Minneapolis, MN - Oaxaca, MX
Grant Cycle:
Type of Grant:
Interdisiplinary, Residency

Pocoapoco is a fiscally-sponsored arts & cultural organization supporting creative work and transcultural dialogue as essential tools for education, empathy & social change. Our residencies, creative education & public programs support and connect international artists, cultural & community workers, strengthening opportunities for collaboration and exchange across fields and borders.

As a US non-profit running the majority of our (fully bilingual) programming from a family home in Oaxaca, Mexico, we draw an impressive demographic of participants generating impact globally – Grammy winning producers (Veracruz), the President of the Perlman Performing Arts Center (NY), CCA – Mellon architectural research fellows (Addis Ababa), multidisciplinary artists (from New Orleans to Seoul to Luanda to Brisbane) as well as professors (NYU to RISD to ASU) curators (San Francisco to Amman), social workers, human rights advocates and Fulbright Fellows.

Over the past 6 years, we’ve hosted 600 residents through residencies and workshops and over 3000 community members through public programs including performances, film screenings, and exhibitions. The majority of participants are from the US (40%) and Mexico (40%). Our organization is led by female co-directors – one from the US, one from Oaxaca – and our location is a critical component of our organization and vision. Here, we have slowly and intentionally built a transnational community fostering cross-cultural collaboration, understanding and care while simultaneously working to address and challenge critical issues through creative practice and honest dialogue. This work is gathering attention – we are able to accept only 5% of residency applicants.

Over the years our residency has remained our central program, offering dedicated time and space for socially driven arts and cultural workers to reflect, create and share knowledge through presentations, workshops and open studios. We host a group of 8 residents for 5 weeks (4 times / year) – 3 from Oaxaca, 1 Latin American performance artist, and 4 US / International residents. These residents have included Mi’jan Celie, an oral historian designing a California statewide Oral History x Public Art project on BIPOC liberation; Rennie Jones, an architect working on urban-scale interventions in climate adaptation; Gabriela Ortega, a Dominican filmmaker whose Sundance-selected film created international awareness around femicide; Leticia Pardo, the Mexican-American Creative Director of Exhibition Design at Art Institute of Chicago; and Jazmine Hughes, a National Magazine Award winning journalist at the NY Times. Of our US residents, nearly half identify as first or second generation American.

Our residencies encourage and require connection and dialogue with the community in Oaxaca through co-residents, public events and resident-led creative workshops. With participants from widely varying disciplines, cultures and languages, Pocoapoco is a space in which innovative forms of communication and collaboration are necessary tools, and “unlearning” and expanded perspective are proposed outcomes and measures of success rather than a defined body of work. Our programs incentivize participants to not only strengthen their work, but to revisit the potential impact of it — reframing “creative practice” as both a practice of creating as well as a practice of caring for the community in which they create.

Our workshops and public programs are opportunities to continue collaborating with former residents and artists, dive more deeply into themes and practices, offer further access to arts programming, and provide paid work opportunities for local artists outside the tourist market.
We are now working to further develop our creative education program to make it accessible to a broader demographic both locally and internationally, and to continue our relationships with former residents through job opportunities and ongoing collaborations.