Photo courtesy of John Running, Traditional singer Radmilla Cody is performing Saturday at the Southwest Indian Art Fair Benefit, being hosted by the Arizona State Museum and the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance at the Desert Diamond Casino. Cody is a Canyon Records artist.

Top Native American artists from Arizona, throughout the Southwest and nation gather in Tucson this Saturday and Sunday, March 27 and 28, to showcase their authentic, handcrafted works of art for the 2010 Southwest Indian Art Fair Benefit.

The two-day show and sale runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 27, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 28 at the Desert Diamond Casino, at Interstate 19 and Pima Mine Road.

The Arizona State Museum has partnered with the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance to present this year's Indian art fair. For 16 years, the art fair has offered arts, crafts, performances, demonstrations "and a multitude of culturally relevant educational experiences to thousands of visitors," a release said.

In the face of budget reductions, the state museum board approached SAACA to help produce this year's show.

"It was an obvious partnership opportunity for us," said Kate Marquez, SAACA executive director. "We were happy to lend our expertise to ensure that this longstanding event could continue its rich tradition." SAACA is providing staff, event-planning

expertise and marketing help, cutting the museum's cost.

Each year, the fair has been presented on the University of Arizona campus, but funds would not allow it in 2010. Desert Diamond Casino stepped forward with the alternate venue, removing "the biggest logistical obstacle to producing a show this year," the release said.

Examples of the artworks available are pottery, Hopi kachina dolls, paintings, jewelry, baskets, rugs, blankets and much more. "Serious collectors, casual buyers, and first-time visitors alike find much to experience, learn and enjoy," the release continued.

The Indian art fair also will feature performances by a number of traditional and contemporary musicians.

Proceeds from the 2010 Southwest Indian Art Fair Benefit will help sustain the event in the years to come.

The jury-selected artists also have a chance to win a grand cash prize of $2,500 from the Arizona State Museum for the best in show artwork. This cash pot remains the largest of its kind in the region and has attracted some of the areas most talented Native artists.

2010 Southwest Indian Art Fair Benefit

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 27 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 28

Desert Diamond Casino, Interstate 19 and Pima Mine Road

$6 for adults (children 10 and under get in free)

www.southernazfestivals.org; www.statemuseum.arizona.edu/events/swiaf/

(520) 797-3959

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