Conceived at a local craft show on a lazy Sunday afternoon in 1999 by Mark Dabelstein and Joe Buffalo Nickels, they both wanted a specialized market to showcase recycled art. The Recycled Art Market was the core idea for this whole festival. All of the vendors create art from at least 75% recycled/reused materials. Collages, picture frames, clocks, furniture, rugs and jewelry are just some of the items that are available.
It’s amazing what can be created with a bit of metal salvaged from a riverbed, broken glass, a mis-matched kitchen spoon and some imagination. Recycle Santa Fe Artists can successfully transform trash into treasure, combining recycling and creativity to show us innovative ways to save our resources.
The Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival became a 501c-3 nonprofit in 2017 and hosts the Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival as well as the creative reuse center Resourceful Santa Fe. These two facets of the nonprofit serve as an economic development driver in the arts community, supporting recycled-material artists and facilitate the creation of art from recycled and reused materials. As the country’s largest and oldest recycled art market, the festival has traditionally been hosted by Keep Santa Fe Beautiful and will maintain its partnership with the local entity.
Sarah Pierpont, the show’s director since 2005 notes that “It’s amazing what this show has grown into, from its humble beginnings in a vacant warehouse so long ago to one of the nation’s leading recycled art festivals. It’s a great combination of promoting recycling and illuminating the wastefulness of our society, while providing artists the opportunity to support themselves through their art,” notes festival coordinator Sarah Pierpont. The event attracts thousands of art lovers, trashy shoppers and the eco-conscious holiday gift-giver. According to the Santa Fe Reporter the event is, "... a shockingly good time... the weekends biggest can't miss event... a highlight of the fall season."
Historically, the Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival works in conjunction with Keep Santa Fe Beautiful and their recycling education efforts surrounding America Recycles Day (November 15th). Last year over 3500 people came through the doors to buy their holiday gifts and get inspired by recycled art.
The 2021 festival will take place November 12-14 and applications can be found HERE.