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Feria Exposición Maestros del Arte A.C. Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Visual Arts

Mission: Feria Maestros del Arte is an annual Mexican folk and indigenous art show created to preserve and promote Mexican indigenous and folk art. As a non-profit organization on both the US and Mexico, we further aid in the facilitation of regional and international awareness to the plight of this endangered art through various means, one of which is a yearly exhibition venue (at no charge to the artists) for artists to sell their work to galleries, collectors and museums. We will further strive, through collaboration with the Mexican government and entities outside of Mexico, to preserve not just the indigenous art itself, but the culture producing it by giving the artists a viable means to sell their work using their traditional skills both in Mexico and abroad.

Results: We have reached over 1,000 low-income artist families throughout Mexico. Indirect beneficiaries per year: Parents, teachers, families Obstacles: We are in need of more funding from corporate and individual donors for staffing of coordinators to link teachers and qualifying students. We are need of marketing to get our name before the public We are in need of volunteers to help coordinators link students

Target demographics: All of Mexico

Direct beneficiaries per year: In 2009 we hosted 69 artists who sold their art, some of whom are in cooperatives thereby affecting 300 people or more.

Geographic areas served: All of Mexico

Community Stories

42 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

Great hardworking group of volunteers, providing many benefits
to local artists, helping to build and sustain careers, offering opportunity
to visitors from all over the world creating joyful events for many years,
Sydney Gay / Educ. Director USA Thinking Team

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have attended Feria functions for ten years...what i appreciate is preservation of extraordinary art made by parents and children working together, what they produce is enchanting. More skilled crafts people are supported by Feria, these special humans are from a culture lost in time. It's because of Feria they are able to be known, able to earn a living. Feria provides housing, transportation, food and rent for them to attend the festival... it's joyous special work and as far as i can see is well managed with the least amount of stress and fuss. Enjoyably one of the better produced events in this area. Sydney Gay, professional fund raiser USA Thinking Team.com

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We have attended the feria for five years now, and each time it just gets better. We have hosted artists for two years in a row and that experience has been richly rewarding. I have volunteered at the feria as well and it is very efficiently run and again a rewarding experience. It is one thing to enjoy and to purchase art in Mexico or anywhere. It is another thing entirely to meet and talk to the people who are creating the work. Do not miss the feria! It is a gem, a treasure and an unforgettable experience!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Feria is a truly brilliant event. The variety, history and beauty of the arts in Mexico are impressive. It's a large country with a great variety of terrain, with areas where villagers still speak their ancient language, not Spanish. They express themselves in traditional arts and crafts: pottery, wood carving, sculpture, metalwork, painting, jewelry and weaving.
People from the Feria travel to these places, and arrange transportation and housing for the artists and craftspeople so they can sell their work in Chapala. This helps financially as well as keeping ancient artistic traditions alive.
The Feria experience for a visitor is like coming to a living museum, where you can meet the artist and buy the art. There's music, dancing on the stage, food and drink. The tents and display tables are colorfully decorated. It's a festive atmosphere. It's a celebration, and it's fun.
I've been a host for artisis, and I've worked on decorating and display.
The Feria is rewarding on so many levels. It's a wonderful artistic and cultural and human experience. Visitors have an unforgettable experience, and are able to purchase original art, so vibrant with history and tradition expressed through the hands of the artist. This is priceless.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was hosting two artists from Oaxaca for the second year in a row and my friend was hosting 2 artists from the mountains west of Oaxaca for the first time. The two pairs of artists were sisters, but neither pair knew the other. We all met one day after the feria at my friend's car to take them to dinner in another town. A street dog who was fond of me followed me to the feria and tried to get in the car with the six of us. He followed beside our car for ten blocks and everyone laughed so hard that it broke the ice, and we had a wonderfully memorable evening with four wonderful indigenous artists who had not previously known each other.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have attended the Feria Maestros del Arte every year since it became the newly-hatched brainchild of a remarkable visionary nearly 15 years ago! I have also been an annual host to many of the artists who display at the Feria, and have made enduring friendships with them as well. This cross-cultural outreach would never have been as successful or comprehensive without the Feria...an event that was the dream-made-flesh under the enthusiasm of one infatigable woman, Marianne Carlson.

