By Debra Gallegos/Su Teatro for Latin Life Denver Media
On Thursday, October 12, 2017 We met for Breakfast and a meeting with Diego Escobar, Secretary of Culture for the State of Jalisco. The opportunity to hear how Mexico, the State of Jalisco and the City of Guadalajara fund and support artists was enlightening. Although Mexico’s central government has cut arts funding recently and changed the process for arts support, Mexico is far ahead of the US and Colorado in their financial support of artists and the arts.
Some interesting areas that I learned about include: 1. Mexico’s art categories that are funded include a. Indigenous and Municipal Culture b. Strengthening the cultural infrastructure c. The Artistic heritage of Mexico which includes buildings and church buildings owned by the government…similar to our historic preservation of buildings, etc. d. Festivals (theater, dance, music etc.)
2. They have well established Free Arts Initiatives that provide free instruction in music, dance, etc.
3. The Ministry of Culture works with artists to create grants for artists in various disciplines including dance, theater, visual arts, music and wring.
4. There is a huge contemporary art scene in Guadalajara
5. Guadalajara is also a hot bed for new and exciting Circus companies. This was very interesting since Su Teatro is currently opening our production, La Carpa Aztlan Presents: I Don’t Speak English Only. Although Su Teatro’s Carpa is not quite a circus…it all made me smile knowing that tent shows continue to be a part of our Mexicano cultura.
6. Guadalajara also has a large jazz community. Sara Valenzuela is well known in Guadalajara are staring a jazz radio show through the University of Guadalajara. Check out their programs which include talented jazz musicians from Guadalajara. hp://udgtv.com/radioudg/guadalajara/solo-jazz/
7. Arts funding continues to be important because of a continued push for funding by the community.
8. One o Guadalajara’s most noted theater companies is Teatro Luna. The company was established in 2001 and remains stubbornly independent. Their creave puppetry, unique and experimental performances have made them an established part of the Guadalajara theater community. hp://www.tereslunamorena.com/ESP/index.html
9. Arsts that have the opportunity to perform in other countries are supported by the Ministry of Culture through travel reimbursements. NPN hopes to be able to leverage these resources to help their partner organizations (like Su Teatro) bring arsts to perform in the US. Later in the day we visited the Instuto Cultural Cabanas and the Palacio del Gobierno where we viewed in awe the work of Jose Clemente Orozco.
The murals that adorn these two building was truly magnificent. If you visit Guadalajara, don’t miss his work. A PBS special provides more information: www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/jose-clemente-orozco-orozco-man-of-fire/82/ Check out the gallery of art to see some of his work and then keep reading and viewing to learn more about him. Orozco’s art, in my opinion, provides the world with his view of Mexico’s history, wars, foreign intervention and more. As has been my experience in my past visits to Guadalajara.
I continue to be moved by the brilliance and joy I feel when I visit. The City and the State of Jalisco has such historical significance and relevance to today’s world. When I view murals and art from the 1920s, 30s, and 40s painted by Orozco, I see that Mexico was a leading voice for social justice.
Their artists and intellectuals moved discussions forward and started the conversations we needed to make changes in the US and elsewhere. Tonight we’ll visit Tlaquepaque for dinner and meetings with local actors, directors, and producers from Guadalajara’s theater scene! Tomorrow we’ll take a bus to Guanajuato, Mexico in expectation to attend the Festival Cenvanno! Hasta Pronto!
Read about Debra’s first day in Mexico HERE