Art and artisans at the Santa Fe Indian Market
Michelle and I recently returned from a trip to New Mexico and the Santa Fe Indian Market, one of the oldest and largest gatherings of Native American art in the United States. Over 1100 painters, sculptors, jewelers, weavers and potters from a broad cross section of Indian nations, tribes and pueblos participated, displaying their craft and offering much of it for sale to the crowds that flocked to this annual, two-day event. Some of the work displayed with truly breathtaking, showcasing the considerable skill of the artisans. Over the last several years I’ve developed an affinity for the Two Grey Hills style of Din’e (Navajo) weavings and southwestern, hand-coiled pottery crafted by artists from many of the pueblos that dot northern New Mexico. When visiting the area I always look to pick up a piece that will then adorn my living room. But when attending an event that draws artists with a considerable range of skills it’s important to know a little bit about the work that you’re looking at. While purchasing art is usually a matter of aesthetic interest rather than an investment it is beneficial to recognize a hand-crafted piece from those that may contain commercially constructed elements. Making a purchase without doing your homework can lead to disappointment, especially when the sale involves hundreds or thousands of dollars.
With this in mind I am often surprised at the lack of research and due diligence exercised by older, non-traditional students when looking at adult college programs. For far too many the selection of an institution that claims to specialize in adult higher education is an impulse choice, guided only by the commercials seen on television, glossy advertisements and vague promises pitched by high pressure “admissions reps." If you haven’t noticed, continuing education degree programs and career advancement programs have become big business, populated by a number of for-profit institutions, some of which offer a questionable education carrying a hefty price tag. For those that are considering returning to college to complete their degree or attend college for the first time seeking education and career advancement, it is critical to be a conscientious consumer. Prospective buyers should ask questions such as: Is your college regionally accredited? Exactly how much is the tuition rate per credit and what fees do you charge? What does your accelerated adult degree program actually entail? A college education is one of the most important purchases anyone will make. It means far more than a diploma in a frame or piece of pottery on a shelf. Make sure that you become knowledgeable about the higher education system, ask questions, compare costs and don’t be rushed into making a decision. Find someone that you can trust to discuss your options with and take your time. In this case the decision is not an emotional or aesthetic one, it’s a life long investment.