Apprentice Panuncio Gutierrez (left) with a Danza de los Apaches mask and Master Artist Luis Morales holding a Danza de los Diablos mask. Photo by Amy Kitchener .

Hidden Contributions to Feast Day Celebrations: Mixteco Artistry

by Russell Rodríguez, Ph.D., Program Manager
Throughout the dominantly Catholic Latin America, the celebration of patron saint feast days is quite common, be it the Vírgen de Guadalupe (Mexico), El Día de San Juan (Puerto Rico), or El Día de San José (Colombia) and Holy Week throughout the Latin American countries. In some countries these days are national holidays, and in cities or towns that take the names of the saints, celebrations can last for over a week. This is the case in Santiago, Juxtlahuaca, Oaxaca in which the celebration of Santiago (St. James - July 25th) is revered and incredible efforts and contributions from the community come together to maintain the wonderful cultural and traditional practices that contribute to the identity of this community and its members found throughout the diaspora.

Here at ACTA we have come to learn about this region of Oaxaca, its dances, music, food, and artisan work. If you were to search online "fiestas Juxtlahuaca" a series of wonderful indigenous dances would emerge: danza de los diablos, danza de los rubios, danza de los chareos, and danza de chilolos; and the mestizo dance and music form las chilenas. These amazing traditions provide much energy, spectacle, and foundation to communal practice. These performances, however, are contextualized in a larger web of interactions, processes, production and curation, which includes the participation of many people that are behind the scenes.

by Lily Kharrazi, Program Manager, in conversation with musician Cookie Segelstein

For many diaspora communities, musical expressions can be one of the artifacts that captures change, influences, innovations, or even the possibility of remaining static. What happens to these musical expressions over time and through generations, is exemplified by the klezmer musicians of Veretski Pass who, as American Jews of Eastern European descent, have been crucial to the revival of this genre and have added to the klezmer repertoire with thorough research and much heart.

The NEA National Heritage Fellowships Concert  will take place Friday, September 30, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. ET at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium. The concert will feature performances and craft demonstrations by the 2016 Heritage Fellows and will be live streamed at Viewers can share comments and photos on Twitter using the hashtag #NEAHeritage16. Free tickets to the concert are available online at or in person at the Lisner Auditorium Box Office.

The 2016 National Heritage Fellows will also be spotlighted in an episode of public radio's American Routes the week of Thanksgiving. The episode will feature performances from the concert and interviews with the artists as well as music and conversations with previous recipients of NEA National Heritage Fellowships. For more information, go to in November 2016.

Californians for the Arts is pleased to announce CONFLUENCE 2016,  taking place September 26-27 in Sacramento. The conference will feature discussions by leading experts on topics such as Arts Education, Arts in Corrections, Storytelling and Making the Case for the Arts, Cultural Districts, Diversity & Equity, Collaborating with business, Arts and Technology, Arts marketing, Public Art, Working with Individual Artists, fundraising, grants and more.