A Bond between People
Written above the entrance to the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, are these important words: “The art of the craftsman is a bond between the peoples of the world.” And that’s what the Museum of International Folk Art is all about—connecting people with the arts, traditions, and cultures of the world. Founded in 1953 by Florence Dibell Bartlett, the Museum holds the world’s largest international folk art collection of more than 130,000 objects from six continents, representing over 100 nations.
The collection represents cultures and art forms from around the world, and, yes, that includes textiles and dress. A few of the highlights are textiles from India, traditional costumes from Macedonia, Palestinian dress and jewelry, and northern New Mexico weavings. The museum’s textile collection illustrates how these objects of both beauty and utility are integral to both daily life as well as ceremonial life.
Folk Art Treasure
Because the entire collection can never be displayed all at the same time, collections are carefully stored and cared for in a variety of storage areas. Lloyd’s Treasure Chest is a special gallery that offers a rotating close-up view of the Museum’s folk art collection. This gallery exhibition offers visitors a place to explore, interact, and create folk art and presents new ways to think about folk art and explore intangible forms of expressive culture, like music. While there is no one definition of folk art, Lloyd’s Treasure Chest embodies multiple perspectives and helps us come closer to an understanding of “What is Folk Art?”
In addition to the year-long Treasure Chest gallery exhibition, the Museum has several world-class exhibitions each year. Opening in July, Quilts from China explores traditional bed coverings in minority communities of southeast China. Crafting Memory: Contemporary Life and Folk Art in the Andes is an important new exhibition opening this winter.
There’s always something on at the Museum of International Folk Art—lectures, films, exhibitions, workshops, and more. Take time to explore and discover your own bond with the peoples of the world!
All Photos Courtesy of the Museum of International Folk Art.