The Recorder – Sixth Annual Turners Falls Migration Festival to Celebrate Diversity
Published: 06/10/2022 15:03:53
Modified: 06/10/2022 14:59:36
TURNERS FALLS – Ahead of Indigenous Peoples Day, around 15 Mayan artists will see their work travel north for the sixth annual Turners Falls Migration Festival on Saturday.
Described by RiverCulture, Montague’s arts and business organization, as “a celebration of human and natural diversity,” the festival will display artwork courtesy of GuateMaya Art and Culture Connection in the Great Hall at the Great Falls Discovery Center. The event, which will be held from 1 to 4 p.m., will also include refreshments, children’s activities, children’s book giveaways, an art raffle and a live performance by Latin American music group MarKamusic. Attendees will have the opportunity to appreciate culture through the art on display, as well as bring it home by purchasing merchandise.
RiverCulture director Suzanne LoManto said this year’s festival emphasizes the same goal as previous years.
“It’s just about celebrating migration,” she explained. “Now is that time of year when the birds leave and things change. The harvest is over and this time of year is a real celebration point all over the world.
GuateMaya Art and Culture Connection founder Imre Kepes said Turners Falls was an appropriate place to celebrate this theme given its relatively large Hispanic/Latino population. Here, people of Central and South American descent have overwhelmingly praised the festival’s positive portrayal of their cultures, according to Kepes.
“I know it means a lot to them,” Kepes said, “when it shows them reminders of where they come from and their culture.”
“We want them here…so part of my job is always to make them feel like they belong here,” LoManto added.
Kepes said the art exhibited at the Migration Festival can “foster greater appreciation and cooperation across borders”. The art to be exhibited is more diverse in outlook this year than in previous years in terms of the age of the featured artists, he noted. In addition to the festival’s usual showcase of the “ancient roots” of Guatemala, this year’s exhibition will include works by younger artists who embrace contemporary expressions. For example, he said one artist draws inspiration from “very modern hip-hop culture” with a mix of graffiti-style composition and more traditional techniques.
“We try to show a range of themes, which are the themes that artists from Guatemala really focus on,” Kepes said.
LoManto said this year’s musical guests are consistent with the festival’s diversification. While last year’s star act, Connecticut-based Mexican mariachi band Fiesta del Norte, largely played one musical genre, MarKamusic is expected to perform a variety of Latin American styles. The group starts at 1:30 p.m.
Proceeds from artwork sold at the festival will directly benefit the artists. This is also the case for the art raffle, for which a winner will be drawn at 3:30 p.m.
“These people are now able to change their quality of life because they sell art in the United States,” LoManto said of the artists.
The event is sponsored by the State Department of Conservation and Recreation, Montague Catholic Social Ministries, RiverCulture, The Nolumbeka Project, Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center, GuateMaya Art and Culture Connection, and residents of Turners Falls.
Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or [email protected]