Western New Mexico University’s second annual ¡Fiesta Latina! will run June 22 – 24, 2018, in Old James Stadium on campus.
The mostly free event unites people and celebrates Latin culture through traditional activities, children’s workshops, music and dance performances, a tequila tasting, and, for the first time ever this year, a film and discussion series, designed to give attendees a more in-depth understanding of the artisan process.
“¡Fiesta Latina! gives people opportunities to explore new cultures and discover the beauty of ancient handcraft trades,” said WNMU Assistant to the President for Cultural Affairs Faye McCalmont, who organizes the international festival.
With Darren Cordova y Calor headlining the event and National Heritage Fellow Eva Ybarra, who is known as La Reina del Acordeón (The Queen of the Accordion), in the lineup, ¡Fiesta Latina! features ticketed evening concerts and several free live afternoon performances.
¡Fiesta Latina! also provides Latino master artisans an opportunity to share their cultures and goods with those of us north of the border. The Artisan Mercado will feature representatives from rural women’s cooperatives and artists working to preserve ancient traditions, methods and materials. One such is Don Habacuc Avendano, the Mixtec dyer from coastal Oaxaca, who works with a small group of village men to save the endangered purpura pansa snail, the world’s only source of tixinda, the Mixtec people’s sacred purple dye. Master weaver Margarita Avendano Luis will demonstrate her weaving technique and have vibrant woven goods at their booth.
The market will also feature woven baskets and rugs, glass and copper goods, alebrijes (brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures), ceramics, jewelry, papel amate (bark paper art) and carved bone sculptures.
A community-building workshop encourages attendees to get their hands dirty at ¡Fiesta Latina! as well. Patricia Castillo of Taller Artesanal de Don Alfonso Castillo Orta and Paul Jolet are creating a clay Árbol de la Vida (Tree of Life), and the public will use that foundation to build a Silver City/Grant County Community Tree of Life that represents our region’s landscape and way of life. Part I of the workshop will take place at ¡Fiesta Latina! while Part II will wrap up at the Silver City CLAY Festival in July.
To celebrate global relationships and honor Latin traditions, ¡Fiesta Latina! is introducing a five-part film and discussion series this year. Five of the more than two dozen visiting artisans will appear for Q & A sessions after screenings of documentaries about their work and their families. Support for the series is provided in part by the New Mexico Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Details about and tickets to ¡Fiesta Latina! events are available at fiestalatina.org.