For the past 60 years, the Heard Museum Guild has worked with superb American Indian artists to present an annual event at the museum that gives visitors an opportunity to meet with the artists and learn how they create their work. Charles Loloma, Fred Kabotie, Maria Martinez, Adam and Santana Martinez, and Helen Cordero were all exhibitors at early Heard Museum Guild Indian Fairs.
The number of artists invited to the Fair grew as the museum’s campus grew. In 1985, the Guild added “Market” to the event’s name, making it the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market. As a way to further showcase the artists’ talents, a juried competition with cash awards was created for the Friday evening before the Fair & Market in 1991. Named the Best of Show event, it was an important and needed successor to the juried Heard Museum Guild Arts and Crafts Show that had ended in fall 1984.
The talented artists who show their work at the Fair every year offer the Heard Museum an opportunity to acquire pieces for its permanent collection. Collectors who are Heard supporters have donated to the museum award-winning pieces that they purchased at the Fair. Generous donors have provided funds to the museum earmarked for the purchase of artworks for the permanent collection. And for a number of years, the Heard Museum Council has donated proceeds from its successful Appraisal Day events for museum Fair purchases.