BEST PLACE TO FIND MEXICAN FOLK ART ONCE A YEAR Phoenix 2005 - Friends of Mexican Art (FOMA) Hacienda Tour and Mercado
Long before the rank-and-file rabble elevated Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera to Mexican Idol status, Friends of Mexican Art (fondly referred to as FOMA) knew that Mexican fine and folk art were extremely cool. Started here in Phoenix more than 42 years ago (during an era when Day of the Dead most likely referred to your own funeral), FOMA, a nonprofit organization, has dedicated itself to fostering cultural ties with Mexico. For years, the group has raised funds to purchase Mexican art for Arizona art museums, mount Mexican exhibitions, and print art catalogues. FOMA's even underwritten the restoration of important Mexican national patrimony, like historic public murals damaged in Mexico City's 1985 earthquake, and the 18th-century, mural-covered Santuario de Atotonilco in Guanajuato, where Father Hidalgo first announced to the Mexican nation that he was mad as hell and not going to take it from Spain anymore. FOMA's Hacienda Tour con Folk Art Mercado, usually held in February, is its signature fund-raising activity, one that allows patrons to play looky-loo in houses belonging to people like Eddie Basha or Virginia and Jose Cárdenas (he's managing partner of the Lewis and Roca law firm here in town). But the best part of it all is the fabulous folk art mercado organized by longtime FOMA devotee Bets Nenad, who invades Mexican towns throughout the year to rustle up the finest quality crafts Mexico has to offer. It's worth waiting all year long for FOMA's mercado, so if you're a folk art freak, best pencil in this occasion now.