Artists angry that fall cultural festival is called off

Dancers perform for the 2014 del Otoño Cultural. Photo: File
Dancers perform for the 2014 del Otoño Cultural. Photo: File

Mérida, Yucatán — Last year at this time, more than 1,200 artists came together for the 2017 del Otoño Cultural, Mérida’s autumn offering of hundreds of performances and exhibits.

But this year, to the chagrin of the artists, the state Ministry of Culture and the Arts (Sedeculta) decided not to host a 2018 edition of the Fall Cultural Arts Festival, as it is known in English.

A 30-year annual tradition, the festival is considered one of the Yucatán’s most important festivals. The Otoño Cultural is one of the main platforms that exists for local artists.

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Past autumn festivals have included large-scale art shows such as “Between Heaven and Earth,” which included all 106 municipalities in the state, at the Teatro Peón Contreras gallery. Festivals within the festival focused on areas such as short-films, writing, Hanal Pixán altars, jazz and choir music.

Roger Pech, a master of contemporary dance, called the decision a serious error on the part of the Sedeculta, calling it “disastrous, and blaming the management of the ministry’s head, Roger Metri.

“We hope that the next administration can take the post and continue this program, because otherwise it would be quite sad for the artistic medium,” said Pech.

Mannelo Salas, singer, composer and performer, expressed surprised by the suspension of the festival, calling it an unprecedented and regrettable decision.

Salas told Diario de Yucatán that the artists must unite to support each other.

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Jorge Iván Rubio, a cultural promoter, noted that its cancellation was never announced. The new administration has the budget and the time to revive the Otoño Cultural before the end of the year, he said.

With information from Diario de Yucatán

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