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New website to promote Native American art

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — This month’s launch of a Native American art website signals the first partnership between Albuquerque’s Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and the Santa Fe-based Southwestern Association for Indian Arts.

Shumakolowa.comis an e-commerce site dedicated to promoting and selling authentic Native American-created art.

“We have the resources and the capacity to build the website,” cultural center president Michael Canfield said. “SWAIA has the artists.”

The 94-year-old SWAIA is the umbrella organization for the Santa Fe Indian Market.

Founded in 1976, the cultural center is more than a museum, Canfield said. Its mission is both entrepreneurial and economic. Owned by New Mexico’s 19 pueblos, the center has invested in a technological team as well as outside support to create a world-class website, Canfield said.

“So it’s a natural fit for us to partner with SWAIA.”

The website has the potential to provide economic opportunity to artists in the state’s rural corners, he added.

“We see it as an economic development project bringing in outside revenue and creating jobs,” Canfield explained.

Cultural center photographers will take pictures of the artwork and place it on the website.

The site also serves collectors.

“Now folks who are really interested in authenticity have a place to go where authenticity is not a question,” Canfield said. “Collectors are coming to the website, and they are very relieved we’re there.”

So far, most of the customers are from out-of-state, he said.

“Shumakolowa” is the Zuni term for dragonfly. New Mexico’s pueblo people and tribes see the dragonfly as messengers speaking to the thunder and clouds to bring blessings and rain.