Art Center to Host Mercado (Market)

Courtesy photo &nbsp&nbsp The Porter family purchases unique hand-crafted products from artisans in Guatemala. They then sell the wares to the benefit of U.S. nonprofits, including Alameda’s Frank Bette Center for the Arts.

Art Center to Host Mercado (Market)

Family works with Guatemalan artisans to host event

In a one-day special event set for Saturday, Nov. 2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the Frank Bette Center for the Arts (FBCA), 1601 Paru St., will play host to a Guatemalan Mercado (Market). This colorful sale of crafts from Guatemala comes to Alameda through the work of Curt Porter.

Porter and his family have been working with the indigenous people of Guatemala since 1985, buying hand-made goods at fair market prices directly from families they’ve gotten to know. 

They then sell directly through non-profit groups including FBCA as pop-up sales benefiting both the artisans of the hill country of Guatemala and small, local, American non-profits. 

Some of the families that make the mercado possible include: 

  • Francisco and Diego Guarcas in Chichicastenango, who makes velvet purses and subcontracts women in his village to do the embroidery. 
  • José Güit’s family and neighbors make certain styles of glass beaded bracelets and necklaces in Sololá. 
  • Juana Calabay and her husband make runners and placemats in the town of San Antonio Palopó. 
  • Felipe Garcia’s family weaves fabrics in San Marcos. Amanda Navas then sews the fabrics into blouses, skirts and certain accessories in Guatemala City. 
  • Diego Canil’s family works with wood carvers in various towns in Quiché. 

Porter also buys a lot of textiles, which he sells at the same price he pays just to help the itinerant vendors move their goods. The Porters work with people they now consider their friends — people they have developed relationships with over the years. 

Porter and his family also are happy to have people interested in visiting Guatemala join them on a buying trip. That way they can introduce more people to their local friends.

For more information, visit www.frankbettecenter.org or call 332-6922.