A classic Native American artwork market is returning to Denver after experiencing the effects of the pandemic for the last two years, and losing its longtime home at the Denver Mart.

The Colorado Indian Market & Southwest Art Fest suffered a two-year hiatus from Denver, where it has been held for almost all of its 41 years. The market, which traditionally has coincided with the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo, offers a place for painters, sculptors, photographers, jewelers and other artists to showcase their work.

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The pandemic and the closure of The Denver Mart led to a cancelation of the 2021 market. Last year, festival promoters chose to hold the event in Colorado Springs.

Reopening in Denver from Friday to Sunday at the Colorado Convention Center, the event will hold a juried selection of 150 artists and craftsmen with a variety of traditional and contemporary Native American, Southwestern and Western arts.

“Our jewelry, I guess you could say, is the crème de la crème of how the authentic way of how Navajo, our family, our people have been making since the introduction of silver to the Navajos,” Reggie Mitchell, co-owner of Dark Horse Navajo Jewelry, said. The sixth-generation business specializes in the old style of tufa, which is volcanic ash.

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In addition to artwork and items for sale, there will be live performances including Native American Music Awards winner Shelley Morningsong and flute-centric group Inka Gold. Dancer Larry Yazzie and electric violinist Sage Cornelius will also preform, in addition to local and regional tribes dance performances.

Traci Rabbit, a Cherokee Native American artist, has participated in the Indian Market for 36 years. While changes have been made over those three decades, she said the one thing that has stayed the same is the quality of work.

“What I will say that has stayed the same is the high quality of art that people who come visit the show will see,” Rabbit said.

This is the fourth year Liz King with Dash Events will run the market. She was also the creator of the Cheesman Park Art Fest.

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“We are really excited to be back in Denver in our old stomping grounds,” King said in an email. “We really hope the community will rally and support this event so its special traditions can continue for years to come.”

The market will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20 and Saturday, Jan. 21. On Sunday, Jan. 22, the market will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The entire three-day market will be held at the Colorado Convention Center’s Mile High Ballroom, 700 14th St., Denver. Tickets cost $15 for one day or $20 for all three days, which can be purchased online or at the door. Kids under the age of 12 enjoy free admission.

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