Past Events



Folk Art at Tito’s Vodka

Sherry Wagner will give Austin Friends of Folk Art a rare tour of her international folk art collection now permanently displayed at Tito’s Homemade Vodka. She was introduced to folk art by designer/collector Alexander Girard at HemisFair/68 in San Antonio. With a career advising museums around the world, Sherry assembled pieces from 59 countries. To quote: “I began to acquire objects that intrigued me in order to think about them, to share them with friends and family, and occasionally to use them to illustrate ideas about the creative process. I think the creative spirit expressed in these objects brings delight.”

Sherry currently is helping to plan an innovative aquarium in the island country of Cabo Verde off the coast of Senegal. She is fascinating, and so is her collection which is not generally open to the public.

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Austin Friends of Folk Art 
in Cooperation with
El Interior, Austin



Saturday, June 23, 2018, 8:00 p.m.
At the home of Merry Wheaton & Dick LeVan
3900 Berryhill Way, Austin
Pay at the door: $10 members, $12 non-members
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Attention! AFFA Board Member Ed Jordan has planned some special fun for this event. In honor of agave, he has prepared a tequila tasting, and he is donating an awesome door prize as well. You won’t want to miss this!

Addendum: Ed has added to the fun and donated a number of small folk art items (around 45) for a sale, with all proceeds to benefit AFFA! He says that items are “priced from $4 to $22, a couple more than that, but most are priced $8 to $18.” Sounds like a deal! (Hint: It would probably be a good idea to bring cash or a check in case you see something you just can’t live without.)

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Agave Is Life, about an hour long, is in English. It unveils the 10,000 year-old story of mankind’s symbiotic relationship with the agave plant. The agave, native to the Americas, was once a critical resource for survival for indigenous hunter-gathers living in arid regions of the American Southwest and Mesoamerica. 
While contemporary people may know agave only as the source of tequila, for millennia this hardy desert succulent provided all of life’s necessities: food, drink, textiles, fuel, shelter, and medicines. As such, it became embedded in myth, religion, art, and culture. For indigenous peoples, it was truly a gift from the gods.
Agave Is Life brings home the fact that agave faces an uncertain future, with ancient folkways, such as fiber craftsmanship and the production of the alcoholic beverages mezcal and pulque, rapidly disappearing.
Agave Is Life is visually enriched by aerial footage, ancient festivals, and mystical rock art. It was produced by Austin’s own Archeo Productions, narrated by actor Edward James Olmos, and enhanced by original music by Alvin Ryzen Ramos.
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 Distribution of Agave: The Americas



SUNDAY, APRIL 29, 2018
2 – 4 p.m.
Group lunch at 12 noon at Liberty Bar and Grill
. . .


February 17 – May 13, 2018

San Antonio 1718: Art from Mexico; Hardcover; Editor - Marion Oettinger Jr.

San Antonio 1718: Art from Viceregal Mexico is an important exhibition honoring the Tricentennial of San Antonio. It will end on May 13, so this is a wonderful chance to take in the exhibition with a group of fun and like-minded folks, the Austin Friends of Folk Art.

Even if you have already seen the exhibition, you may want to see it again, because we will be led on an in-depth tour by our long-time friend, Dr. Marion Oettinger, who is also the exhibition’s curator and curator of Latin American Art at the Museum. This is Dr. Oettinger’s final exhibition for the San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA), because he is retiring and about to embark on new adventures!

For more information about the exhibition, click here.

. . .

Cost: $10 per person; $5 cash per person to driver if carpooling. Lunch and museum admission not included.

The San Antonio Museum of Art is located in downtown San Antonio at 200 West Jones Avenue, 78215. Phone is (210) 978-8100.

The Liberty Bar, now in a restored convent, is located at 1111 S. Alamo Street, San Antonio, TX 78210.

Participants are encouraged to carpool to San Antonio.

Carpool information:

Contact Pat McCambridge at or call (512) 382-9759. Tell her if you plan to drive or need a ride, and also if you are going to lunch or simply coming for the museum tour at 2:00. If you are willing to take passengers, tell her how many. Each carpool passenger will pay the driver $5 cash for gas.

