History of the Fair

The first Heard Museum Indian Fair was held in May 1959 providing an opportunity for Native American artists to display and sell their work. That first year Bruce Timeche (Hopi) set up an easel on the lawn and painted canvases for sale.  A young Charles Loloma (Hopi) demonstrated and sold pottery and fashion designer, Lloyd Kiva New (Cherokee) held a fashion show. Other well-known artists participating that year included Ida Redbird (Maricopa Indian potter), Lucy Lewis (Pima basketry), Fred Kabotie (Hopi painter), Willie Shaw (Navajo jeweler), and Myron Frederick (Hopi Katsina carver). One of the first men to join the Heard Museum Guild volunteers, Senator Barry Goldwater served as the Fair Master of Ceremonies for many years.

Building on the success of the Fair, the first national all-Indian juried competition show and sale known as the All-Indian Arts and Crafts Exhibit, was initiated in November 1968.  This exhibit encouraged Native artists from across the country to enter their best works in hopes of winning prizes, which bolstered their professional reputations and artistic careers.  In 1990, the Arts & Crafts Exhibit became the Best of Show Juried Competition and joined with the Indian Fair creating the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market.

A long-standing nationally recognized event, the Fair is the second largest market of its kind in the country. Featuring more than 600 Native artists including well established and acclaimed talents along with a new and upcoming generation. Breath-taking works across a wide variety of traditional and cutting edge media dazzle visitors each year. Held the first weekend of March, the Fair attracts over 10,000 guests and has become a gathering place for art lovers and the community to celebrate and learn about Native art and culture.

About The Guild

The brainchild of Heard Museum founder, Maie Bartlett Heard, the Heard Museum Guild began in 1956 as a group of volunteers dedicated to supporting the mission and programs of the museum. The Heard Museum Indian Fair & Market has been a labor of love for the Guild since its inception and continues to flourish under the creative inspiration, managerial skills, thoughtful leadership, and hard work of multitudes of volunteers.

In addition to the Fair, volunteers actively engage in all aspects of museum life. This dynamic and talented group leads gallery tours, promotes sales in our gift shop and bookstore, greets and assists museum visitors, and conducts research in our library. The Guild designs educational programs and plans and implements special events and projects such as: the Student Art Show & Sale,  the Student Note Card sales program; which raises funds for educational scholarships and art supplies for American Indian youth, and partners with ASU’s American Indian Student Services  to provide museum internships. Volunteer roles and schedules are flexible to meet the demands of everyone’s busy lives.

For more information and to join the Heard Museum Guild, click here.