Jerry Montoya is always looking for a way to foster community among artists.
For years, Montoya was at the helm of “La Fiesta de Colores” in Grants, which featured New Mexico artists.
When that ran its course, Montoya was asked to curate another arts festival – this time in Gallup.
In 2015, the Sacred Heart Spanish Market was born.
This year the event is back to full capacity and will take place beginning Friday, June 17, through Sunday, June 19, at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Gallup.
Montoya says when he curates the show, he wants it not only to have quality work, but feel like a family.
“We have approximately 40 artists and most of them are from Traditional Spanish Market and Contemporary Spanish Market in Santa Fe,” he says. “While it’s mainly all santero-type art, there are contemporary pieces.”
Though it’s through invite-only, he wanted to make it worth it for the artists.
“There is no booth fee,” he says. “We get each artist a room for a night in a hotel. We feed them. These are all things that used to exist for shows like this. It was really nice to be able to give these accommodations to the artists.”
Montoya works in tin.
“I’ve been doing shows for over 25 years now,” he says. “This show was designed to not be like selling in Santa Fe. It’s more family-oriented. All the artists are good friends and we actually have the time to chat with people that are buying or looking at the art work. It’s a more mellow pace.”
Montoya is also grateful to Gallup and the surrounding communities for supporting the market.
He says when it started, there was no blueprint for what would happen.
“The community came out not only to the market, but to the fiesta that is held with it,” he says. “It’s been amazing to see the support from all the communities. There are people who drive in from Arizona and California specifically for this show.”
Some of the artists to be included will be Charlie Carillo, Arlene Cisneros Sena, Isaiah Lopez, Jon Sanchez, Adrian Montoya, Juan Lopez, Federico Prudencio, Carlos Marez, Jeremy Montoya and more.
Montoya says he’s always looking for younger artists to be part of the market.
“We do have budding artists getting involved because we have to pass on the tradition,” he says. “We have my son, Jeremy, and Jon Sanchez who are part of contemporary market and they are bringing some new voices to the mix.”
During the event, there will also be a car raffle which will benefit the V8’s for Vocations, which was started in 2014 by the Rev. Matthew Keller.
The organization helps those called to the priesthood, a long and expensive process requiring a four-year bachelor degree followed by several years of graduate-level study at out-of-state seminaries. New Mexico has no Catholic seminary.