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AANY Art Show Returns!

Mayan head by artist in TulumAANY (Amigos de Artistas/Aartesanos Nuevos de Yucatan) is a volunteer group of local international residents working to advance the work of three-dimensional craft artists in the Yucatan. Their mission is to identify fine craft artists both in the pueblos and in art studios in the large cities, to bring the artists and their work to a marketplace in Merida, and to help artists both refine their work and seek out larger markets.

The first AANY exhibition was in November 2008; the second was in March, 2009, and the third, ARTE A MANO, was at the Club de Leones, on the weekend of December 5-6, 2009. According to Joan Farrell, the director, "attendance has grown amazingly and sales have far exceeded expectations. Our events have become much anticipated in the Merida community, and we now have the endorsement of the Instituto de Cultura de Yucatan (ICY). ARTE A MANO was even featured as a part of the ICY Otoño Cultural, 2009."

Personally, we can vouch for that. Having attended the last few AANY shows, we have learned to only put as much money in our pocket as we will allow ourselves to spend, because the temptations are great. At the last Tapete from Campecheshow we picked up woven floormats from Campeche, earrings and rings, beautiful little salt holders carved from bull’s horns, an incredibly original painted hemp shawl and various gourd masks and vases. Many of these purchases were given as Christmas presents to our loved ones back in the States, and they were much appreciated. One of our favorite purchases is pictured on the left. It is a stick, smoothed and painted to represent an eagle (on the top), and a snake (the green part on the right)… the two animals that figure in the story of the origin of Mexico.

Part of AANY’s mission is to work closely with the artists to improve their products, refine their displays and seek new markets for their work. They sponsored a very successful workshop at the Habla School for artists to offer guidance on how to improve their displays, led by a local resident, Craig LaBerge, who is a museum exhibit designer in another life. In the future AANY plans to offer more workshops by and for their artists. They have made it clear that they encourage galleries, retail stores and designers to attend the events to find new resources. Many of the AANY artists have received special orders from clients who have seen their work at these events.

AANY Spring Show 2010

The next ARTE A MANO will be Saturday, March 20th, 10AM-7PM, and Sunday, March 21st, 10AM-5PM.
Map to AANY 2010 Show

This AANY show will be held at a new location: Coparmex, Avenida Hildalgo X 38th, in Colonia García Ginéres. Avenida Hidalgo is the continuation of Avenida Colon on the west side of Itzaes, after going around the Donde Glorieta. Continue past the IMSS hospital on the left and go one more block. You’ll see the Comparmex building there, as well as a bunch of cars parked in the area.

We hear the new location is a good one – a huge, enclosed space with air conditioning (which is daily becoming more important again, now that the nortes seem to be over), and there is a parking lot in back of the building (Okay, we take that back about the cars… look for the Painted Iguanaparking lot). Coparmex is a nationwide association of business owners and they will be getting the word out to all their members and email lists. The crowd at this show promises to be bigger than ever, so take it from us: If you want your pick of the new and beautiful things, go early.

Additionally, there is an enclosed patio space where visitors can sit down, relax with food and beverages, and regroup for another pass through the show. They have made promises that there might be better food than popcorn and Cokes this time, but really, we don’t go for the food, do we?

New Arts and Crafts Talent

The AANY team has continued combing villages near and far on the Yucatan Peninsula for exciting new craft talent… well, new to us, but mostly these are experienced craftspeople who know little or nothing of the possible market here in Merida. Of the roughly 40 participating artists, there will be about 12 new artists participating, such as:

  • from San Felipe, fabulous sculptural mobiles made of shells
  • Maya and Aztec replicas (like the one pictured at the start of this article) by a master from Tulum
  • utilitarian but lovely hampers made of palm from Calkini
  • fused glass objects and jewelry by an artist from Playa
  • a collection of exhibition one-of-a-kind hats made of hipi from Becal
  • and several new lamp makers.

As always, AANY tries to maintain a balance of studio craft with rural work, and hope that these shows and the attention from AANY and the customers can be instrumental in furthering the traditional crafts of the villages. The tapete makers from the last show were a sell-out in 1 1/2 hours in Tapete from CampecheDecember! Apparently, they desperately want to return for the March show, but have run out of raw materials. Locally, the patete plant that is used to make these tapetes is not harvested until April or May. Thanks to the help of another of the AANY artists, they may be able to get material shipped in from Tabasco. Come to the show and find out!

