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A Volunteer, Passionate about Oaxacan Folk Art, Teaches English Skills to FOFA's Young Artists

Suzanne Grant, FOFA Volunteer
Suzanne Grant FOFA Volunteer





Over the next few issues, we will be showcasing some FOFA sponsored artesanos, their fabulous artwork, and our programs that facilitate their development. We begin the series with an introduction to one of our volunteers who has greatly contributed to our goals of helping young Oaxacan artesanos learn the skills they need to educate others about their heritage and traditions and to effectively market their work.


Please be sure to attend our upcoming event on November 15th at 6:00 pm at the beautiful Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (Bowling Green, NY). It will feature renowned Mexican anthropologist, Marta Turok and two-time FOFA ceramics winner Fernando Félix Peguero García from the Oaxacan pueblo of Santa María Atzompa in "Folk Artists and Art: Emerging Trends." A mezcal and botana reception will follow at 7:00 pm. (click here for more info)


Co-sponsored by the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York, the event is part of this year's Celebrate Mexico Now Festival. Please pass along this information to anyone that might enjoy learning more about Oaxacan Folk Art and our organization's valuable work.

FOFA Students 

Since the inception of FOFA's young artists' competition in 2008, Suzanne Grant, a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota has taught English to the winners and recipients of honorable mention. Suzanne has developed a unique 12-week course with the overall goal of giving artesanos conversational skills for talking about their artwork. For potential customers of these handicrafts, this conversational ability creates important insights into the intricacies of the handmade process. It also makes an important connection for a visitor with a crafter and the people of Oaxaca. This year from January through April, thanks to the generous support of LADAP English classes were coupled with computer classes taught by local computer instructors, making for a full-day course.


Smiling StudentTo get a background on the students and their needs, Suzanne visited each artisan in his or her home and studio. These meetings helped her to develop appropriate classroom materials and to establish a stronger bond with each individual. As a fringe benefit, Suzanne met the student's parents. She reports being impressed by the great pride they showed in their son or daughter's accomplishment of being a FOFA young artisan contest winner or honoree.


Art WordsSuzanne recounts, "during my visit a wonderful young weaver took me to his town's history museum. He walked me through the exhibits. Several of his family members had fought in both the wars of independence and revolution and there were photos and references to them.  It was a sweet and memorable experience and gave me a vivid sense of the history of this particular family."


Suzanne worked with 14 students in all, dividing into two groups, enabling her to give more individualized attention. While one group took computer classes, the other worked on their English during a four-hour class. In the afternoon, students switched.

Artists in Class

Suzanne re-counts the great dedication shown by students who clearly desire to learn as much as they could. One young couple, with a baby at home, could only come in the morning. While the husband attended English, his wife went to computer training. When they returned home, they shared what they had learned with each other.


Suzanne became involved with Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art when she saw an advertisement for the first FOFA young artisans contest in a local paper. She contacted FOFA to volunteer "in any way she could."  A corporate trainer by profession, Suzanne also has a certificate in ESL. In her spare time, she creates her own artwork. This background has made her uniquely qualified and attuned to the artesanos. Suzanne says, "it's been a very rewarding experience. I love Oaxacan people and their crafts. I want to make whatever contribution I can."

FOFA cluster 2 


Click on the link above to make a donation of any amount to support our valuable efforts. Thank you! 


www.fofa.us 718-859-1515 info@fofa.us  275 Central Park West, #1-C  New York, New York 10024