Logo in header



Left Image: Magaly Fuentes Santiago, San Martín Tilcajete
Right Image: Alberto Sánchez Martínez, Santa Ana del Valle

"We made a light box," Gerardo, a 24 year-old woodcarver said. "We took photos and then we saw how they came out. Jorge [the workshop leader] helped us see how we could take better photos. We are now on Facebook; we are taking photos and up-loading them. Some clients ask about the pieces. We also put up photos about our village and some of our traditions."

Gerardo is one beneficiary of FOFA's latest project: workshops on marketing and communications by consultant Jorge Rochas. With funds from Los Amigos del Arte Popular (LADAP), FOFA now helps its most accomplished young artists increase the visibility and sales of their artwork. Winners and recipients of honorable mention in juried competitions (in collaboration with MEAPO, Oaxaca State Museum of Popular Art) are challenged to:
  • Discover the value and uniqueness of their craft and to find the words and concepts to tell the story of their creations
  • Imagine ideal clients (who they are, where they are from) and see things from their perspective (what they want, need, love), while explaining their art
  • Understand the client's journey from discovery to purchase - - including the way in which their craft satisfies clients' needs
  • Use  "best practices," including Facebook, catalogues, business cards, display portfolios and careful packaging
Graduation from Marketing Workshop taught by Jorge Rochas

An individual consulting session, designed to address specific technical, theoretical or practical needs, is also available.

Among this FOFA group, artists learned to use their space more creatively. "Before," Josefina, a 25-year-old ceramicist, said, "in my stand everything was piled on top of each other. I moved the pieces around, selecting by size and category. Now, when clients ask me if I have a certain figure...they are able to find the piece. Yes, we have increased our sales."

Often, the consultant functioned as a mentor, increasing the young artist's self-confidence. Sara, a 24-year-old weaver, had that experience. "He made me feel important," she says. "To know I am authentic made me feel really good. And I know how to transmit this more effectively to my clients...He helped me think more positively. I know if one changes, things then change."

With young artists, families frequently provide necessary support, while exacting a price for their assistance. If parents or grandparents are established in their craft, they may resist efforts by younger family members to work in new and potentially more productive ways. "When Jorge came to our house," José, a 27-year-old ceramicist, said, "he talked with my parents. He told them we need a brand. It was good for them to listen to him. I had already talked to them, but it was better when he talked to them directly."

Left Image: "Renewal of Life" by Verónica Mariana Velasco Vásquez, Santa María Atzompa
Right Image: "Traditional Huipil of San Mateo del Mar" by Jazmín Azucena Pinzón Palafox, Oaxaca Centro

As a result of the course, many students are making conscious efforts to market and document their production. As Maria, a young woman of 28 who decoratively paints carved wooden sculptures, remarked, " I now take pictures of what I produce to document them. I also put a card with the piece when I sell it."

Professionalism, as most artists know, isn't in the DNA. Professionalism is learned, slowly, often one skill at a time, and usually from a more advanced professional. FOFA's young prize-winning and honorable mention artists are fortunate: not only are they in juried exhibits where they have distinguished themselves: they also find professional help in coping with the perplexing business of exhibiting, self-promotion, communicating with potential clients, and selling.
Left Image: "Mother Protector" decoratively painted by Fátima Janice Fuentes Piña
(carved by Zeny Fuentes), San Martín Tilcajete
Right Image: "Mother Earth" by Fernando García Aguilar, Ocotlán de Morelos


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