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

Horta Brothers


From a long family tradition of mask making and wood carving, Manuel Abeiro Horta and his brother Modesto Horta are continuing the legacy of their late father, Juan Horta Castillo. Recognized as one of the best traditional mask makers in Mexico, Juan Horta had exhibited his art throughout Mexico and the United States. He was the first artist to participate in Margaritas Visiting Artist Program. In December 2006, only six weeks after a tour with Margaritas visiting New England, Juan died of a heart attack in Mexico. His five sons are all continuing the family tradition and travel to Margaritas to demonstrate their craft. Like their father, each son has his own personal touch and style that personifies an Horta Family mask. Manuel Abeiro Horta particularly enjoys carving animal masks and adorning them with hair and whiskers made from the hide of wild boars. Modesto Horta is known for his elaborately carved high relief devil masks. 


The Fuentes Family


Zenen Fuentes Mendez was taught how to carve by his father. Working primarily as a farmer he continued to produce carvings of religious figures and simple wooden toys for his children. He passed on the skills and tradition to his sons. Epifanio Fuentes, the oldest of the sons, is one of the most famous carvers in San Martin Tilcajete. Known for his angels and religious figures, his work is sold throughout Mexico and the United States.

Efraín and Silvia are among the third generation of the Fuentes family; one of the most imaginative and productive carving families in the village.



Descendants of the Zapotec civilization, Adelina Pedro Martinez and Federico Negrete Lopez practice the ancient craft of barro negro, which translates to “black clay.” Barro negro is a style of pottery that originated centuries ago in the small village of San Bartolo Coyotepec in Oaxaca, Mexico. The beautifully unique clay pieces are formed, then left to dry in the sun before they are decorated with intricate details and burnished with a smooth quartz stone. The finished pieces are fired in a kiln, where they get their distinct black, metallic color. Adelina and Federico share their craft with their three daughters, who have become ceramicists themselves.




Cilau Valadez is the son of renowned Huichol yarn painter Mariano Valadez and anthropologist Susana Valadez. Coming from Nayarit in Central west of Mexico, Cilau a fourth generation Master Yarn Painting artist has been surrounded by master Huichol artists since childhood. He has done over 90 exhibits in North America, over 30 exhibits in Europe, and 5 in Asia. He is a recognized traditional Wixarika yarn painter and travels the world exhibiting, lecturing and demonstrating the Huichol art of yarn painting, his tradition and symbols. His work has been featured at the United Nations, at the Museum of International Folk Art, and at events sponsored by National Geographic, Mexico, Riviera Nayarit and universities in the United States and Abroad.



The Ortega family has been working in barro betus for generations. Barro betus gets its name from the oil bath it receives in aceite de betus (oil of betus – a resin extracted from the pine tree) before it is fired. Gerardo is the 4th generation to work with barro betus. His grandparents worked in the fields planting and harvesting and in their spare time were engaged in developing their art. Gerardo’s grandmother designed pieces such as roosters, animals, candlesticks, chests of animals and fruits, covered with nahuales (a human being who has the power to magically turn him- or herself into an animal form, most commonly donkey, turkey and dogs, but also other and more powerful animals). The origin of barro betus dates back to colonial times and is surrounded by myths.

He has won many awards for his work and exports his art all over the world.




Porfirio Gutierrez (Zapotec) was born and raised in Teotitlan Del Valle, Oaxaca Mexico, an important center of Zapotec culture and weaving tradition. The Zapotec weavings are made of hand spun yarns that are dyed with local plants and insects. His family is proud to be descended from many generations of Zapotec weavers. His work has begun to be noticed by collectors and galleries. Many of his pieces have been included in prestigious shows and events such as the International Folk Art Market, Santa Fe, NM and the Smithsonian National Museum of American Indian. In addition to being an artist and master weaver, Porfirio is also an educator and cultural ambassador for the Zapotec people, often lecturing at universities, arts foundations and museums.


Isabel Castillo is a ceramic sculptor born in Izucar de Matamoros, Puebla, in central Mexico. The tree of life and other figures she creates are inspired by five generations of artisans in her family. Isabel learned her art form from her mother and grandmother; the latter lived to be 115 years old. The animal and cactus candleholders in their bright and shiny colors are everyone’s favorites. She has traveled to the United States with her daughter, Lourdes Mercado de Camacho, and sons Fernando and Rudolfo, award winning ceramic artists as well as a high school teachers in their local school. Their ceramic sculptures have been featured in national contests. The Castillo family was awarded 1st prize for polychrome ceramic sculpture by FONART, Mexico’s national folk art foundation.




Pablo Paredes Goche is a ceramic artist from Tlaquepaque, Mexico. He comes from a family of artisans famous for their traditional figures depicting Mexican celebrations and village life. The region where he lives, in the state of Jalisco, is known for a variety of traditional ceramics that are produced using the techniques passed down from generations within craft families.

Pablo will be traveling with his wife Enriqueta, and together they will be demonstrating the techniques used to create the ancient art of the Olmec and Aztec civilizations.In addition to being a skilled artist, Pablo is also the Craft Fair Coordinator for the Folk Art Institute of Jalisco.


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.


Cesar & Erica


Welcome to a world of fantasy, imagination, humor and color…all combined in these delightfully whimsical figures by Carlos Munoz and Albert Ickenroth. Albert is a native Dutchman, where he studied art and culture as a youth, became enamored of the great masters, and ultimately discovered his talent for working in papier mâché, bronze and copper. In the mid-1970’s he vacationed in Mexico and was fascinated by the people, culture, colors andwildlife. He returned on a more permanent basis and met Carlos Munoz, a native Mexican who also studied art. The two began working together as the Carlos-Albert team in 1990, creating life-size and larger animals in ceramics as well as papier-mâché.

Margaritas restaurants have been exhibiting the work of CarlosAlbert for years. Their giant suns and exotic animals can be seen perched on tiled roofs and climbing stuccoed walls.