The Keshi Foundation in Zuni Pueblo: projects for 2018 and beyond...
Building on Keshi, the Zuni Connection:
In the 1980’s, spurred by unfair practices of traders in Zuni Pueblo, the Keshi co-op was created in Santa Fe by Zuni artists and school teachers working in Zuni. For nearly 40 years, Keshi, the Zuni Connection, has provided a unique outlet, where Zuni artists receive encouragement, promotion, and fair trade for their beautiful work.
First Steps for the Keshi Foundation:
In 2016, the Keshi Foundation was formed to provide a larger venue for the fine work of the Zunis, by presenting the Zuni Show during Indian Market week. Two shows were hosted, one in 2016 and one in 2017, both were successful and the second show showed a 50% growth in artists participants and 136% growth in proceeds to the artists. The shows succeeded beyond anticipation and increased awareness of Zuni culture and artwork. The Zuni Show, short term projects, have provided a wider base from which to generate support for a longer term mission of the Keshi Foundation: assisting Zunis in having fair trade operations, increased direct sales on a continuing basis for Zuni artists, educational opportunities to create sustainable pathways for economic and artistic development, and a center to preserve and protect Zuni art and culture.
The success of the Zuni Show provided proof that Zuni artwork was underexposed to the general public and that it had an eager and appreciative audience. It provided a two day opportunity for two years for Zuni artists to profit directly from their artwork. The Zuni Show, successful as it was, must be placed on hold for 2018. The sheer size of that event and its projected growth creates organizational challenges that the Foundation will address.
The Keshi Foundation's mission has always been to help provide more economic opportunity for the Zuni People through art and education. Our long term goal is to do that in Zuni Pueblo, as well. The focus of the Foundation for 2018 will be the implementation of its long term goals.