Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA)
The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) has been introducing Native and Indigenous artists to the world for 100 years — and a pandemic was not going to slow them down. Through a collaborative partnership, SWAIA and DreamSpring developed innovative strategies that would not only support indigenous artists through the immediate crisis but thrive beyond it.
The Santa Fe-based nonprofit produces the world-renowned Indian Market, which attracts 150,000 attendees in New Mexico annually. Unable to host an in-person market in 2020, SWAIA took its two $77,000 PPP loans from DreamSpring and shifted gears to provide web development support to their 1,000+ members, generating more than $500,000 in online sales to Native artists, all while retaining SWAIA’s full-time staff. The partnership with DreamSpring created space for creativity and innovation, allowing SWAIA to remain flexible and pivot organizational needs to fulfill its mission despite the pandemic.
SWAIA is now developing a new digital business model with an eye toward organizational sustainability, intending to launch an e-commerce platform called Indigenous Collections where artists can upload profiles and link to their microsites, creating an ecosystem of support for Native artists.
“DreamSpring coming alongside us during a time of need kept us in this place of creativity and innovation — so we have now progressed with an even bigger vision.”
– SWAIA Executive Director Emeritus Kimberly Peone