Artesanas Mexicanas is 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.
Artesanas Mexicanas 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!
We provide after-school enrichment at Patterson Park Public Charter School, Tench Tilghman, and Highlandtown #215 Elementary/Middle School.
Maria Gabriela Aldana, Creative Alliance’s Education Director and former Community Arts Manager, 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 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.
In 2018 we launch Artesanitos, a twelve-month concentration starting in June between the master folkloric artist of Artesanas Mexicanas and seven of their children. The apprenticeship team is made up of one master artist, Rosa Vazquez, and seven younger piñata apprentices between ages 8 and 13 years old. Rosa Vazquez is the most recognized and experienced Artesanas Mexicanas master teacher and Mexican folkloric visual artisan of Baltimore.