This past Saturday, July 13th the “Asociación de Artesanos y Artistas Plásticos Puertorriqueños de la Florida”, had their 5th “Festival del Batey” to celebrate the Day of the Artisan. The event was a celebration of Puerto Rican culture through great music, food, festive décor, arts and fine art crafts. Each artisan and painter displayed their artwork which ranged from art, jewelry, sculpture musical instruments, masks and canvas paintings. The artists use wood, clay, seaglass, leather, ceramics, clay, feathers, thread, sand and paper to create their handmade artwork which honors the culture of Puerto Rico. Images of the Three kings, the Puerto Rican parrot, the “Piragϋero”, Domino Tables, Nativity Scenes, “Vejigantes” and the Coquí and the beautiful Island landscape were conveyed my each artist and artisan. The spectators were delighted to interact with the artists and artisans and purchase beautiful artwork.

Danny Rivera Jr sang some of his legendary father’s music and other traditional songs from Puerto Rico which was very touching to the crowd, Flamenco Alboréa entertained everyone with their beautiful Flamenco dance, the kids had their faces painted and then enjoyed a puppet presentation by Santin y sus títeres, and El Curete de Gieouvany also presented their cultural music. It was moving to see a few teenagers bringing samples of their artwork in order to get feedback from established Puerto Rican artists who felt honored to give their advice and support. People rushed to take pictures with traditional vejigantes and cabezudos; participants were able to listen to Taíno rhythms, participate in the Domino tournament and win lots of prizes that were raffled thanks to sponsors.

The goal of the “Asociación Artesanos y Artistas Plásticos Puertorriqueños de la Florida”, lead by their President, Mrs. Frances M. Perez, is to organize and empower Puerto Rican artisans and painters living in Florida so that they can exhibit and market their work in the community and also provide them with workshops to expand their knowledge of the art and fine crafts. With the growth of the Puerto Rican community in Florida, the non-profit organization expects to assist more artists and artisans in promoting our culture through their talent and preserve the arts for our Puerto Rican community in Florida.