Marianne started the Feria --almost single handed--shortly after the turn of this century. And in doing so, she created something so fabulous, that today-- well over a decade later -- it has taken wing and soared beyond anyone's wildest imagination!

The original Feria organized by Marianne was a momentous and unforgettable weekend with several hundred art exhibitors displaying their art in an empty supermarket that was nearly the size of a football field. Hundreds attended that first weekend! But today, well over a decade later, The Feria has grown into a thriving, world-class event that brings artisans from every corner of Mexico to display and sell their folk arts and crafts. Arts ranging from paintings, to a kaleidoscope of colorful hand-crafted works that include carving, amazing sculpture and pottery, silver, furniture and textiles. And all of this is organized and promoted totally cost-free to the artists!

I do not have an actual count of the number of people who attended last years' 2016 Feria, but my guess is it was well over 20,000.

Today, the Feria is designated as a non-profit organization, and the distinguished Board of Directors includes an amazingly successful cross-section of persons knowledgeable in the arts, as well as in strategic planning. Marianne was responsible for drawing together the original Board, and its growth and development is due in great measure to her thoughtful recruitment. This skilled leadership includes the representation and perspectives of every facet of the community including: civic, business, education, government, arts and the private sector. In addition, the Feria has an amazing list of art sponsors and host families to help house and pay for the transportation of the artisans. The financial management of the Feria is probably the most remarkable I have ever known. Every centavo counts...every centavo is accounted for....and every single person involved is a volunteer! An astounding Non-Profit success story!

The Feria Maestro del Arte has an enormously successful marketing plan that is constantly retooling to create a fair that is anticipated and attended by art dealers and collectors from around the world. In fact, the admission lines to the Feria frequently are greater than a block long...and continuously growing! In addition, Feria leadership is constantly reaching out and networking with other folk-art events around the world. Their goal is one that truly reflects a global perspective. And their marketing initiatives have created a broad global visibility that demonstrates the unique history, resourcefulness, beauty and desirability of the unique art, craft and culture of Mexico! I believe that in and of itself is admirable and immensely noteworthy.

The country of Mexico, the State of Jalisco, and our magical area of Chapala count ourselves fortunate indeed to host the annual Feria Maestro del Arte held here by the shores of the beautiful Lake Chapala and surrounded by the glorious Sierra Madre mountains of Mexico. And we are especially blessed to be able to lay claim to Marianne Carlson as the inspiring visionary of this astounding annual event. Marianne is a woman who moved to Mexico over 25 years ago (to retire!), looked at the incredible beauty and art around her, and to quote a famous line: "dreamed a dream...and stated......... "Why Not!?"

Thus the Feria Maestro del Atres history began...and continues to bloom and grow.

Carrol Flood Delano

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The first year we lived in Ajijic everyone told us not to miss the Feria and we didn't. Being there and seeing all the wonderful artisans and their offerings was pure joy. Since then we have twice had the pleasure of hosting some artists and we will do so once again this fall.
The volunteers at this nonprofit work tirelessly to preserve the art of Mexico. They are hardworking, knowledgeable, efficient and well respected.
They are most deserving of acknowledgment of their efforts.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Each year, since moving to Lake Chapala 6 years ago, my husband and I have worked on the host family committee AND we have hosted 2-3 artists in our home. Both are incredibly memorable experiences, because of the artists and at least partly due to the solid organization of the Feria. We walk around the grounds of the Feria throughout the weekend in order to admire the huge selection of the most beautifully crafted Mexican traditional arts. Time and time again, the artists (most of whom are indigenous) share their wish to exhibit in this annual Feria because they are able to sell so much of their gorgeous art works, in an arrangement that costs them virtually nothing, which is unique.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I have hosted artists in our home in Ajijic and also assisted the host family coordinator for the past two years, and the experience of supporting this amazing event will keep us coming back to do so every year! Top quality artists (invited only) are able to come from villages and cities all over Mexico because they have to spend the minimum amount to participate, and thus the caliber of the art is outstanding. Volunteers are extremely happy as they pick up their guests or as they provide the infrastructure to make this annual event so successful. Our only regrets are that we don't have a million bucks to purchase more of the compelling art than we do and that we don't have more room in our home to also invite visitors from outside the area to share this experience.

