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Photo by Eboni Sellers
Mexican Piñata Apprenticeship & Entrepreneurship Program
Creative Alliance’s Artesanas Mexicanas, a group of talented women who are natives of Mexico and are residents of Southeast Baltimore. We have earned a highly competitive grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to expand our Mexican Piñata Apprenticeship & Entrepreneurship Program, including piñata workshops, exhibitions, and market! We honor this incredible Latin-American tradition by presenting three generations of folkloric artisans as seven master artisans training eleven new apprentices!
NEA Chairman Jane Chu says, “The NEA is committed to advancing learning, fueling creativity, and celebrating the arts in cities and towns across the United States. Funding these new projects like the one at the Creative Alliance represents an investment in both local communities and our nation’s creative vitality.”
Creative Alliance Executive Director Margaret Footner says, “It’s our mission, privilege and joy to actively seek out, learn from, and exhibit the internationally diverse, cultural and artistic tradition bearers in our neighborhood and city.” The NEA’s grant provides tremendous support and national recognition for the work of these remarkable women, artists and teachers.”
Maria Gabriela Aldana, Creative Alliance’s community arts manager, founded this project in 2013 as a response to the immediate need for employment to Latina women in Southeast Baltimore. Maria’s outreach to and engagement with the Latino community built the relationship with the artists and the creation of the Piñata Entrepreneurship & Apprenticeship Program.
Individual artists were recruited through Patterson Park Public Charter School’s parent group, Mis Raices. After two years of programming, Creative Alliance developed 7 master piñata artists who lead the Piñata Entrepreneurship Program: Rosa Vazquez, Griselda Torres, Aurelia Vargas, Alexandra Gonzalez, Lilia Torres, Alejandra Martinez, and Yesenia Mejía. This year, we welcome eleven new apprentices: Rocio Herrera, Nayeli Moratin, Elizabeth Portillo, Flor Gallegos, Rosario Torres, Fabiola Lopez, Maria del Carmen Lopez, Ingri Rivera, Antonia Gonzalez, Jimena Nava, and Katia Nava.
Creative Alliance’s Piñata Apprenticeship & Entrepreneurship Program is a year-long concentration of artist exchanges, workshops, and public events led by a collective of Mexican artists of the Highlandtown Arts & Entertainment District from July 2015-June 2016. The program includes professional development training in Spanish, bilingual piñata-making workshops at festivals and area schools, and traditional Mexican cultural events.