The arms of ANNY continue to extend. Eight AANY artists were invited to participate in the recent Chili Cookoff sponsored by the Merida English Library, there is discussion with a local TV station about doing news segments focusing on cultural events supported by the international community, and artists keep reporting increased sales in their studios resulting from the distribution of their business cards at the shows.

Part of AANY’s long-term goal is to encourage the participating artists to assume a proactive role in producing the shows in the future. This is starting to work. One artist has taken over the responsibility of placing visiting artists in private homes to avoid hotel expenses. Another has taken over the proposed placement of several large banners on and around the Donde traffic circle and several artists are acting as buddies to work with first-time exhibitors to improve their displays. In addition, they have begun to accompany the AANY explorers on those endless road trips that are required to find the new artists. The AANY artists are beginning to interact with each other and more and more of them want to be part of the process. Eventually, the current AANY management hopes to work itself out of a job almost completely.

Come to the AANY show and show your support and your interest in the art and craft of the Yucatan. With your help, AANY will continue to grow and diversify in the future… a win/win situation for all concerned!

Read more about AANY here and here.

Dates: Saturday, March 20th, 10AM-7PM, and Sunday, March 21st, 10AM-5PM.

Location: (see map above): Coparmex, Avenida Hildalgo X 38th, in Colonia García Ginéres

The Spring 2011 AANY show will be April 2 and 3 at the same location. For information about that or any of the artists associated with AANY, contact Joan Farrell at joanafarrell [at] yahoo [dot] com

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13 Responses to “AANY Art Show Returns!”

  1. Many thanks . Everytime I visit Merida I hunt for authentic arts/crafts, hoping /knowing there must be more than just the tourist shops in Centro.

  2. Once again, YL has outdone itself. What a wonderful article on the forthcoming ARTE A MANO show. Your writing is complete, informative and most of all reflects the genuine interest of Working Gringos in our efforts. We know that so many who read YL come to our events because they have read about them on your website. The growth of AANY is the result of a myriad of volunteers and a strong committee – there is no way to thank all these people for all they give to this effort. Most of all, THANK YOU, YUCATAN LIVING, for your steady support and true interest.

  3. Thank you, once again, YL, for a concise and incredibly helpful article. I now know how to find the new venue, thanks to you. As ever, you are a pleasure and provide such an invaluable service. Best wishes, Tom Folino

  4. [...] want to save your time (and money!) for this event! If you haven’t already read about it, you can read about the AANY event here. This sale of handmade artworks from local artists is a great place to find presents, handmade [...]

  5. Great article, thank you!
    We all definetly go for the art, beautiful and original pieces!! … and while strolling looking and shopping art why not having a great cup of coffee, sandwiches, paninis or a glass of wine?… Olive Cafe will be there :)
    Enjoy your shopping at Aany!

  6. We certainly enjoyed the AANY on Sunday…..picked up some unique gifts. Found the venue a little diificult to find. Keep up the good work on reporting cultural events in the area.

  7. Greetings – any chance I can get the name and/or website of the artist from Tulum that did the Maya carving at the beginning of your article?



  8. Ahh, but if he had a website, that would take all the FUN out of it, wouldn’t it? The gentleman who carved that beautiful head (that stands in our living room…) lives in the little town called Francisco Uh May, on the road from Valladolid to Tulum. He has a “studio” built out of sticks and planks, with a palapa roof, and possibly a dirt or at least cement floor. The surroundings are humble, and the art is spectacular.

    His name is Alfredo Gonzalez Castillo, and we found this article about him on another website:


  9. Well, I love a treasure hunt! :)

    Thanks – I did access the link you provided, talked to a lovely lady named Marsha Kirby (in Oregon!) who wrote the article about the artist, and she gave me some more tantalizing clues … I feel like that guy in The Da Vinci Code!

  10. Hi, I need to find the number of one of the artists… the man that was making sculptures with iron that was in the exhibit.

  11. When is the Spring 2011 show?

  12. The dates of the Spring 2011 show are here:

  13. Is this show being held again in the spring of 2012? If so, what are the dates, times and location.


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