carlos Apache Tribe)
Firefly the Hybrid of the Penobscot Nation, a multimedia artist from Maine who performs traditional and contemporary music
Randy, Rykelle and Raven Kemp, a family of storytellers, artists and musicians from the Choctaw, Euchee and Muscogee Creek peoples of Oklahoma
The Levi Platero Band (Navajo Nation), an award-winning act that performs guitar blues and rock.
Visit Eiteljorg.org/IndianMarketandFestival for a schedule of performance times.
The signature image for the 31st annual Indian Market and Festival depicts a quillwork and beadwork bag, created by artist Monica Jo Raphael (Anishinaabe / Sičáŋğu Lakota), titled Nuh-Mah-Nuh Daawina Akiin (Homelands of the Comanche People). The image appears on commemorative Indian Market and Festival T-shirts available through the Eiteljorg Museum Store.
This year also will be the final Indian Market and Festival during the tenure of Eiteljorg President and CEO Emeritus John Vanausdall, who has presided over the market’s arts awards presentation each year. Vanausdall is retiring from the museum June 30 after nearly 27 years.
“I have enjoyed greatly the friendships with artists, collectors and market-goers at Indian Market and Festival over the years. The Indianapolis community has embraced the event. It is rewarding to see many artists return to participate in the market each year and bring their families – and to see the children of some of those longtime market artists become artists themselves,” Vanausdall said.
In addition to presenting sponsors the Indiana Corn Marketing Council and Indiana Soybean Alliance, the 31st annual Indian Market and Festival is sponsored by the Margot L. Eccles Arts and Culture Fund, a CICF fund; Raymond James and Associates in Indiana; and the Penrod Society.