The here and now... and what and why

Complacency is a trap. At least that’s what I was thinking when I up and left the comfort of a Yankee prep school gig, where I taught music, amongst other things, for 28 years. There was also that life long career as a composer, musician and artist.

First, it was a year in St. Thomas, USVI, working as a reporter and shooting photography and then, a year in San Agustin Etla, Oaxaca, Mexico.
Time passed.
More time passed and a year back in the Athens of America followed by a hasty return to Oaxaca where it is all happening.
A couple of years in San Sebastian Etla and now, just down the road in San Pablo Etla. Life is good.

Click on an image to see it larger.
For additional photography please visit my flickr page.
You can find my music on Jango (World & latin - Worldbeat) and at iTunes and most online stores.
¡Soy consciente de todas las tradiciones del Internet!
If you are coming to Oaxaca, please contact me for tours or advice.

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo
The view from Corazon del Pueblo

The hereafter re me

My photo
Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico
Musician, photographer, videographer, reporter, ex-officio teacher, now attempting to be a world traveler

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

La Tienda (The Store)

These are some of the first pictures of this incarnation of Corazon del Pueblo. In its other lives it was one of Oaxaca’s best folk art stores run by Rosa Blume, native of Morelia, with a lifetime connection to the folk arts of Mexico. The store was located upstairs from Amate Books and overlooked one of Oaxaca's main pedestrian walks, Alcala, which leads from above Santo Domingo to the zocalo. The store is still upstairs, but is now in the rear overlooking a courtyard.

Rosa has left town for a year and given me the keys to the place. I thought I would make the space available to artesanos from the pueblos. No one is visiting the villages. We were in San Martin Tilcajete yesterday and they said I was the only visitor they had had in a month. Business is non-existent in what were once thriving towns with a lot of economic income from folk art.

Each village has its own specialty. San Bartolo Coyotepec is known for black pottery. Arrazola, San Martin and La Union for woodcarving. Teotitlan del Valle for weaving and rugs. Ocotlan for ceramic sculptures and the list goes on.

And they are all hurting.

There are lots of people in the city, but they are not coming to the villages as of yet. The populations of these villages are following a familiar pattern of men and young people leaving to find some sort of income for themselves and their families. There are pockets of Oaxaqueños all over the U.S.

If the people won’t come to the art, the art will come to the people.
The hope is that Corazon will become a central and prime location for the artesanos.
To get some income comin' in.

The rugs are by Zacarias and Antonio Ruiz from Teotiltlan del Valle. The carvings are from several artists in La Union and San Martin, including Jesus Sosa. Claudio Ojeda from Arrozola is also bringing in some spectacular pieces.

My hopes for Corazon are that it will specialize in unique pieces of quality and it will enable people to connect more directly with the artists. If there is a specific piece you want, we will try to find it or to produce it.

There is more coming in each day, but September is slow and the official opening will not be until the first week of October.

Of course, if there is something you want, just let me know. I have years of getting to know the artists and their villages. I know I have but scratched the surface, but these coming months should be a great education.

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