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When the Creative Alliance’s Tianquiztli artisan market launched in 2020, there were just a few participants and vendors, says Yesenia Mejía, director of Creative Alliance’s CIELO department. It’s exciting to watch this event and others geared towards Latin American communities grow into bigger and fuller intergenerational gatherings. “The community has been creating a space for that, and for Creative Alliance to be one of the spaces where the community can come and represent and honor where they’re from” is important, Mejía says. “This new generation of kids who have not been to or seen their parents’ country, seeing them represented and learning it here, it fills my heart with so much happiness to see that.”
In 2021, I interviewed about a dozen people who have helped make Creative Alliance the great multi-use art space that it is today. Some of them had even grown with the programming, in a sense—like Mejía, originally a participant in the organization’s Artesanas apprenticeship program years before she took on a leadership role.
Under the umbrella of CIELO are the Artesanas program, the folk-music program Nikandii, the folkloric dance program Jóvenes en Acción, and the artisan market Tianquiztli. This fall’s Tianquiztli event took place on September 24, shutting down the street in front of Creative Alliance to make way for artists, performers, and vendors celebrating Latin American traditions and cultures through food, music, dance, and art.