98% of all income is spent on our mission to support artisanal efforts. Only by continued support of our members and unwavering dedication by a volunteer Board of Directors is it possible to keep overhead this low. If you have a skill that you think will augment the Boards’ efforts, please volunteer your services. We are 501c3 not for profit EIN 2000221519. Donations are gratefully appreciated. The email addresses below are not active links in order to prevent spam – you must type them into your address field.
|Board Members 2017||Function|
|John Waddell||Vice Presidentfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Cathey Merrill||Feria de Maestrosemail@example.com|
|Jo Ann Ward||Grants & Awardsfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Adda Quinn||Web Siteemail@example.com|
Bill Laney Honorary Director for life (non voting)
Tom Pirazzini (CA), (2001-2002)
Dan McCauley (AZ), (2003-2006) firstname.lastname@example.org
Cathey Merrill (TX), (2007-2010) email@example.com
Alma Pirazzini (CA), (2011-2013) firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Roe (CA), (2014-2017) email@example.com
Board Member Bios
David Garcia has been a member of Los Amigos del Arte Popular since 1996 and on the board since 2002. David and Barbara developed their love for Mexican folk art as they traveled throughout Mexico. I remember meeting them back in the late l990s when they graciously invited Los Amigos to their home in Bonita (San Diego). Their home was beautiful — both inside and out. Even then, they had an impressive collection of folk art. But what captivated Tom and me was their deep appreciation for their carefully displayed folk art and their warmth and generous hospitality.
Once David retired, they had time for more travels! Sometimes with Los Amigos either as participants or trip coordinators. Other times with their travel business
Dos Vagos, which specializes in personalized trips to Mexico. David’s knowledge and keen eye made us all appreciate Mexico, its artisans and its wonderful people while Barbara became the textile and jewelry expert whom we all admire.
As their collection grew, the Garcias moved to another home with more room and special “niches” for their exquisite pieces. Now when you visit their home, you can’t help but be overwhelmed with their vast collection of nativity scenes, numbering over 100 and in all sizes. Their Christmas trees are large — one is filled with beautiful corn husk ladies with full skirts and another with colorful folk art pieces. Of course, Barbara greets us wearing one of her magnificent handmade Mexican dresses and David always greets us with scrumptious Mexican antojitos, food and drinks which we enjoy in a gorgeous backyard filled with succulents and a flowing pond thanks to David’s green thumb.
A couple of the many special characteristics David shares with us as a Trip Coordinator for Los Amigos are his friendships with many artisans and his choice of original places to visit while on our trips to Oaxaca, Michoacán, Puebla, and Jalisco. David masterminds our hotels, dinners, museums, factories and fascinating sites to help us better understand the history, culture and people of the region. David is also a great facilitator for packing our treasures to mail home and is always available for any emergency, support and ideas.
Mariann E. Schick, Esq. is a labor arbitrator who lives in Philadelphia, PA. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1974, Mariann went into the “family business” by practicing labor law. Both of her parents were active in the labor movement. Mariann notes that she got the two greatest gifts in her life from her parents: her interest in social justice and her love of Mexico.
Mariann’s dad began to travel to Mexico in the 1950s and shipped back leaf-shaped ceramic dishes which were used by Mariann’s mom to serve sandwiches to her bridge playing friends. Her folks took Mariann to Mexico in 1960 and the family bought a home in Ajijic, Jalisco, in 1961. Mariann loved Mexico but at the age of 14, like most teenagers tend to do, she tired of traveling with her parents. It was not until 1974, in celebration of her graduation from Law School, that she returned. It was during that visit that a love for Mexico’s culture and artesania, particularly its pottery, was re-ignited.
Mariann became an avid collector of Mexican pottery, a collection whose initial pieces were garnered from the remnants of that set of leaf dishes sent back by her dad in the 1950s. She has returned to Mexico numerous times since 1974 and has religiously attended the Feria de Maestros de Artesania in Chapala since 2010. Los Amigos viewed her collection, now expanded to most forms of artesania, during its visit to Philadelphia in 2008 for the Frida Kahlo exhibit. Mariann is pleased to have been elected to the Board of Los Amigos and hopes to give it more exposure on the east coast.
One of Los Amigos’ long-time members, Macon McCrossen, is no stranger to travel. Her first experience was her junior year in college as a student in Munich, Germany. Then she was a Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia where she learned the cumbia and how to survive drinking aguardiente. As a newlywed she travelled throughout Mexico with husband Preston and later with family. In the late 70s she lived in the Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific where her husband was the Peace Corps Director. But all things Mexican have stolen her heart.