Carpools will meet at the parking lot next to Randall’s at Balcones and 2222 and will leave promptly at 10:30 a.m. for lunch at Liberty Bar, followed by the SAMA tour.

. . .

Payment:  Mail check ($10/person) payable to AFFA to Jim Huff, 8410 Lone Mesa, Austin, TX 78759, or plan to pay cash on the day of the event.

Questions? Contact Pat McCambridge,, (512) 382-9759.


















2015 History Day Flyer - Mexican American Folk Art 8.5x11





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Austin Friends of Folk Art invites you to our Annual Membership Party

Sunday, February 16, 2014
3 p.m.
– 5 p.m.
at the home of
Pam and John Finley
Dripping Springs, Texas

Come join us for friends, folk art, fun, and snacks as we celebrate AFFA and show appreciation for our wonderful members (you!) at our annual Membership Party.  Meet the new president and vice president of AFFA, and welcome back returning board members. We’ll look back at what we’ve accomplished this past year (a lot!) and look ahead to fabulous plans for the future. No cost! It’s free!

This year, we’ll celebrate at the lovely home of members Pam and John Finley.
















2011 Member Party

AFFA March 2011 Event

AFFA Eblast February 2011



The year started with a bang as we teamed up with Los Amigos del Arte Popular to fly the four folk artists above from Mexico for five days of demos, talks, pure enjoyment. With a schedule spanning voodoo and oom-pah, chocolate and Czech Texas, it was an interesting year!

Benini Galleries and Sculpture Ranch & a stop at Pieces of the Past. Near Johnson City, Benini (an Italian-born painter with 160 solo exhibitions to his credit) and his wife Lorraine welcomed us to their 145 acres where national and international sculptors are placing large-scale contemporary works. Benini talked with us about his life and work. Then after lunch we enjoyed treasure hunting at AFFA member business, Pieces of the Past.

Membership party & Mexic-Arte’s exhibit, “Imagining Mexico: Expressions in Popular Culture.” A terrific exhibit of Mexican popular arts (much of it from our members’ collections), music by Austin Piazzolla Quintet, a tango demo and lesson by Mónica Caivano and Gustavo Simplis of Esquina Tango, food, spirits, a raffle, and good company all helped AFFA launch another great year.

“Voodoo & Haitian Contemporary Art,” a lecture by Gerald Alexis. Formerly director and curator of the Musée d’Art Haitien in Port-au-Prince and now project coordinator of “Caribbean Voices and Images” for Institut Canadien de Québec, Alexis elucidated the work of self-taught artist Hector Hyppolite. Co-sponsored with UT’s Center for Latin American Visual Studies.

George O. Jackson, Jr., images and talk, “Propitiatory Festivals of Central Guerrero.” Described as “a walking encyclopedia of indigenous folk customs of Mexico,” George gave AFFA a first-rate presentation with images of rain petitions that included lots of costumes, masks, rituals, and dances. The reception and talk, held at UT’s Harry Ransom Center were co-sponsored with UT’s Long Institute for Latin American Studies.
The Big Squeeze Accordion Contest Semi-finals. The Big Squeeze went on the road in 2010, holding live auditions around the state for accordion players age 21 or younger. AFFA heard the rollicking young musicians at Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, where finalists were chosen to compete at Texas Folklife’s wildly popular Accordion Kings & Queens festival in Houston.

Day trip to Czech Texas. A wonderful guide took us through four of the painted churches in small towns near Schulenburg. Czech immigrants built the churches between 1895 and 1919 giving them elaborately painted interiors with details like faux marble columns, all reminders of the homeland they left behind. A PBS special featured these churches which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Another treat was a stop at “Shinerville, Pop. 2,” the home and studio of member, Jim Mangum and his wife Sidney.
Chocolate: Pathway to the Gods, a presentation and book signing by Meredith Dreiss & Sharon Edgar Greenhill. Drawing on archaeological and ethnographic research, the authors discussed the religious, social, cultural and medicinal roles that chocolate has played in the lives of Mesoamericans for 3500 years. Their profusely illustrated book grew out of their 2005 documentary film (which comes on DVD with the book). They shared fascinating information and images, like one of a clay warrior figure clad in cacao armor.

