Inspired and Refreshed

A Season of Inviting Public Programs

After two years of COVID-related restrictions on public gatherings, the Museum of International Folk Art’s 2021 Día de los Muertos celebration was a sure sign that things were getting back to normal.

“It’s been really positive,” says Leslie Fagre, the museum’s director of education. “Everyone was masked, but they just seemed so happy to be doing something in person, something that’s joyful and celebratory.”

The museum’s best-attended annual party ushered in a new season of openings with a cautious move toward more in-person events. The long-awaited opening of Dressing with Purpose: Belonging and Resistance in Scandinavia in early December launched more than a year of public programming surrounding the Scandinavian dress traditions of Swedish folkdräkt, Norwegian bunad and Sámi gákti.

Virtual events in conjunction with Dressing with Purpose will complement in-person gatherings. Carrie Hertz, Dressing with Purpose curator, will discuss the exhibition via Zoom during an April 14 Museum of New Mexico Foundation virtual event. Online conversations with Scandinavian artists, a Midsommar floral crown making program, and a one-time online screening of the film Sámi Blood will also be on the calendar during the exhibition’s run through February 19, 2023.

Spring also brings public programming around continuing exhibitions. Traditional Spanish colonial dances with musical group Lone Piñon is part of the popular Música Buena: Hispano Folk Music of New Mexico. Yokai: Ghosts and Demons of Japan continues through October 2022 with new public programs, including workshops with Japanese Yokai artists.
Fagre urges members to keep checking the museum’s events page for virtual and in-person opportunities related to these and other exhibitions. “The excitement is there,” she says. “People want to come in and be inspired and refreshed.”

Return of the Folk Art Flea
While many event dates are still being finalized, one of the museum’s most popular annual events—the Folk Art Flea— is ready to return for its 11th year on Saturday, June 4. Sponsored by Friends of Folk Art, the museum’s dedicated member support group, this year’s fundraiser for museum education programs takes place in a spacious new location at the Santa Fe County Fairgrounds with the largest and most diverse inventory in its history.

“The Flea is back and it’s better than ever,” says Laurie Vander Velde, board member of Friends of Folk Art and a co-chair of the event. “We have three years of items that have been
lovingly preserved while the Flea was suspended. Now they are ready to grace other homes and give purchasers the joy of supporting the educational programs and exhibits of the Museum of International Folk Art.”

According to Khristaan Villela, the museum’s executive director, in its first 10 years the Flea has provided more than $500,000 in funding for the museum, with supplemental pop-up sales during the years of COVID-19 suspension.

“This funding enables us to be at the forefront of museum programs that range from the traditional to the innovative, representing cultural significance and creativity from across the globe,” Villela says.

Admission to the Flea is free, though Friends of Folk Art members enjoy early admission from 9 to 10 am. Public admission is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friends of Folk Art memberships will be offered at the event.

To support exhibitions and public programs at the Museum of International Folk Art, contact Laura Sullivan at 505.216.0829 or



This article is from Member News Spring 2022.

Image from Jenni Laiti in Street Gákti, now on view in the Dressing with Purpose exhibition. © Carl-Johan Utsi.