Migrations Festival to celebrate diversity through food, art and music in Turners Falls

Artwork that is part of the GuateMaya Art and Culture Connection’s exhibit for the seventh annual Migrations Festival in Turners Falls, which will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Great Falls Discovery Center.

Artwork that is part of the GuateMaya Art and Culture Connection’s exhibit for the seventh annual Migrations Festival in Turners Falls, which will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Great Falls Discovery Center. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

“The Mayan Calendar” by Gregorio Coché is part of the GuateMaya Art and Culture Connection’s exhibit for the seventh annual Migrations Festival in Turners Falls, which will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Great Falls Discovery Center.

“The Mayan Calendar” by Gregorio Coché is part of the GuateMaya Art and Culture Connection’s exhibit for the seventh annual Migrations Festival in Turners Falls, which will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Great Falls Discovery Center. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

“Mayan Cosmovision” by Diego Gonzalez y Gonzalez is part of the GuateMaya Art and Culture Connection’s exhibit for the seventh annual Migrations Festival in Turners Falls, which will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Great Falls Discovery Center.

“Mayan Cosmovision” by Diego Gonzalez y Gonzalez is part of the GuateMaya Art and Culture Connection’s exhibit for the seventh annual Migrations Festival in Turners Falls, which will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Great Falls Discovery Center. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

By JULIAN MENDOZA

Staff Writer

Published: 10-10-2023 1:51 PM

TURNERS FALLS — A slew of cultures will come together for the seventh year when the annual Migrations Festival returns on Saturday.

The event, which “celebrates the human and natural diversity of the upper Connecticut River Valley and the Americas” through food, art and music, according to an event announcement, will be free to attend from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14, at the Great Falls Discovery Center.

The nonprofit GuateMaya Art and Culture Connection will display original art and crafts from Indigenous Mayan villages around Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. Each year’s art display has paid tribute to aspects of daily life in Guatemala as a central theme. Open-air markets, for example, have repeatedly been celebrated at the festival for being a generationally transcendent staple of Guatemalan culture.

“They still have very vibrant open markets where people from the village come to sell their wares,” said GuateMaya Art and Culture Connection founder Imre Kepes. “It’s a wonderful gathering place where people come to be social.”

Other themes being celebrated through this year’s curation of art include elders who are “revered for their wisdom and their knowledge,” women and weaving, “nahuales” that are akin to zodiac signs, and other aspects of Mayan “cosmology and worldview,” Kepes summarized.

“We always try and show a variety of work,” Kepes said.

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As was the case last year, this year’s exhibit will include work from younger artists that embrace contemporary expressions. Kepes said this manifests as a medley of graffiti-style composition and more traditional techniques, for example.

There will be about 75 paintings on display, ranging from 2-by-2-inch to 20-by-50-inch pieces, according to Kepes. Sales of the work will directly support the artists.

Those looking to enjoy traditional Central American food should plan on arriving earlier in the day. At 2:30 p.m., high-energy band MarKamusic, which played at last year’s festival, will perform “pan-Andean World Beat” that encompasses the musical traditions of Indigenous South America, West Africa, Euro-Iberia and contemporary North America. Suzanne LoManto, director of sponsoring organization RiverCulture, expressed last year that the band’s stylistic variety coheres with the diversification of the event.

The afternoon will also feature craft activities for children, as well as a Day of the Dead Altar built by local families with support from Montague Catholic Social Ministries.

The event is sponsored by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, Montague Catholic Social Ministries, RiverCulture, and the Montague and Massachusetts cultural councils.

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or jmendoza@recorder.com.