Movie night: MAKE. This documentary by Scott Ogden and Malcolm Hearn is an intimate view of the lives of Prophet Royal Robertson, Hawkins Bolden, Judith Scott and Ike Morgan, four American self-taught artists whose worlds are as unique as their creations.

Movie night: For the Next 7 Generations. This film documents the momentous journey of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers from the four corners of the earth, traveling around the globe to promote world peace and share their indigenous ways of healing. The film begins at their first gathering in 2004 and follows them to the Amazon rainforest, the mountains of Mexico, throughout North America, and to Dharamsala, India, for a private meeting with the Dalai Lama. Facing a world in crisis, the Grandmothers share their visions of healing and call for change now, before it’s too late.

Victor Torres Studio Visit. AFFA and Mexic-Arte Museum co-sponsored this studio visit and potluck dinner with 76-year-old self-taught artist, Victor Torres. A landscape artist by trade, this man who carves the most surprising materials, created an enchanting oasis behind his East Austin home.

Oaxaca Days in Texas! AFFA and Los Amigos del Arte Popular (LADAP) co-sponsored this visit of five Oaxacans, which was the brain child of business member Joan Griffith of Wildwood Art Café. See page 1 for more about the AFFA grant that funded a series of events to introduce these amazing folk artists to Austin and Houston audiences.
Felting with Deborah Robertson. In an all-day workshop, we learned why custom felt is expensive! Our hard work and Deborah’s good guidance produced hats and a purse to be proud of.

Holiday Party & Auction. We wrapped up the year in the wonderful home of Luz Angela and Andy Norton, proving that the first F in AFFA really does stand for friends. Music by the Studebakers, world foods, and a silent auction raised funds for grants to artists, educators and institutions.



From scholars to belly dancers, 16th century maps to 21st century art installations, AFFA dished up it, and members ate it up. We didn’t eat bugs, but when Barrett Klein gave his presentation, we could have!

“Volkskunst: German-American Folk Art from Pennsylvania & Texas,” at San Antonio Museum of Art. This exhibit featured charming examples of the artistic contributions made by Germanic people who settled in Pennsylvania and Texas from the 18th to the 20th centuries. After a German lunch at Schilo’s we went to COSAS in Boerne, where owners Bob & Amy Niederhauser treated us to coffee and cookies in a store chock full of Mexican “cosas.”

Membership Party at Mexic-Arte. Cienfuegos provided lively Latin music, Candela provided a dance demo and a cumbia lesson, and AFFA members provided appetizers, salads and desserts. It was a fun way to renew, and recruit, members.

“Insects in Folk Art,” a presentation by Barrett Klein & Bug-o-Rama, a Members’ Show & Tell. The enthusiasm of this Ph.D. candidate in Ecology, Evolution & Behavior made us wish every teacher was like him. He took us around the world and through human to see examples of the impact insects have on artistic expression. Barbara von Merz hosted in her folk-art filled home and lovely garden.

“Forgotten Gateway: Coming to America through Galveston Island,” with Suzanne Seriff, Phd, guest curator. This exhibit at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum explored Galveston’s role in admitting millions of immigrants to America. It featured stories of contemporary immigrants and voices of those who came before, discussing the decision to leave their homes, the dangers of the journey, navigating the bureaucracy, facing racial profiling, and learning a new language and a new way in a new land. The exhibit travels nationally in 2010 and 2011.

Pose & Puff: Middle Eastern Fest at Las Casitas. The Westlake estate of architect Marc Brewster was the site of this multi-sensory experience: pulsing music by Los Klezmeros, whirling belly dance with instruction by Twyla Grace, tasty tidbits from Sarah’s Mediterranean Grill, a hookah with fruit and mint flavored tobaccos, and five hillside acres with ponds, a waterfall, and sculptures. Here Gayle Anglin perfects her moves.

Relaciones Geográficas: Rare Maps of Mexico & Guatemala. Adán Benavides spoke to us about the rare maps produced in the 16th century for King Philip II, who wanted to inventory Spain’s holdings in the New World. We got a fascinating close-up look at the maps, many drawn by indigenous people with their own representational approaches. Of the 191 responses to the King’s order, 167 are known to exist, and 43 are in UT’s Benson Latin American Collection.