Jane80

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I think all expats fall in love with the art and creativity of the Mexican people. But those of us who don't speak Spanish can be timid about mixing with the locals because of lack of Spanish language skills, and not knowing how to interact. This nonprofit does more than any nonprofit I know of in the Lake Chapala area to bring foreigners in contact with Mexican people via a forum that allows easy interaction and appreciation for one another. These are the finest craftsmen of their respective states. Some of them are from remote villages and don't speak even Spanish. Foreign families bring them into their homes for three days, purchase their art, and can show appreciation for their talent in a way that doesn't need words. Both groups learn to appreciate one another and we further appreciate the diversity of Mexico through its poorest yet in many ways, richest citizens, and help them earn a living while keeping their patrimonial heritage alive.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Feria is a wonderful addition to our community and area. It provides the artisans with an excellent source of income as well as bringing them in contact with other artisans. The locals love to visit Feria to see the products and to be able to purchase items for their homes as well as for gifts. A wonderful opportunity for all involved.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My role with the annual Feria was to billet a sister and brother from Veracruz two years in a row who created amazing and locally traditional clay figurines, made from clay they "harvest" themselves and colours they also made. Their kiln is rustic and the roads they traveled to get to Ajijic were long and rugged in places. Not a single figure was broken upon arrival, miraculously. We enjoyed these two lovely artisans very much and wished they could have stayed longer! Erik and Suzanna have a facebook account and display much of their art. We still correspond. The whole Feria is incredible and unique with so many Mexican states represented. All of us, artisans and Feria volunteers and the general public are so fortunate to have such an exhibition of work that is reasonably priced and a honor to be a part of.
We often have a little gathering of hosts, artisans and volunteers which is invaluable to each of the people invited. It is my hope that this event continues for as long as there are volunteers and Artisans.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an amazing nonprofit. It was the vision of one woman who worked to make it happen. Others joined forces and helped bring it to what it is today. This nonprofit enriches the lives of all who participate. The Mexican artists are given an audience for their crafts and an experience in our community that is unlike any other. The host families gain insight into real Mexican culture. The volunteers form bonds with all parties involved. And those who come to the fair are exposed to the marvelous art of Mexico. As a volunteer, I can say that it is the highlight of the year. I look around my house and see the wonderful crafts I've purchased over the years. I also am able to help raise money for related charities and make new friends each year.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It's been a pleasure being involved with the Feria since I moved to Lake Chapala 3 years ago. I volunteer with the decorating committee, I shop and buy the most beautiful art anyplace, I sell and buy raffle tickets and WIN lovely pieces donated by the artists ... sometimes. It's 3 days of meeting the most wonderful people. The artists are so sweet and so grateful for the opportunity to be here. The program that Marianne has developed is amazing as it helps not only the artists with the opportunity to show and sell their creations, but exposes us to the variety of art, cultures and delightful people. Volunteers, patrons, artists all enjoy this incredible event!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is one of the most extraordinary events ever. The best of the best in Mexico native arts in one place at no expense to the artisans. Imagine: no booth fees, all proceeds go directly to the artists. AND, many of us in the community get to host the artists. This has made a huge difference to the preservation of native arts in Mexico. I wish everyone could visit and see this Feria.

feria-maestro

Board Member

Rating: 5

The 2013 Feria Maestros del Arte, Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico, will host over 65 artists from all over Mexico. We encourage buyers, collectors, and galleries to visit the show and do your "Mexico" shopping all in one location with the best prices you will find at any show.

Our mission is to assist Mexican folk and indigenous artists in keeping their art alive - art that is disappearing at an alarming rate as the world imports more and more copied art from China and consumers are not educated about the danger of losing much of the world's folk art unless artists can continue to make a living selling their art.

Look us up at www.mexicoartshow.com and see for yourself the wonderful work this organization does.

