La Danza de la Pluma - cOMMUNITY pROJECT
In the second phase of this Project, we arrived in Teotitlán del Valle the 16th of May in 2008, and the 17th we went to work with the Museum Committee to habilitate a storage room and transform it into the Danza de la Pluma Exhibit.
In the beginning it was difficult to achieve consensus on where the exhibit should be, but there was really no alternative; no other place was large enough for what we envisioned. Once we started working and the community realized we meant business, all their doubts and suspicions vanished and they backed the project wholeheartedly.
We had to meet with the local authorities several times, in the extremely serious Presidencia (Municipal Government Offices), in an atmosphere of thick protocol and few smiles.
Firstly, we needed their approval for several of the things we wanted to do. Also, we needed a letter signed by the Municipal President, stating that the DVD's of the documentary Ruben would be bringing were a donation to the museum -- he would need some help clearing Customs with three hundred DVD's. Later, we needed the Municipal President to review and sign the contract for the donation of the reproduction rights of the documentary. Then we realized we needed more photos of the Dance than the ones the museum had, so we asked the Presidencia to “vocear” (shout out) with loud speakers around town asking people to bring their old Dance photos to the Museum to be scanned. We had great support from the community, and more than forty photos were donated for the Exhibit. Everyone who brought photos received in return their original photo and a restored, enlarged version of their photo.
We had our ups and downs with the work, along with times of frustration due to the fact that the Museum Committee was not accustomed to working with highly ambitious, perfectionist workaholics, but the Exhibit progressed and eventually took shape, surpassing our initial expectations. As the preparation of the Exhibit was in its final stages, the Museum Committee became so enthused that when we asked for a few items of clothing related to the Dance, they went all out and obtained donations from community members of amazing costumes and masks, some eighty years old or more.
All in all it was an incredible experience; and the community, along with everyone involved in the creation of the Exhibit, was very pleased with the results.