A Big Picture Guy: Dallin Maybee Breaks Down Indian Market 2014

Alex Jacobs

Dallin Maybee stepped in as Interim COO of the Southwest Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) in early May, and has been hard at work ever since making sure that SWAIA's signature event, the Santa Fe Indian Market (happening August 23-24, 2014), enjoys another successful year. Maybee, Northern Arapaho and Seneca, was tapped during a time of some uncertainty for the Indian Market, with three key figures having left the organization to form the Indigenous Fine Art Market (IFAM). Within that context, and as one of the Santa Fe art community's own, Maybee was hailed as a wise choice: he comes from a family with a strong artistic tradition, and is himself a SWAIA award-winning artist, lawyer and professional dancer. ICTMN's Alex Jacobs caught up with Maybee to get the scoop on the preparations for this year's Indian Market.

Well, it's one month before the big show, and you’ve been Chief Operating Officer for 3 months; how do you feel about all the activities heading into this year’s Indian Market, and what does it all mean for the artists and the visitors?

I am extremely excited to see how everything has come together! While I have decided not to reinvent the wheel and allow the machine that is Indian Market to take its own shape, I am proud of some of the new initiatives and partnerships that SWAIA has entered into. I am also grateful for those institutions that have continued to support the mission of SWAIA, and partnered with us again, such as Kevin Gover and the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). New institutions such as the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC) and Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) have stepped forward and together we are creating wonderful relationships, and rightly so since we have similar mission statements, namely the cultivation and promotion of Indian art. For our artists and visitors, having the time we have had to pull the components together means we will see some amazing things at this market! Some things will feel familiar, other parts, more robust, and overall, I hope everyone goes away with a sense of awe at the events and experiences we all shared during Indian Market week. 

How’s your new job going -- was there a learning curve, or did you jump in feet first? Or maybe you’re a diver -- head first?

I can’t be more grateful for the many people who have stepped forward and offered their assistance and experience in growing Indian Market. I am a big picture sort of person, and so utilizing the institutional knowledge of people who have been a part of Indian Market for years and years has been invaluable. Additionally, while that learning curve has reared its ugly head here and there, it's been easier to fill in the holes when I have a dedicated staff who are absolutely committed to the artists, sponsors, collectors, and visitors. I like to think my life experiences have leant themselves to adjusting to the situation I chose to jump into, and that army of committed people who stand beside me really helps. I have been a police officer, a prosecutor, an artist, a dancer (with American Indian Dance Theater, Spirit the Seventh Fire, etc.), and I have traveled the world. So in many ways, I appreciate the way in which life led me to this place, where I can draw from many experiences and perspectives in the hopes that we will find success.

Coming from warrior cultures doesn’t hurt either. My family and friends are part of this Indian Market family -- what better reason is there to fight for the continued success and stability of Indian Market?


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