View From the Plaza

Ruth and Sid Schultz: Long-Time Supporters of Indian Market and Guests of La Fonda

If you are attending Indian Market this weekend or spending time at La Fonda on the Plaza, no doubt you’ll spot Ruth and Sid Schultz in the crowd. Just look for Sid’s signature pants – he’s been wearing those special pants to Indian Market for years! You may also recognize the couple from some of our recent ads.

Ruth and Sid Schultz: Featured in La Fonda on the Plaza's advertising campaign

Ruth and Sid Schultz: Featured in La Fonda on the Plaza’s advertising campaign

Ruth and Sid have been involved with Indian Market for many years, and they have been guests at La Fonda for almost as long. Ruth joined the SWAIA board in 1981. That’s where she first met La Fonda’s owner at the time, Sam Ballen. Talk about a small world. It turns out that when Sam and Ruth were children, they both attended PS73 in the Bronx!  Ruth and Sid were staying at another Santa Fe hotel at the time, but it didn’t take long for Sam to convince them to make La Fonda their home during their yearly trips to Indian Market.  He put Ruth in touch with La Fonda’s director of sales, Mickey. Another small world moment for Ruth – it turns out she knew Mickey from their time together at the Albuquerque Medical Auxiliary. Some things are just meant to be.

In those early years of Indian Market, La Fonda was SWAIA’s headquarters.  The office was located off La Fonda’s mezzanine in what Ruth describes as a “broom closet”.  She and Sid volunteered to check in artists at a table set up in front of the fireplace behind La Plazuela with, as Sid describes them, “Indian Market matriarchs Anita Da and Geronima Montoya”. Pottery and jewelry booths were set up in the New Mexico room. Weaving was in what is now the Ballen Boardroom – only half the size of what it is today. Kachinas and sculpture artists were located in the Coronado room.

Back in those days there weren’t any written standards for artists showing at Indian Market. Ruth made it her job to change that. She talks proudly of her efforts to learn about the art, the artists, the traditional ways of creating the work. She sees her main contribution to Indian Market as having collected all of that material and writing it down. As she says, “an educated public will know what they are buying.” Ruth stepped down from the Wheelwright board this year after more than 30 years of service with the Wheelwright Museum, SWAIA, and the Albuquerque Arts Board but I know her contributions will be felt for years to come. And, she and Sid will continue to attend Indian Market. They continue to enjoy seeing artists they’ve known for years progress to the next level and watch young artists finally break through.

Sid and Ruth Schultz with La Fonda's Chairman of the Board Jenny Kimball photographed in front of La Fonda's new mural by Tony Abeyta

Sid and Ruth Schultz with La Fonda’s Chairman of the Board Jenny Kimball photographed in front of La Fonda’s new mural by Tony Abeyta

Many people have asked Ruth what she’ll do now that she’s retired from the Wheelwright board. Because she and Sid are featured in some of our ads, one friend teased that she now has a career in modeling.  For me, they will continue to be mentors in my own fledgling Native art collection and perfect role models and mentors to me about what it means to make a commitment to giving back to the community in quiet, humble, yet powerful ways.

5 Responses to “Ruth and Sid Schultz: Long-Time Supporters of Indian Market and Guests of La Fonda”

  1. Billie Blair

    La Fonda truly is the living room of Santa Fe. How wonderful to read of people who remember its days as the center of Indian Market.

    Reply
  2. Larry Ackers

    Fabulous article. Boy, has Indian Market come a long way since those early days….thanks in a large part I’m sure, to Ruth. Wonderful couple. Sid’s patchwork pants remind me of a pair of patchwork boots I had many years ago.
    Larry Ackers
    Lubbock

    Reply
  3. Annette Sedillo

    As usual, La Fonda is at the forefront of everything Indian Market, due in no small measue to the time, commitment and leadership from its chairman, Jenny Kimball. So proud of you Jenny!! So long as Jenny has anything to do with letting folks know about the wonderful culture and rich diversity of Santa Fe she will always showcase and proudly detail every aspect of our beatiful City Different, to let you know just why it is!! And, the Hotel looks fabulous too!!!!

    Reply

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