By Anthony Belvado
Once again, I’ve been accepted in the 61st annual Heard Museum Indian Fair and Market after submitting all the materials needed, along with an application. Now the waiting period is over.
The last week of February, and a lot of preparation is involved last minute of unfinished work that needs to get ready. Touch-up painting, stringing up instrument, check and re-checked, what is needed? Do I have everything that I need? The harried week comes to a close.
The early morning starts at 4 a.m. that Saturday, start loading up the vehicle with all the supplies needed, again, check and re-check.
We depart our yard, going on Route 6 heading west, continued on Highway 70 still going west. There were just a few early morning drivers heading towards their destinations as we continue passing all of the local communities, Globe, Miami and Superior.
As we approached Apache Junction, we got on the freeway and passed more communities. Finally, we arrived in Phoenix. We exited I-10 and Seventh Street and continued on McDowell and Third Street.
We exited Monte Vista and finally and slowly enter the Heard Museum gate. I presented my pass card to the Heard Museum representative and we got clearance to unload. We parked and lined up vehicle after vehicle.
At this time, it is rush hour, artist style. Artists unloaded their supplies, pushing and pulling dollies of paintings, potteries or showcase stands. It was a mad rush heading to the booths. There were rows of booth after booth, along with food vendors, all in preparation of the morning’s opening.
As we got to our destination, we had no idea what to expect or how the day would turn out. Thoughts raced through my mind: Will I make a sale? Who will I meet — old acquaintances or new ones?
We unload and once again make a mad rush for an available parking space.
Always trying to park as close to the site as possible, in case something is unloaded, meaning having to carry it. After parking and locking up the vehicle, we make sure to have a pass or badge to get past the security post. All of the artists gathered some paintings in hand, some pushing or pulling dollies with all their supplies.
We wait at the crosswalk for the lights to change. As the lights change, the artists walk across the crosswalk. Some are known, others are not. We make our way to the security gate and to our destination. Finally, at our booth we started setting it up.
In this 61st annual show, my grandson, Jerimiah Wilson, made the student artist listing under Demo. My hopes are that my grandkids keep this tradition alive and continue to follow the Indian Market Trail.
I greeted my first customer and answered whatever questions they had about the art form. This is where the ice was broken, and everything fell into place.
Remember ,as an artist, I am also representing your affiliate tribe, which would be San Carlos Apache Tribe. As people pass through the booth, I noticed tribal affiliation. Some people knew, and others didn’t. They usually asked if so and so San Carlos was still there or not, or where is at.
Over the years, the Indian Market Trails has taken me across three different states, representing my name and my art. But as an artist, the real satisfaction I get is when I see my work leave my booth after being bought by a customer.
Some shows are better than others, but it all comes with the territory, you might say. After greeting and meeting with customers in the two-day event and anniversary, there were all kinds of questions as the show came to an end.
This is all about who people are as a Native artist on the Indian Market Trail, wherever it may lead.