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3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have seen the difference this non-profit organization has made in the lives of Mexican artist's families throughout Mexico. Artists attend the show at no cost to them and are housed with local residents for the 3-day show. Cross cultural bonds are formed, artists have an opportunity to increase their yearly income which has a ripple effect on their families and communities while keeping art that may have been in their families for generations alive and well.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first travelled to the Feria as a customer and lover of Mexican folk art some years back. However, when I learned of the way the Feria pays for most of the artisans' costs and the respectful attitude towards the primarily indigenous artisans, I gladly jumped at the chance to be a volunteer for another State in Mexico. Now, a few years later, I continue to be in awe of the professionalism, friendliness and the incredibly competent and hard work of the volunteers. The organization is a class act and I am proud to be associated with it.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We volunteered for the first time this last Fall. Had a fantastic time and will do it again. Being a process of this event was meaningful. We knew it was unlike other similar events in that most of the participants had all their expenses picked up, thereby allowing them to take home almost all of their earnings from participation in the event. In many cases they also made business connections that will increase their sales and their market areas because of this event.

Cathey M.

Donor

Rating: 5

I've participated every year for the past five or six and it seems to just get better and better! Every year I invite new house guests from the states to join me and I always look forward to seeing how the Feria surpasses their expectations. We host an open house prior to the Feria for as many state side friends as we can convince to make the trip down and we've had no less than ten and up to 38 take us up on the invitaiton. Some of those guests have now become annual regulars to the Feria. I highly recommend participation and encourage you to invite all your friends - they will thank you and love the Feria.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a host for about 6 years and this has been a very rewarding experience. The Feria has grown in size and quality every year

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have attended this event for 4 yrs and was an artist host in 2012 as well as an event volunteer.

The show is well organized, the products and artwork on display are diverse and the best of the best. It is fun, educational and lots of beautiful things to buy. Definitely worth planning your trip Lake Chapala around attending this event.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This was the first event I attended when I first visited Chapala five years ago - and I have never missed one since! It is more than amazing, it is magical. The excellence and variety of the art, the delightful and humble artists, the helpful volunteers - the whole experience is one I cherish year after year. Add to all that the very reasonable prices for the art and you can understand why my house is looking more lovely every year!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

If you are a collector of Mexican Folk Art, as I am, the Feria Exposicion Maestros del Arte held every November on the beautiful shores ofJalisco state's beautiful Lake Chapala, is the place to be and to buy. As a personal friend of the founder, Marianne Carlson and of many of the hard-working volunteers, I have to tell you that this is the best event of it's kind in this country and also for the many very prestigious exhibitors from around Mexico. An impressive and closely juried group of exhibitors with no middlemen, galleries or instant entrepreneurs collecting a commission on the hard work of the exhibitors allowing them to take home all the money they make here off their wares. A truly win-win event for all concerned.

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have a large collection of Mexican folk art or popular art and have found this Feria to be the foremost exhibition of this work in Mexico. The structure and size of the organization and it's volunteer group is without peer in the art world as I know it. The exhibitors are so talented, congenial and appreciative of our interest in their endeavors and the volunteer group of people from all areas of the communities, both local, and international, combine to make each Feria exciting. educational and worthwhile. My personal experiences here have truly, i feel, made me more appreciative of the world around me and more aware of the amazing talents of the people of Mexico. Meeting and visiting with the individuals who make the incredible art work I collect is one of the most wonderful things that have ever happened to me. My help in creating this arena of art, knowledge and friendship gives me a real sense of doing good, doing right and doing a useful chore for humanity. I just cannot praise this event enough.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a retired administrator of a large non-profit it's a pleasure to be a volunteer with the Feria knowing they are doing it right. Thanks to the dedicated leadership and volunteers Mexican folk and indigenous artists will have a venue to market and save their heritage.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a great opportunity to see, support and purchase the work of indiginous artisans and craftsmen/women from all over Mexico, in one place, at one time. Chapalla is a delightful place to visit, founded in 1543 as a fishing village on the shores of Lake Chapalla. It has retained the feeling of a relaxed and welcoming small town all these years. Come and delight in the masterful work of these true artisans, even as they create their pieces. Many of these artists do not speak Spanish, and can only speak in their native indian languages. This speaks to the authenticity of their work and the uniqueness of this celebration.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization is EVERYTHING it says it is. At first the artists don't believe it and don't quite trust it Once they have gone through one Feria, they know that it is really for them. They make a lot of money and pay none out other than a to buy a few meals. They are important and their work is important. As an artist I know what this means. Their family sees them as important and others want to be like them and learn the art and the art lives on. Never have I seen so much wonderful art in one place or been so moved by the creators of that art. The Feria is an experience for all.

