Mexico Exchange Initiative
With encouragement and initial funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, NEFA embarked on a cultural exchange with Mexico in the spring of 2002. Cultural programmers from the U.S., with coordination provided by NEFA, visited Mexico to review artists' work, attend conferences and festivals, meet Mexican counterparts, and discuss possible project collaborations. Thus far, projects and collaborations have taken shape in three areas: dance, puppet theater and music.
- Presenter travel for curatorial research
- Touring artist fee support
- Artist residencies
- Special projects
- National Endowment for the Arts (Washington, DC)
- New England Foundation for the Arts (Boston, MA)
- Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation (Baltimore, MD)
- Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, RI)
- General Consulate of Mexico (Boston, MA)
- FONCA - National Fund for Culture and the Arts (Mexico)
- IVEC - Instituto Veracruzano de Cultura (Mexico)
- Universidad Veracruzano (Mexico)
- U.S.-Mexico Foundation for Culture - Cultural Contact (Mexico)
- U.S. Embassy (Mexico)
- INBA - Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (Mexico)
- Numerous artists, presenters, and other cultural organizations in the U.S. and Mexico
In June 2003 and 2004, NEFA led groups of New England presenters to participate in the conference Mexico: Gateway to the Americas, in Mexico City. The conference included performing arts showcases, speeches, panels and other activities that help to acquaint participants with the cultural resources of Mexico and other Latin American countries. A third Gateway conference occurred June 1-4, 2006.
In April 2003, NEFA, working with the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, organized a trip to Mexico City to investigate puppet theater of Mexico. A group of presenters and artists of the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions traveled to Mexico City to meet and see performances by 17 different puppet theater companies. The conference was hosted by Teatro Tinglado.
Linked to NEFA's National Dance Project, Dance Across Borders received NEA Leadership Initiative funding in 2003 to develop tours of Mexican dance companies.
In November 2002, the National Dance Project's Hub Sites and Advisors held one of their regularly scheduled meetings in Mexico City. Thanks to amazing hosting by our Mexican institutional colleagues and the U.S. Embassy in Mexico, showcases of 15 different Mexican dance artists and groups provided a curated sample of the range of dance artistry and production in Mexico. Participants also learned about dance support mechanisms in Mexico.
In May 2005, a delegation of 17 presenters, artists and arts administrators traveled to Xalapa and the Port of Veracruz to learn about "son jarocho," a music and dance form indigenous to the Veracruz region. Curated showcases, talks and guided tours of the area provided a wonderful opportunity to sample and deepen knowledge about the cultural expressions of this part of Mexico.
NEFA funded a three-site New England tour of two groups of son jarocho from Veracruz: Los Cojolites and Son de Madera. The groups were "discovered" in June of 2004 at the Gateway to the Americas conference. The recent trip to Veracruz provided additional insights that will be invaluable to audience development for the upcoming tour. Sites in New England included Burlington, Vermont; Hanover, New Hampshire; and New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Teatro Tinglado from Mexico City was selected for an April 2004 tour to the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions. Led by third-generation puppeteer Pablo Cueto, the troupe performed at the Perishable Theater in Rhode Island, at the Center for Latino Arts in Boston, and at an arts festival in Arlington, Virginia.
In the summer of 2003, two artists who teach and perform out of the dance program at the University of Colima, famous for its highly acclaimed folkloric dance company, were selected to participate in the Bates Dance Festival in Lewiston, ME as a part of their International Visiting Artists Program. The Festival received NEFA support to host Adriana Leon and Alejandro Vera, who expanded their knowledge of dance and festival organization while sharing their talents and insights with festival audiences.