AFFA Movie Night: Mexican Double Feature with Curtis Craven. This local filmmaker showed us two short documentaries about Mexico—Burning Judas (Easter eve in San Luis Potosí) and La Tamalada (celebrating the Immacu-late Conception in Atotonilco el Alto, Jalisco). We loved hearing about his work and he loved finding such an enthusiastic audience. Barbara Jackson hosted us for the movie and snacks—tamales, of course.

AFFA Movie Night: “Golden Door.” Sylvia Guyton and Ernie Fortenberry welcomed us to their home for this Italian movie about a widower who decides to make the difficult voyage to America with his two sons, one of whom is deaf and mute. This beautiful movie won six awards at the Venice Film Festival in 2006, including best film.

San Antonio River Outing & “Colors on Clay,” with Susan Frost. On a private cruise with a guide from the San Antonio River Foundation, we appreciated the new River Walk extension and the art installations under each bridge. It was satisfying to see the Maverick tile mural, which Susan Frost rescued and which AFFA grants helped install. We lunched at La Fonda, then went to the Witte Museum for the Colors on Clay exhibition and Susan’s talk and book signing.

Day of the Dead ofrenda, potluck dinner & tour of Doug Rodenbaugh’s collection. A poignant event in a wonderful Central Austin home. We decorated an altar with photos and mementos of loved ones who have passed away, we shared a meal, and we oohed and aahed over Doug’s collection. Then he invited us to do it all again next year!

“Links Between Mexican Folk Retablos and the Art of Jose Guadalupe Posada, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo,” by Jim Luedeke. Jim and Kelly Luedeke, owners of Mi Casa Gallery, at 1700 S. Congress, hosted us for an open house and presentation. We enjoyed Jim’s talk, their very impressive collection of retablos, Kelly’s Peruvian cookies, and discounted shopping.

Holiday Party & Auction. Friends partied in the beautiful home of Nilda de la Llata. Spirits ran high with delicious food catered by El Sol y La Luna, lively music by Grammy-nominated Sister Sister y los Misters, and an excellent auction put on by Terry Tannert and her committee, which raised $3,179.



One of the highlights of the year was exploring the Cathedral of Junk with the “yard-ist” Vince Henneman (above) who’s doing his part to keep Austin weird!

Visit to W.W. Treenware Co., in Elgin, Texas. In a 1901 building on Main St., Nancy Lou Webster, whose traditional Welsh love spoons are hotly collected, showed us how she hand shapes kitchen utensils using native woods. It was an interesting studio tour, a fun visit with a colorful Texas artisan, and a chance to try our hands at making treenware.

Membership Party at the Home of John & Melissa Torres. A beautiful home, a fascinating collection of Mexican masks and other folk art, friends, food, spirits, the music of Cienfuegos, a dance demo and merengue lesson all made an event to share. And share we did. Members brought friends who had a grand time, and quite a few joined AFFA!

Unveiling of the Crestview Wall of Welcome. The entire neighborhood organized to honor Jean Graham for the block-long wall of welcome she designed, coordinated, and assembled near Woodrow and St. John’s. Neighbors made the border tiles with Jean’s guidance. AFFA had provided some grant money to help bring the project to completion.

Trip to Houston Museum of Contemporary Craft for PBS touring exhibit, Craft in America: Expanding Traditions. The 3-part PBS special, Craft in America, is a gem which explores the history and significance of the craft movement in the U.S. and its impact on the nation’s cultural heritage. Memory looks at the historical relevance of craft through the eyes of several contemporary pioneers in the field. Landscape examines the relationship of craft artists to their media and the natural world. Community highlights the social and emotional connections that crafts embody. Thirteen local art teachers went with us.

Wine and cheese at the Cathedral of Junk. “Yardist” Vince Hannemann has been building his Cathedral of Junk in South Austin since 1988 and he estimates it now contains over 60 tons of junk. “I just did it because it was kinda cool. It’s my clubhouse. It’s fun,” he says, adding that he has about three different fantasies going on at the same time and that he enjoys sitting outside in the evening, looking at the structure, and thinking about what he’ll add where. Here Monica Shomos hams it up on the throne.