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I cannot tell you how much pleasure we get from our interaction with the artists, some of whom have become close friends. The fact that we can find so many first class artisans in one location at one time is priceless. The knowledge that we are helping in some small way the artists and their arts to survive is more than priceless. By helping the artists, we also help their families and villages.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering for the Feria was truly a wonderful experience. I'm sure i got more out of it than I was able to give. My guests were a woman and her husband, neither of whom spoke English but we were able to communicate well with my limited Spanish. I picked them up the evening they arrived and would deliver them each morning to the Feria and then pick them up at the end of the day, serve them dinner and visit. They left us an open invitation to visit and we did the same. Volunteering brought me close to the artist and gave me a huge appreciation for the hard work these artists do and the unsung talent of the nation. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This art show gets better and better every year with the very best artists from all over Mexico keeping the tradition of Mexican folk art alive and prospering. Hosting one of the visiting artisan families is a great way to get involved and make some wonderful new friends.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I had the pleasure of attending the Feria last year and it was a wonderful experience. I was able to see and purchase outstanding examples of true Mexican Folk art from all over Mexico in one place. I was also delighted by the entertainment provided, especially the dance recreating an ancient tradition. I would highly recommend this "one stop" experience for anyone wanting to learn more about Mexican folk art and the culture of Mexico.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a volunteer for several years. I started out just wanting to be of assistance, but soon got caught up in the experience of helping these wonderful artisans maintain their livelihood by providing a successful venue for their amazing talents.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been attending this amazing artisans fair since it's inception. From the beginning the artisans were among the best in Mexico. The feria not only provides the opportunity to view and purchase exquisite handicrafts from all over the country, but it is a wonderful opportunity to have direct personal contacts and conversations with the artisans. This years emphasis on the art of the rebozo was exceptionally successful and will be one of the ways that this essentially Mexican article of apparel will continue to be woven and worn.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I became a volunteer for the feria 6 years ago and I am now a board member and host for artists. Every year the feria gets bigger and better than before. The artists are amazing and it is such a joy to watch them as they meet the visitors that come to see and buy their works of art. There is a huge selection and the feria has grown to include cultural dancing, food and demonstrations. I am very honored to have had the opportunity to meet these talented people and help promote their work to a broader public and hopefully save some of these arts from being lost.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer each year to help where I can. It is such a good feeling to help all the artists and families. The feria has improved in each of the 5 years I've been involved. It's not just a venue for selling wares, there is music , dancing, laughter, food and general good fun. If you haven't been you've missed a good time...

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I find that volunteering for the Feria Exposicion Maestros Del Arte (FEMDA) has been an enriching experience. As a Board Member I can contribute ideas about Mexican Culture and as interpreter/translator I can participate more fully. We also have volunteered as hosts for a folk artists who travel long distances and have very little to spend on hotels and meals. The folk artists are appreciative of the opportunity to bring their special talents to the FERIA in Chapala. I am fortunate to help the FEMDA in as many ways as I can. The FEMDA brings together true folk artists from all over Mexico to sell their art directly to the public. The buyers get to meet the folk artists and purchase exceptional and authentic pieces of folk art. Whether it is fine pottery pieces, jewelry, rebozos (traditional shawls), leather, embroidered clothing, furniture, or even toys, the quality is outstanding.

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We have been going to the Feria since its inception and have watched it grow both in size and quality of exhibits. It is not to be missed if you are in the area in November and worth travelling to if you aren't. And the best part of it is that EVERYTHING on display is for sale, - provided you get there early enough .

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I agreed to host an Artisan and his family. The experience was wonderful. I visit the family occasionally now and they are so friendly. The father said that the mother and little girl cried when they had to leave. Most of the Artisans come from small villages and many don't have bathrooms so it is like a vacation for them to stay in a nice home and be entertained. The Feria was so exciting! Mexico has some very talented Artisans and these came from all over the country. It would be very costly to travel to all of these areas and finding the Artisans could be difficult. I was so fortunate to be involved.