It was Tom Pirazzini, a Los Amigos founding member, who introduced Macon to LADAP in the early 2000s. Macon was doing her annual giant yard sale during Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta when she noticed a group of “tourists” unload from a van and suddenly swarm like bees to honey to her table full of Mexican folk art. Tom handed Macon a tiny piece of paper with the Los Amigos name and an address in La Crescenta, California. Sometime later she wrote to the address, and the rest is history!
Once she joined, Macon jumped right into the thick of it — registering for Los Amigos stateside and Mexico trips, serving on the board of directors and the Grants Committee, and organizing or helping organize trips to Albuquerque and Santa Fe, NM, as well as a trip to San Miguel and Guanajuato, Mexico. An avid reader (and Amazon bookseller), Macon also submits book reviews to the LADAP newsletter about Mexican travel, artisans and history-makers (see February 2017 review of William Spratling book and her Ceramic Trees of Life book review in this issue).
When asked about her favorite Mexico travel memories, Macon lists her honeymoon trip from Albuquerque to Oaxaca in a 1965 Volkswagen Beetle and watching Preston fill every corner with their first purchases, many of which continue to grace her home today.
Collectibles they fell in love with early on include the black pottery of Doña Rosa of San Bartolo Coyotepec, an incredible Chinateca huipil, and the Ken Edwards pottery from Tonala. She holds a special place in her heart for the Gonzales family of Guanajuato. She and Preston visited the Rodolfo Gonzales home and workshop (father of Gorky who was studying ceramics in Japan at the time). It was her first encounter with the graciousness of Mexican artists when Rodolfo ushered them into his private dining room to see his prize winning ceramics. Ceramics and pottery are probably her first love, but tiny miniatures, strange animals, and textiles also pull at her heartstrings.
While Macon has enjoyed the many Mexico cities and towns and the artists Los Amigos has visited, what she treasures the most are her friendships with people from all over the country she would never have known otherwise. “It’s not just because of our interest in folk art, although that is the foundation, it’s the fun we’ve had traveling and learning together. As a single woman, I enjoy the mixture of singles and couples. Single travelers can have a rich experience on Los Amigos trips, and you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’re going to ‘fit in’ with a bunch of new people.”
Article by Board Member Jo Ann Ward (NM).
Let’s meet Adda Quinn of Belmont, CA. Adda joined Los Amigos in 2012, encouraged by her friend Signe Thorsen, a frequent Amigos traveler. Adda’s first trip was the 2013 Semana Santa trip to Michoacán. She joined the San Diego stateside Rendezvous in 2015, and the recent 2016 to Puebla. Adda affirms that these trips resulted in a whole new appreciation of travel in Mexico. “My prior travel there had pretty much focused on coastal resort towns. But old Colonial Mexico is so much more interesting and diverse than the pretty beach towns.”
Adda adds “Many people are afraid of travel in Mexico nowadaysbecause of the problems with drug wars that can have collateraldamage to tourists. I have found that going on LADAP trips ameliorates much of this anxiety. Trips are well-organized and attended by many members who can speak fluent Spanish and are gracious about helping novices. While there are plenty of opportunities to go off and do your own thing, there are also fantastic planned experiences, such as visiting the amazing homes of private art collectors. These range from estates to bungalows. In addition, trips are scheduled to artists’ studios and homes where the creative process actually takes place.”
“I am not a collector of Mexicana. So travel to Mexico for me focuses primarily on history, food and culture. Because I do not collect, but am a great admirer of Mexican artisanal work, I have decided that the best way for me to assure that these (in many cases) vanishing skills endure is to donate bequests to LADAP to help preserve the arts. The Board of LADAP has people with great talent and passion serving on it who are committed to this mission. Their biggest need is for funding to give grants that will make a difference. I am going to try to help them address this need.”
Thanks go to Adda who contributed $6,000 this year to help supportour Grant Program. Gracias, Adda, and welcome to the board!
As Los Amigos is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, contributions are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated. We are a volunteer organization and our overhead is tiny, so most of your donations go directly to Grants to artisanal groups and Awards to people helping artisans. Mail donations to our treasurer, Robin Grensted 110 Santa Fe Dr. Encinitas CA 92025 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
Article written by Jo Ann Ward