Special Screening of Pottery of Mexico Vol. 1: Pineapples of Patamban and San José de Gracia. A 40 minute film about pottery-making in two villages of Michoacán with a soundtrack of regional music and the chance to ask questions of Austin potter Lisa Orr and professional filmmaker Troy Lanier, the artists behind this beautiful film which AFFA helped fund.

AFFA Movie Night: “Water,” 2007 Academy Award nominee for best foreign language film. Barbara Jackson hosted us for this gorgeous film set in India in 1938 Water explores the plight of widows in traditional Hindu culture, where they are condemned to a grim existence. A new law which permits a widow to remarry is not popular, and this, plus his embracing the lower castes, pits Gandhi against his own people.

AFFA Movie Night: “Blossoms of Fire.” Sandie Huston and Lee Schultz hosted us for this documentary portrait of the Zapotec women of Juchitan, Oaxaca, known for their distinctive embroidered clothing. This dazzling, whirling dance of a film celebrates the extraordinary lives of a people whose strong work ethic and fierce independent streak have resulted in powerful women, progressive politics, and the group’s unusual tolerance of alternative gender roles.

Aztec and Maya Revival exhibit at Mexic-Arte. Claudia Zapata, M.A. candidate in Art and Art History at UT and a moving force behind this show, guided us through the fascinating exhibit about Mexico’s artistic reach into its pre-Columbian past.

Shop & Swap! in Dagmar & Terry Grieder’s yard. The setting was lovely, the weather was fine and with 23 vendors, a lot of treasures found new homes. AFFA volunteers handed out our new brochures, showed off some of the projects we have funded, and recruited new members. Dagmar Grieder had made some chicken doorstops from ethnic textiles. One favorite: the chicken mole…uh mola. More photos on past events page at

Step Into India @ Marigold-Gateway to India, 2200 S. Lamar. At this event which was free and open to the public, we delighted our inner and outer selves with sitar music by Amie Maciszewski (UT PhD in Ethnomusicology) and Shiv Naimpalli on tablas, Indian snacks and sari wrapping in Lata Karna’s beautiful Indian import store.

Mariachi Mass, Mission San Jose and Artisan Fair. Susan Chandoha, Executive Director of Mission San José, arranged a special visit for us, with a short movie about the missions, a Mariachi Mass and a ranger-guided tour. Susan Frost showed us the San José Pottery tiles in the former home of Ethel Harris on the mission grounds.



Art collector, Lance Aaron delighted us with anecdotes as he took us through Mexic-Arte’s exhibit of part of his collection of Mexican art. As we toured Central Texas and visited Ajijic, Mexico for the Feria de Maestros del Arte, we took in gardens, folk art collections, art-filled homes, a studio tour, a visiting artist, and more than one fabulous art exhibit. And we staged a folk art sale and month-long exhibit for thousands to enjoy.

Folk art sale & exhibit at Central Market on North Lamar. AFFA arranged an all-day folk art sale in Central Market Cafe. Bands (members of Austin Friends of Traditional Music) provided music at the event. AFFA brochures and members’ folk art were on display for a month.

Poor Man’s Fortune causes serious toe tapping at membership party. Monica Shomos and Ron Taylor hosted this event at their wonderful new home. Members brought delicious salads, appetizers and desserts. Fun, friendly and free!

Bus trip to Peckerwood Garden & John Fairey Folk Art Collection, Hempstead, Texas. This first-rate repository of rare and unusual plants and folk art from Mexico and the U.S. is the result of John Fairey’s 30-year effort to highlight and strengthen our common heritage. Peckerwood Garden has a beautiful website but the folk art collection is not online and is rarely open to the public.

Lance Aaron’s exhibit at Mexic-Arte & lunch with Los Amigos del Arte Popular (LADAP). Lance Aaron guided us through his exhibit From Revolution to Renaissance, which included more than 100 important pieces of fine and folk art from Mexico’s Golden Age (1920-1950). We had lunch at Nilda de la Llata’s art-filled home with LADAP members who came from Houston for the day. Then Merry Wheaton and Dick LeVan opened their colorful home to the group.

