OFFCenter Folk Art Festival, 2016 | Part One

Last year, when we met stranger No. 64, we first learned of an all-ages annual community event held in a park in Downtown Albuquerque. I had a prior schedule conflict, and wasn’t able to go. This year the event went onto my calendar, and it was a vibrant and free-spirited occasion.   Did you say you needed ideas to inspire making your own costume for Halloween, or any other dress up occasion? Many of the masks and costumes in the OFFCenter Folk Art Festival posts might inspire you. Let’s get started:


“We Art The People” – Albuquerque’s Answer to Bread & Puppets

First of all, what the heck is folk art? According to the Muesum of International Folk Art:

“Folk art is the art of the everyday. FOLK ART is rooted in traditions that come from community and culture. FOLK ART expresses cultural identity by conveying shared community values and aesthetics. FOLK ART encompasses a range of utilitarian and decorative media, including cloth, wood, paper, clay, metal and more.”

On September 11, the 14th Annual OFFCenter Folk Art Festival was held in Robinson Park {at 8th + Central} in downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico. This was my first contact with the OFFCenter Community Arts Project. The mission of this non-profit is to promote positive self-identity and resilience through art making in a safe environment designed for creative social interaction.


Facepaint On the Blue Chicken

This park is the same as where we met my strangers Nos.57 & 58. On this occasion, the folk-art festival had an “Urban Jungle” theme. The tree dappled common was flanked by food trucks; the green was packed with all-aged and all-sorts; there was a live music /puppet show tent; the walkways were lined with shade canopies containing community organizers, art and concessions vendors; face painting and art-making were going on, too.


Giant Fish Puppet for Two People

Visitors to Mexico sometimes come home with purchases of hand crafted, brightly colored Oaxacan-Mexican folk art sculptures of fantastical creatures, called alebrijes. I saw a mask decorated in the same style as one of these creatures. It’s anyone’s guess what the animal was supposed to be, and who cares, it was terrific fun!


Alebrije Mask – In the Style of a Oaxacan-Mexican folk art sculpture

Many masks were made out the simplest materials like corrugated cardboard boxes, poster paint, textile scraps and newspaper papier-mâché. Why bother buying a ready-made costume when you can create one yourself with items going into the recycling bin ?!


Masks, Up For Grabs! | Surprised Guy Mask  was made with recycled corrugated cardboard, beans, buttons and old brushes! You can do it, too.

More to come from this event! Stay tuned.

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