When friends asked Sam Abweh to help out with a Native American art booth, he never imagined it would be what jump-started his career. “I was going to college in Arizona, and these two guys owned a shop in Scottsdale,” he says. “After working with them I found that I really enjoyed it. So I moved to Gallup, New Mexico, and spent the next two years working in a small trading post, just to learn everything I could about Native American art and jewelry.”
From there, his growing knowledge and appreciation for Native arts inspired Abweh to open a trading post of his own, and today Samsville Gallery is one of the most popular and trusted Santa Fe destinations for authentic Native American jewelry, crafts, and collectibles. It’s also a storefront that is closed for six months of the year, while the owners — Sam and brother Alex — take to the road, traveling to Cheyenne Frontier Days, the National Finals Rodeo, and other events across the West. But customers no longer need to worry about when to visit now that the brothers have established a second Santa Fe location, Samsville Plaza. “We decided we should have one place that was open year-round,” Abweh says. They also needed more space to spotlight the one-of-a-kind works of the many Native American artisans that they’ve built relationships with throughout the years. These include some of the best silversmiths in the West, such as Leon Martinez, Sunshine Reeves, and Matthew Charlie.
It’s not just the inventory at the new gallery that will impress. The showroom design is inspired by its location in the Plaza Galeria at Santa Fe Plaza, a notable shopping center and a historic landmark that dates back to the 1600s. “Walking into the store is like being in the middle of a plaza, with trees, benches, streetlights,” Abweh says. “We’ve brought the outdoor atmosphere inside.
Visit Samsville Gallery at www.samsvillegallery.com
Samsville Plaza, Plaza Galeria, 66 E. San Francisco St., Santa Fe, 505.216.7777
Samsville Gallery, 113 East Water St, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87501