After 70 years, the Traditional Spanish Market will have a new organizer.
On Wednesday, the Atrisco Heritage Foundation was named as the new operational stewards of the market.
Atrisco Heritage Foundation and the Spanish Colonial Arts Society came to an agreement for the Albuquerque-based company to take the helm of putting on the market on the Plaza in Santa Fe.
“We are proud to preserve a community and cultural event with a long-standing history in Santa Fe, and we are excited for the future of the (Traditional) Spanish Market,” said Peter Sanchez, Atrisco Heritage Foundation CEO. “We are grateful for (Spanish Colonial Arts Society’s) many years facilitating the market.”
The 71st annual Traditional Spanish Market, which was founded by the Spanish Colonial Arts Society, will be held on July 28-30.
According to the Atrisco Heritage Foundation, the Spanish Colonial Arts Society will remain a supporter of the Spanish arts community and the market.
Donna Pierce, a SCAS board member, said, “We believe Atrisco is the perfect organization to carry forward Spanish Market. Their history as a Spanish land grant people and as a nonprofit organization, along with their successful record of sustaining organizations and programs such as Mariachi Spectacular and Fathers Building Futures, make them a perfect selection to manage Spanish Market.”
In recent months, internal problems at the Spanish Colonial Arts Society were beginning to show, putting the market’s future in doubt. Scott Malouf, who was SCAS board of directors president, said he resigned from his position because of infighting within SCAS.
According to tin artist Jerry Montoya, who has shown in the Traditional Spanish Market for 10 years, there were options for running the market being thrown around.
Montoya and santero Charlie Carrillo were two longtime artists who were named to a transition team that was formed to find new leadership for the market after the SCAS had announced six months ago a desire to cease operating the event.
One idea was to find a nonprofit interested in the market, Montoya said. Other options included asking the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe or New Mexico businessman Jim Long and his Heritage Hotels to take it over.
In the end, it was Atrisco Heritage Foundation that will take the reins.
Atrisco Heritage Foundation is the pillar that supports the popular Mariachi Spectacular in Albuquerque during the summer. The programming includes mariachi camp for students, as well as free performances around the city. A concert — usually held at Sandia Resort and Casino — serves as the finale for the event.
The foundation also is a support organization for descendents of the Atrisco Land Grant, which dates back to 1692.
Montoya said having Atrisco Heritage Foundation at the helm is the best option for the event.
Prior to being in Traditional Spanish Market, Montoya was in the Contemporary Hispanic Market for 10 years. That market, which is operated by its own nonprofit, runs concurrent with the Traditional Spanish Market.
“We know there is going to be a market and I think the artists are happy with that,” Montoya said. “At one point, many artists were ready to take it over themselves, but SCAS owns the rights to the name and the dates on the Plaza. It seems like (the change is) a great option for everybody all around.”
Nicolás Otero, a santero who has been in Traditional Spanish Market for 26 years, said he took the time on Wednesday to learn a little bit more about Atrisco Heritage Foundation after the announcement was made.
“I looked over the folks who are on their board,” Otero said. “I was impressed that Roberta Ricci is part of the board because she values culture and its preservation and future. I think it’s a great fit.”
Ricci is a former director of the National Hispanic Cultural Foundation and is the current chief experience officer at the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce.
Otero said he will wait to see how logistics will be worked out for this year’s market and sees an optimistic vantage for the future.
“This could turn into something spectacular,” Otero said. “We haven’t had mariachis at (Traditional) Spanish Market in years. As artists, we need to familiarize ourselves with the Atrisco Heritage Foundation and see how we can collaborate with them to represent ourselves and our culture in the best way possible.”