Mercado Sagrado, meaning sacred market in Spanish, is just that. It's a curated arts & music "happening" that includes artists, makers, musicians who have integrated sacred mother nature back into both the creative and business realms. Heather Culp and Carly Jo Morgan are the dream team behind this event. The market was sprawled along the rolling hills of Saddle Rock Ranch in Malibu, CA. In the distance you could see vineyards and large rows of avocado trees. On the ground, vendors spread their creations on tables for all of us to marvel at. From tonics and elixirs, to reiki and card readings, to raw chocolate and medicinal mushrooms, this happening is for the next wave for those of us who hold nature close to our hearts.
Q+A with Healter Culp and Carly Jo Morgan, the duo behind Mercado Sagrado
H: Heather Culp
A: Heather Culp and Carly Jo Morgan
Q: How did the two of you meet and why did you decide to collaborate on this project?
H: We first met when I photographed Carly at her home for Revista Metal. We had both lived in NY for years before heading way out of the city for a while (Carly to Joshua Tree and Taos for me) and then settling in Topanga as a sort of middle ground. That photoshoot inspired the book project I’m working on - Ladies of the Canyon. And soon after meeting I helped Carly with photos for her book, "The Sacred Door"- we went to Joshua Tree for a few days to take photos of her dogs in the landscape. So I guess from the start there was a collaborative nature to our relationship. Mercado Sagrado is something that really feels as though it just happened more than a decision. It began as a casual conversation in the car and just sort of stuck. We both really connected to the idea and committed ourselves immediately. In our own ways I think we had both been preparing for a project like this for years without realizing it.
Q: How would you describe Mercado Sagrado to someone who has no idea what it is?
A: We hope it feels more like 'a happening' rather than a craft fair or festival and we still don’t really know what to call it. I guess I’d say it’s a community gathering celebrating high craft that emphasizes the experience of meeting the artist in person to learn about their process and hopefully gain appreciation for it. More than anything we want the event to be a beautiful coming together of like minded people in a natural environment where they can connect. If someone wants to they can sit on the grass all day, listening to beautiful music and talking to friends. Or if someone feels like it, they can also go and learn something interesting from one of our lecturers, have an experience perhaps they’ve never had such as getting their aura photographed, meet artists and perhaps buy some art, and eat delicious food that although might be decadent is good for their body.
Q: How did you come up with the name Mercado Sagrado?
A: It was spontaneous - we were having a hard time settling on a name and a friend threw it out. It immediately felt right. We loved the sound of it, that it rhymed and it felt good to honor the “sacred” that had been in the name of Carly’s former gallery space, The Sacred Door. For us it also connects to the idea of supporting conscious commerce and creating a community gathering space.
Q: How do you go about selecting artists and exhibitors for this event?
A: We are both very passionate about curation and are constantly looking and gathering ideas for new artists we want to support and invite and for ideas for experiential activities. It’s a very personal thing for each of us. We’re both collectors of people, ideas, and experiences so it’s just an extension of what we are always naturally doing anyway.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is trying to organize an event?
A: Be passionate enough about it to not let the difficulties get to you!
Q: What makes an event successful?
A: Overall, it’s about attracting the right people and having a great vibe. If people are joyful, they’re connecting and in the moment, it’s a success.
Q: Who inspires you?
H: So many! Aleph Geddis, Sam Roberts, Sun Potion, Jane Anne Thomas (House of the Standing Moon), whoever created Le Comptoir General in Paris, Nikola Tesla, Stanley Kubrick, Paul Jasmin, Michael Cremo, Edward Cayce, David Lynch…. I could go on forever!
Q: What is your future vision for Mercado Sagrado?
A: We have a million ideas about how to make it better, more interesting, more beautiful. But in general we’d love for Mercado Sagrado to always feel really special, for it to be an event that people will want to come back to every year to re-connect with community and inspiration. Although it may grow in size, we hope it will retain the feeling of intimacy and openness between the attendees, and all the artists involved.