Movie Night: “Cave of the Yellow Dog.” A mix of documentary, children’s story and drama filmed in Mongolia, it won a Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. With breathtaking scenery and actors who are a real family (not professional actors), it offers an intimate, thought-provoking look at a very different lifestyle.

Maestros Mexicanos Gallery Opening. An enthusiastic crowd perused the gallery full of high quality Mexican folk art. Sales were lively and the food, margaritas and agua de piña were terrific. Teresa Kendrick, Carmen Sepulveda, Roberto Garduño, Linda Hannah, Suzy Kirchberg and Roberto Alvarado brought this fine folk art and us together.

Indian dance drama, “Krishna Vande Jagatguru.” The Silamban Dance Company revived this classic about “Krishna as a child, lover and God” and got rave reviews in India. The audience here in Austin was a veritable fashion show with colors not found in our crayon box. The performance was followed by Indian dinner at The Clay Pit.

AFFA Youth Outreach: Shield, Story & Song in the Lakota Tradition. Lakota sun dancer, Tim White Face, taught 15 Boy Scouts and siblings to make Native American shields while talking about the need to be one with creation. He also played a drum (“It’s a heartbeat.”) and sang a prayer. The children were very receptive and the Round Rock Leader ran an article about the event.

Day in San Antonio for “Huipiles: A Celebration,” Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Museum & Susan Frost’s house. At the Museo Alameda Smithsonian, we previewed Kathy Sosa’ huipiles exhibit and enjoyed trunk shows of silver and huipiles. At Barney’s, where 800 seats are displayed in his garage, we helped make a toilet seat in honor of our visit. Lunch at Mi Tierra and a visit to Susan Frost’s house rounded out a delightfully offbeat day.

Lance Aaron guided tour of “From Revolution to Renaissance.” Repeat of an earlier tour by popular demand.

Philippe Klinefelter Studio visit. This Austin architect, sculptor and architectural artisan works in stone, metal and wood, has studied Mayan architecture and culture for 35 years and has a fine collection of Mayan jade carving tools. He wants to dedicate his life to public art, some of which is high on the wall in the Austin Bergstrom Airport baggage-claim area. His wife Sun Yong Chung makes beautiful inlaid colored porcelain serving ware and tiles.

Mexic-Arte’s Annual Día de los Muertos Procession. The event honored Frida Kahlo, who was born 100 years ago. AFFA contributed a bunch of ‘Fridas’ in two well-marked trucks. Sharon Smith’s, topped by a basket full of chihuahuas, held a colorful group, and Terry Tannert’s light-draped truck carried three generations of Fridas: Nancy Townsend, her daughter McKenna, and McKenna’s daughter Ceilidh Welsh.

Day of the Dead ofrenda & chicken mole feast. Creating an altar, sharing a meal and telling stories about those we remembered made this a poignant event.

Rendezvous in Ajijic. Teresa Kendrick, author of Mexico’s Lake Chapala and Ajijic: The Insider’s Guide, planned this trip to coincide with an art fair that brings 50+ folk artists from all over Mexico at no cost to themselves. AFFA folks loved meeting and buying directly from them, and had fun on a side trip to Tlaquepaque.

Demetrio Aguilar visit. Over a potluck dinner at Priscilla Murr’s, this outstanding Oaxacan potter recounted his frightening experience with U.S. immigration. Thanks to Terry Hennessey of The Turquoise Door for sharing Demetrio with us.

“Heart in Hand” holiday party. In the 1920s Spanish revival style home of Lulu Flores and Scott Hendler, we enjoyed each other, the quiet Latin jazz of Grupo Gruvo and delicious food from Italy, Mexico and the Middle East. Too bad 5 bottles of wine escaped notice! The silent auction items were acquired directly from Mexican artisans, and our own John Torres live-auctioned select pieces. This was educational as Joan Griffith of Wild Wood Art Cafe and Teresa Kendrick talked about the artists, their communities and production methods. We thank them for shopping for us and donating the shipping.