Tucson Meet Yourself means folk art as much as food

October 12, 2011

Expected to be the largest number of folk artists participating in Tucson Meet Yourself’s 38-year history, more 100 artisans and tradition bearers fromTucson’s diverse communities will take part in the three-day Downtown extravaganza, Oct. 14-16.

These  traditional artists come from at least 65 different ethnicities and countries, but they are now all Tucsonans.

The Festival’s main Folk Arts area, located as it is customary in the Pima County Courthouse Courtyard area, will feature a breathtaking array of colorful art traditions through demonstrations, interactions with the master craftspeople and children’s activities.

Another large folk arts area in the TucsonConventionCenterPlazawill feature the arts of O’odhman and Yaqui artists –the two largest indigenous groups in PimaCounty. Art objects to be demonstrated at this year’s TMY Festival include papel picado and reverse glass painting from Mexico, water marbling and ceramics from Turkey, calligraphy from China and Japan, rawhide ropes from Southern Arizona’s ranches, hats from the African-American tradition, weaving from Laos, and tailors from Ghana. The items reveal craftsmanship as well as the ways the objects function in everyday life.

“The medium that the folk artist chooses to work in,” said Dr. Maribel Alvarez, UA Professor of Folklore and Chair of the Board of TMY, “may be fiber or ink or paper or maybe other elements not so clearly steeped in tradition, like plastic beads for example, but in all cases the work’s expressive beauty and functionality mixes with a cultural message.”

New to the 2011 Festival will be the TMY Store, where Festival goers may purchase affordable as well as one-of-a-kind weavings, pottery, paintings, baskets and other treasures handmade by the tradition-bearers. The interweaving of indigenous craft traditions with the various artistic interpretations each artist brings to his or her work makes the Folk Arts demonstration areas of the Festival a crowd-favorite in terms of artistic creativity from around the world. Support for Folk Arts at TMY provided byTucsonPima Arts Council andArizonaCommission on the Arts.