WNMU’s ¡Fiesta Latina! encourages cultural exchange and provides a chance to explore new cultures and ancient traditions.
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Western New Mexico University's second annual ¡Fiesta Latina! runs June 22-24 and features a weekend’s worth of family activities — from concerts and live dance performances to traditional games and tequila tasting. It also provides dozens of Mexican artists an opportunity to share their cultures and goods with those of us north of the border. WNMU's Office of Cultural Affairs is bringing artisans from remote areas of Mexico to this isolated corner of New Mexico and has worked for months to book a diverse lineup of Latin performers.

This means that you don’t have to venture far from home to witness a global melding of cultures. This e-newsletter offers an insider perspective so you can enjoy ¡Fiesta Latina! through a world traveler's eyes.
Cultural [Shopping] Experience
¡Fiesta Latina! provides more than 40 master artisans from all around Mexico an opportunity to share their cultures and goods with those of us north of the border. The Artisan Mercado vendors represent rural women’s cooperatives and families working to preserve ancient traditions, methods and materials. 

Some of the items for sale at the 
mercado include: 
  • woven baskets and rugs, 
  • alebrijes (brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures), 
  • ceramics,
  • jewelry,
  • broom paintings, 
  • papel amate (bark paper art),
  • carved bone sculptures, and
  • glass and copper goods.
Expand Your World
[  D I R T Y  H A N D S  ]
In partnership with the CLAY Festival, we’re offering the public a chance to work with Patricia Castillo of Taller Artesanal de Don Alfonso Castillo Orta, known for her Árbol de la Vida (Tree of Life) sculptures. She and her husband will lead a two-part Silver City/Grant County Tree of Life workshop in which participants will make small clay figurines representing our region. Each tiny sculpture will be glazed during the CLAY Festival then added to the Tree of Life. Click here to register. 
2,000 miles
How far some artisans will travel for the Artisan Mercado at ¡Fiesta Latina! 
Some must leave their villages days in advance of the 
mercado’s opening in order to reach a city with an airport before flying to the States and catching a ride to Silver City.
[  H E L P I N G  H A N D S  ]
3 ways to sign up as a ¡Fiesta Latina! volunteer
  1. Stop by Cultural Affairs in Hunter Hall.
  2. Contact the volunteer coordinator at or 575-956-3977.
  3. Let us know when you're available here.
Fun fact about the traditional art of painting with straw:
1 square inch of straw art contains up to 500 pieces of straw.
Arts Films & Interaction With the Artisans

At the inaugural Transcending Borders documentary film discussion series, hear the stories of five world-renowned Mexican folk artists, and a photographer/storyteller from Oaxaca. Designed to deepen ¡Fiesta Latina! participants’ appreciation and understanding of the historical, economic, social and cultural significance of traditional Hispanic folk art, the film discussions take place throughout the weekend in the Brancheau P.E. Complex.
number of snails needed for the tixinda weaving cooperative, known as Mexican Dreamweavers, to color 4 ounces of cotton thread purple.
Only 19 males, who are all over the age of 70, know the technique of “milking” the snails for the rare purple dye. (Each snail is returned to its home until the next harvest.)
Highlights To Hit
Complete details about all the happenings are on

 Friday, June 22
10 a.m. Artisan Mercado opens
4:30 p.m. Film and discussion series kicks off with Patricia Castillo
5 p.m. Free performance by Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto
6:30 p.m. Welcome dance and performances by Nosotros/Santa Rueda dancers 
Saturday, June 23
10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Artisan Mercado continues
noon – 1:30 p.m. Free Jarabe Mexicano performance
3-4:30 p.m. Tree of Life Community-Building workshop
7-11 p.m. Eva Ybarra y Su Conjunto Siempre and Darren Cordova y Calor concerts
Sunday, June 24
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Artisan Mercado continues
10 a.m. Huacha tournament begins
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Free performances by WNMU’s Mariachi Plata and Paso del Norte folklorico dancers
Each Western New Mexico University staff and faculty member qualifies for a complimentary ticket to evening performances. Pick up your ticket at the Cultural Affairs Office in Hunter Hall.
Discover the beauty of ancient handcraft trades.
3 out of 4 people in Teotitlán del Valle, Oaxaca, are involved in some aspect of weaving. 

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1000 W. College Ave., Silver City, NM 88061

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