The Artesanas are a group of talented women who are natives of Mexico, Ecuador, and El Salvador living in Southeast Baltimore. Creative Alliance has earned highly competitive awards for the Artesanas from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), PNC Transformative Art Prize and Maryland Traditions, a program of the Maryland State Arts Council, as well as named Best of Baltimore 2017 by Baltimore Magazine! We honor Latin-American traditions by presenting three generations of women demonstrating, sharing, and teaching Mexican folkloric arts, crafts, and traditions taking root and thriving in Southeast Baltimore.

The Artesanas focus on artist exchanges, workshops, and public events. The program includes professional development training in Spanish for immigrant artists, after-school enrichment programs, as well as public community workshops at family festivals and area schools. We organize bilingual cultural events for all ages including Día de Los Muertos and traditional Posadas!

The Artesanas are now part of CIELO, the newest department of Creative Alliance, bilingual programs that honor the artistic traditions of community members and immigrant educators of Latin American origin. By engaging youth in learning and preserving these cultures and traditions, the program focuses on passing knowledge along to future generations through art, music, dance, and cuisine. Find out more about CIELO!


Maria Gabriela Aldana founded this program in 2012 as a response to the immediate need for support and employment of Latina artists based in Southeast Baltimore. Aldana’s engagement with the Latino community built a strong relationship with Latina artists to create the Piñata Entrepreneurship & Apprenticeship Program that would grow to become “Artesanas Mexicanas.”

Three individual Artesanas were recruited through Patterson Park Public Charter School’s parent association group, Mis Raices. By 2014, Creative Alliance identified seven master piñata artists to lead program: Rosa Vazquez, Aurelia Vargas, Alexandra Gonzalez, Lilia Torres, Alejandra Martinez, Flor Gallegos, Nayeli Moratin, and Yesenia Mejía. Recent masters who have completed the intensive apprenticeship include Magdalena Gaspar, Rosario Gonzalez, Nuvia Gonzalez, Adriana Rojas, Rocio Herrera, Crescenciana Leon, Carmen Lopez, Liliana Madrid, Elizabeth Portillo, and Xiomara Portillo.


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