Abbe Museum cancels 2020 Indian Market in light of COVID-19 concerns

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Community Author: Abbe MuseumPost Date: March 24, 2020 4:33 pm

BAR HARBOR — In accordance with state and federal recommendation the Abbe Museum has made the decision to cancel their upcoming Abbe Museum Indian Market (AMIM), scheduled for May 15-17.

“It is with great regret that we must inform the public of the Abbe Museum’s decision to cancel this year’s Indian Market,” Executive Director and Senior Partner to Wabanaki Nations Chris Newell said, “The current public health crisis has created circumstances beyond our control. In the interest of public health, the health of the artists, our staff and the many volunteers, the Abbe Museum feels this is not only appropriate, but necessary.”

The Abbe Museum Indian Market was created in collaboration with Wabanaki artists to address a need for more accessible economic opportunities, which ultimately supports the preservation of cultural art forms. In addition to artists showing and selling their work, the Market includes live performances, an Indigenous film festival and a fashion show.

“We’re proud to produce this market both for its quality and interaction with the pulse of Native art today,” said Newell, “and take on the responsibility of producing a quality event for all involved, including the Native artists, the greater MDI community, and the general public.”

This annual event will return the weekend of May 14-16, 2021.

While the impact of the virus has been significant on the museum community, the repercussions go well beyond their walls. Although it is too soon to say what the long-term impact will be, event cancellations throughout the country are having an immediate impact on artists, jeopardizing sales and opportunities to expand their audience.

“Members of the Wabanaki art community have worked hard in the past several decades to revive and save our own endangered art forms, particularly the basketry,” Penobscot basketmaker and AMIM artist, Theresa Secord states, “Native artists appreciate and count on partnerships with museums like the Abbe to help maintain culture through research and exhibitions and to co-host markets that support long standing, Indigenous entrepreneurship through sales of art. The unavoidable cancellation of these events will have a significant impact on the economic sustainability of artists who come to count on these markets and their relationships with collectors old and new.”

The Abbe Museum is formulating ways to support Native artists during this time and will have further announcements forthcoming on their website and social media pages. You can also find resources to help artists through the National Endowment for the Arts and state/regional arts organizations.

The mission of the Abbe Museum, Maine’s first and only Smithsonian Affiliate, is to inspire new learning about the Wabanaki Nations with every visit. With two locations–in downtown Bar Harbor and inside Acadia National Park at Sieur de Monts Spring–the Abbe works closely with the Wabanaki people to share their stories, history, and culture with a broader audience. With a collection of over 70,000 archaeological, historic, and contemporary objects, the Museum’s collections conservation program is recognized nationally as a model for museums. The Abbe also holds the largest and best-documented collection of Maine Native American basketry in any museum. For more go to