Visiting Artists

Every year Margaritas hosts award-winning and internationally recognized artists from Mexico to tour selected local schools and Margaritas restaurants. Each artist works in a specific medium such as ceramics, wood carving, papier-mâché or weaving.

A visiting artist will set up a basic “workshop” and complete an original work of art. The event coordinator translates for the artist during a FAQ. Events typically run from 4:00 to 9:00pm. Pat Picciano, program coordinator and interpreter, accompanies the artists as they visit the schools and arts organizations, providing students with a unique and wonderful insight into Mexican culture and folk art.

Meet Our Artists



Joel Garcia is a papier-mâché artist from Mexico City. His work has been featured in galleries and museums throughout Mexico and the United States. Joel (pronounced “ho-el”) follows a centuries old tradition of creating papier-mâché figures that are both ceremonial and decorative. He has apprenticed with the late Pedro Linares, famous for his Alebrijes or “whimsical dragons” — and the creative resurgence of papier-mâché craft. Joel’s pieces incorporate a variety of sculpture techniques that include molds, metal wire and bamboo armatures, and miniature assemblages. His pieces are brightly colored with acrylic and aniline paints. Like many Mexican folk artists, he draws his inspiration from many sources. His playful creations incorporate themes from nature, religion, historical and cultural events. He is most famous for his interpretation of characters found in the works of Jose Guadalupe Posada, Diego Rivera and Frida Khalo. His colorful muertos adorn many an altar during Day of the Dead festivities.

On the day of their visit, Joel and his wife Andrea, will demonstrate how to build a three dimensional form using various armature techniques. They will then demonstrate their unique painting style, and explain all the facets involved in their craft. The materials and techniques are quite basic and it is hoped students will follow up this demonstration by creating their own figures with either their classroom teacher or art teacher. Hands on workshops are also available and encouraged if scheduling permits. Throughout the day students will have the opportunity to observe the various phases involved in making the figures. This includes sculpting and painting.

A display of crafts used in the Day of the Dead celebrations will also be exhibited. Joel and Andrea will explain some of the customs that surround this unique celebration. A video portraying scenes from life in Mexico City will also be shown. The purpose of this daylong visit is to expose students to this unique country. They will be presented with many facets of life in Mexico. This experience will allow them to meet and talk with Mexican craftsmen. Emphasis will be placed on the use of artwork in different aspects of life in Mexico; in religious ritual, traditional ceremonies, social gathering and personal expression. At the end of the day, Joel will present a finished sculpture to the school. This will remain as a lasting symbol of these unique artists from Mexico, whose presence in one day challenges, enlivens and stimulates those who come in contact with them.

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