Dallin Maybee Stepping Down as Leader of SWAIA

Dallin Maybee

Published December 21, 2017

SANTA FE – Dallin Maybee is stepping away from his role as Chief Operating Officer at Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) in the early part of 2018. SWAIA is the non-profit organization that produces the annual Santa Fe Indian Market, the largest and most prestigious Native American art show in the world.

“It has been a distinct honor to serve as director for Santa Fe Indian Market. I believe whole-heartedly in this institution and the vital role it serves promoting Native arts and culture, and preserving traditions that are at the core of our identity as Native people. For personal and professional reasons, the time has come for me to move on, though I am sure I will always be involved with Indian Market in some way or
another,” said Maybee.

Maybee, who is Northern Arapaho and Seneca, stepped into the position at a vulnerable time for the organization. Several months before the 2014 Market, then-COO John Torres Nez resigned abruptly to start a competing art show in Santa Fe. Maybee, who was an award winning Market artist and a member of the Board, took the reins as COO to lead the organization through that year’s event, which hosts 1,000 artists and brings in over 100,000 visitors to Santa Fe each year. After a thoroughly successful 2014 Market, Maybee signed a 3-year contract as Chief Operations Officer, which expires at the end of this year. Maybee will move to Phoenix, where his wife and children now reside, and focus on his law career which he put on hold to take the helm at SWAIA.

Maybee has stabilized the organization in the run-up to its 100th anniversary, and helped the institution regain the trust of some artists who were left feeling unsure of the organization after the turmoil in 2014.

Maybee and the Board also ended tenure, a program instituted in the 1990s which allowed hundreds of
artists to bypass the jurying process. Originally meant to last only a few years, the policy was left in place
– and administered inconsistently – for decades beyond its original intent. Before the 2016 Market, Santa Fe Indian Market officially ended the program.

“Work needs to be juried on the strength of the work and not on the name or the legacy of the family,”
Maybee said. “If we’re going to respect our artists and our elders, we need to respect all of them, not 30
percent but every single one. I’m proud that now, every artist who applies to Indian Market has a fair

Understanding that many long-time artists would be nervous about having to be juried in, SWAIA gave a
full year’s notice of the change and did on-site outreach in several remote communities in December of
2016 and again in 2017. These efforts and others increased the transparency of the process and built
bridges to artists who felt they might get left behind for reasons that had nothing to do with the quality of their work.

Maybee leaves the organization on solid footing, with a seasoned staff, greater institutional memory,
improved relationships and the ability to claim with 100% accuracy that it is a fully-juried show. He will
stay in his position until the end of February to oversee the jury process and provide continuity for his

Elizabeth Kirk, an artist from Isleta Pueblo and SWAIA Board Chair, says “Dallin is leaving us in fantastic
shape. He has ensured we are on stable ground before leaving.” “He did an amazing job,” Elizabeth Pettus, SWAIA Board Secretary, confirmed, “We have nothing but respect and gratitude for him.”
2018 Indian Market applications – either hard copies or online submissions – are due on January 19.

The 97th annual event will take place on August 18 and 19, 2018.

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