The Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor has canceled this year’s Indian Market, which had been scheduled for May 15-17 on the Village Green, because of the coronavirus. The museum introduced the market in 2018 with the hope of it becoming both a pre-Memorial Day tourism draw to Mount Desert Island and a source of income for tribal artists in Maine and across the region. It is the only annual juried Indian market on the East Coast.

The museum’s newly hired executive director, Chris Newell, announced the cancellation in an email to the museum community on Wednesday morning. The market will return in 2021, he said.

The 65 artists selected to participate in the market have been notified and refunded their booth fees in full.

“As artists are among those most impacted by the current work shutdowns, we recognize the need for these funds to be back in their hands immediately,” Newell said. All artists chosen for the 2020 market will be automatically entered into the 2021 market, he added.

In his note, Newell also said the Abbe is exploring other ways to support Wabanaki artists during the coronavirus crises, and wrote about the significance of the market.

“The market represents a response by Native artists to how they want their work represented and as such attracts individuals from traditional forms of Native art to the contemporary and a whole range of artistic expressions in between. We’re proud to produce this market both for its value and interaction with the pulse of Native art of today and take on the responsibility of producing a quality event for all involved, including the Native artists, greater MDI community and the general public.”

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