Art Across Borders: The U.S.-Mexico Bi-national Alliance of Regional Arts Organizations

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A trunk full of puppets. The trunk has the a sign hand painted on it, saying: El Tinglado de los TÌteres

The puppets of Teatro Tinglado, one of the Mexican puppet companies who participated in a conference of U.S. and Mexican puppetry artists and organizations supported by the U.S.-Mexico Binational Alliance of Regional Arts Organizations. Photo by Rebecca Blunk

2002In 2002 the National Endowment for the Arts, Mexico's National Fund for Culture and the Arts, and the U.S. Mexico Fund for Culture collaboratively created the U.S-Mexico Bi-national Alliance of Regional Arts Organizations. Composed of the six U.S. regional arts organizations and five Mexican regional arts organizations, the alliance works to create a permanent channel of exchange and collaboration between both countries, prompting bi-national events such as tours by performing artists, conferences, residency programs, festivals, showcases, visits, exhibitions, presentations, courses, and workshops.

Initially 28 potential projects were proposed in the areas of arts education, dance, folk arts, music, and visual arts. Each of the six U.S. regional arts organizations received $25,000 from the NEA in support of these cross-border projects. The Mexican arts organizations also received $25,000 each from a variety of sources.  

One of the earliest projects sponsored by the initiative was a 2003 puppetry conference held in Mexico City. With support from the New England Foundation for the Arts and the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, 20 U.S. puppetry artists and presenters attended the three-day conference along with a large contingency of Mexican puppetry artists and organizations. The conference resulted in joint articles in Puppetry Journal and Inside Arts and the identification of U.S. touring opportunities for Mexican puppetry companies.

More recent Alliance projects have included a tour by Mexico's Delfos Dance Company to five U.S. cities; a professional development seminar for Mexican performing artists sponsored by the Southern Arts Federation and Mexico's Northwestern regional arts organization; a residency at the University of Leon by Maryland sculptor Edgar Sorrelles-Adewale; and a visit to the State of Veracruz by the New England Foundation for the Arts to preview son jarocho musical groups in order to promote their music in the U.S.