One of the most important venues for Mexican artisans is the Feria Maestros del Arte, which is held each year in Chapala, Jalisco in November.
It is held by a volunteer organization of the same name and is supported by both expats and Mexicans in the area dedicated to promoting Mexican handcrafts and helping artisans obtain fair prices for their work.
Participating artisans are vetted to be sure that they are producers and not just resellers, and selected artisans are supported with transportation, lodging in members’ homes and food. This activity is important to participating artisans because the Feria attracts many buyers, and most, if not all, of the participants are from some of the most economically marginalized areas of Mexico. Earnings from the event have allowed artisans and their families to make home improvements and invest in equipment for their work.
All of this, of course takes money, more than the members of group can pay on their own. There are sponsors, local businesses and other handcraft organizations such as Los Amigos de Arte Popular. However, there are ways for other interested parties to support the cause.
Much of the transportation, especially from major handcraft producing areas is done by collective bus. The state of Michoacan is one of Mexico’s major producers. It is not as well known for this activity as other areas, such as Oaxaca and Chiapas. This year, however, it is perhaps even more important to support these artisans as political unrest in the state has seen an increase… sufficient such that many commercial passenger bus lines have suspended operations in parts of the state.
The Feria Maestros de Arte have started a Go Fund Me page at https://www.gofundme.com/michoacanbus to help raise the money needed to transport Michoacan artisans and their wares to Chapala for this November. Or you can contact the Feria Maestros del Arte through their webpage at http://www.mexicoartshow.com/