Attracting Tourism through Tribal Arts:
Northern Plains Tribal Arts Show and Market
An annual festival with a strong ethnic arts focus
can be cultivated as a tourism attraction in its own right. Witness
the mega-successful Zora Neale Hurston Festival in Eatonville,
Florida. By zeroing in on a
specific cultural heritage, festival planners had a precise
product to develop and market. The same kind of
attention has been given to the Northern Plains Tribal Arts Show
and Market in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which has completed
14 years of promoting cultural awareness of a distinctive heritage
and traditions through art.
Northern Plains Tribal Arts (NPTA) is an economic development
program of American Indian Services (AIS), which was founded
in 1979 to foster mutual understanding and positive communication
between the Native American and larger non-Indian communities
and to advance an understanding and appreciation of the Native
American culture and traditions.
The four-day annual NPTA Show and Market features traditional
and contemporary sculptures, bead and quill work, doll-making,
paintings, drawings, and quilts by members of the 33 tribes of
the Northern Plains. Community forums presented by the art show
jurors are held at four sites on Thursday evening. Artists discuss
their medium and market at juror forums held before the art show,
reception, and sale. The Juried Art Show reception and sale
is held Friday evening. During the next two Market Days, art
is again displayed and
visitors can meet the artists as well as enjoy traditional foods,
dancing, singing, and demonstrations. The Northern Plains Tribal
Arts Wacipi or Pow Wow on Saturday night features drum groups
and traditional, fancy, jingle dress, and grass dancers.
Since its inception, NPTA has awarded more than $150,000 in
prizes, produced more than $1 million in sales for artists, and
has seen a cumulative attendance of 70,000 people with an economic
impact to Sioux Falls and South Dakota of $13 million. To accomplish
these results, AIS has raised in excess of $1.5 million and has
enlisted the assistance of 2,500 volunteers.
The mutual benefit to the individual artists, the tribes, the
city, and the state is undeniable and the program has reaped
accolades accordingly. The NPTA Show and Market has been recognized
by the South Dakota Department of Tourism as one of the state’s
Great Events in 1999, 2000, and 2001. NPTA was selected to represent
South Dakota in the 2000
Local Legacies Project of the Library
And, the South Dakota Arts Council and South Dakotans
for the Arts honored AIS as the recipient of the 2001
Award for Support of the Arts by an Organization.
For more information, contact American Indian Services, Inc.
at (800) 658-4797
or online at www.aistribalarts.com.
Click here for Story Credits
National Trust for Historic Preservation ®