The Paper's business coverage is supported by Southwest Capital Bank.
Cowboys and Indians Antiques is an impossible landmark to miss in Albuquerque. Located on Morningside Dr. and Central Ave. in Albuquerque’s Nob Hill District, Cowboys and Indians Antiques boasts one of the most extensive collections of Southwestern and Native artwork in New Mexico.
Founded 25 years ago by Terry Schermier and Janine Fentiman, the shop is a survivor from a bygone age. When Terry and Janine first opened, they said they were one of four shops dealing in Native art in Albuquerque. “All of the classic historic Native art galleries are gone,” Schermier said. And in a business dominated by men, Cowboys and Indians Antiques is one of few shops in the business founded and run by women.
“This has been a historical art business that has been a guy business that hasn’t always really focused on the true historical aspect of all the material. And I think the women in this business, who I think have been completely ignored, have tried to bring truth and reality to the fact that this is Native craft that was made for functional daily use, that had so much art and heart put into them that it perseveres,” Schermier said.
Their unorthodox approach to the industry has undoubtedly paid off. For over two decades they have been a staple of Nob Hill. Cowboys and Indians Antiques has also made itself an indispensable community member. Since first opening up in 1995, the shop has been given over half a million dollars in donations to various charitable causes in Albuquerque. “We have kept everyone working and continues to give.” Schermier said
They have endowments with UNMH, NMPBS and St. Pius X High School, to name a few of their benefactors. For St. Pius they sponsor two students from single-parent families every year.
Although their business caters to long-established art collectors, the owners of Cowboys and Indians are also attempting to inspire and cultivate the next generation of collectors who may not have the funds right now. Everything is “sold at a price that’s affordable, and you can now make that a part of your home and preserve it and teach your kids about it,” Fentiman said.
Like so many other businesses this last year, Cowboys and Indians Antiques suffered due to the pandemic, especially considering their older patrons were most at risk from the virus. “Coronavirus has definitely changed the entire landscape, because there are people who are in their 80s, and they cannot be back. They’re not going to be here this year because of the delta variant, but they’re not going to be back next year either, because they’ve had two years where they’ve stopped moving,” Schermier noted.
Terry and Janine hope that their upcoming event, the Great Southwestern Antique Show will usher in a return to normalcy for their business. This will be their 22nd year of organizing the show. The show hosts over 100 art dealers and will take place Aug. 6 though 8 at the Lujan Center at EXPO New Mexico. A charity sneak preview will take place that Friday to benefit New Mexico PBS.
The new Delta COVID variant has forced the show to adopt a more local approach, but the owners hope that the shop’s longstanding relationship with the community will bring people out. “This show offers an opportunity to really experience historical, technological things that were the basis of our textile industry, technology and how we look at the world and life, and the struggle of our community and planet are dealing with today,” Schermier added.
To find out more about the Great Southwestern Antique, visit their website at gswevents.com or call 505-255-4054.