This new bilingual department honors 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.
CIELO explores these traditions through artist exchanges, workshops, artisans’ markets, classes, exhibitions, and community events. CIELO welcomes everyone who is interested in learning about Latin American cultures and traditions.
Programs include Nikandii (youth music program), Tianquiztli (marketplace), Artesanas (traditional art forms), Jovenes en Accion (teen folk dance group), and community events such as Día de Los Muertos, Posadas, and A Special Day with Mama.
The Artesanas are a group of talented women living in Southeast Baltimore who are natives of Latin American countries, such as Mexico, El Salvador, and Ecuador, who honor their Latin American heritage by demonstrating, sharing, and teaching traditional crafts. Artesanas provide after-school enrichment programs in area schools, community workshops at festivals, libraries, and universities. Artesanas produce bilingual programs for all ages that include piñata making, alebrije mask making, papel picado, sugar skulls, Day of the Dead altar making, corn husk art forms, paper flower making, and much more.
Nikandii, the Tacuate word for sun, is a program designed for children ages 8-13 to immerse themselves in Latin American culture through song and dance. During this program, children learn to appreciate and preserve Latin American folk music and culture. Through song, dance, and theater, we help students practice Spanish language skills and become more self-confident while engaging in fun, creative activities each week.
Tianquiztli means ‘marketplace’ in Nahuatl (the language of the Aztecs) and is a celebration and opportunity to learn about the art of Latin American food, music, and traditions. This marketplace will host local artisans, a cooking competition with local chefs. Each event will focus on a different Latin American food. The launch of Tianquiztli will take place at Creative Alliance’s free 25th anniversary street festival (The BIGGEST BIG Show & Street Festival) on January 27 and will focus on the art of the Tamale! The food is prepared with corn dough stuffed with meats, vegetables, peppers, fruits, sauces, and other ingredients. Markets will follow throughout the summer and will explore other foods such as mole, tacos, and more.
This performance troupe brings together Latinx teens to encourage self-expression and promote team building through traditional Mexican and Latin American dance. The teens also perform service-learning projects that foster giving back to the community while planting new roots in Southeast Baltimore. As a dance team, they discuss and plan new community outreach events, which include free performances at churches and community centers, and engage community members in discussions about important topics such as homelessness.