Making It Makers

How Pocoapoco Builds Creative Community

De Lo Mio is a Dominican term of endearment often used to express familial solidarity or affection with one another. Translated to “Of My People,” this expression is a way of seeing and naming our connection to others so that we can deepen our sense of belonging and grow stronger together. This Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, Squarespace is honoring the essential role community plays in affirming our identities and cultivating spaces of care.

Based in Oaxaca, Pocoapoco is an arts organization that empowers creatives around the world to explore, connect with, and share their culture and communities. From offering grants and residencies, to hosting guest speakers and partner events, Pocoapoco provides a range of resources to inspire and support artists and creative thinkers.

Read on to learn how Pocoapoco has cultivated an international artistic community, how its work has shifted in the pandemic, and why an online presence is key to the organization’s mission.

SQSP: Your organization champions the arts as a means of merging, understanding, and celebrating different cultures. What has it meant to see Pocoapoco grow?

Pocoapoco: We have the great privilege of working with incredible artists and creative thinkers both in Oaxaca and internationally. It's their participation, ideas, inspiration and connections that make growth and change feel both necessary and also very organic. To see the organization grow feels like proof of the communal investment, insight and care from staff, friends, collaborators and residents.  

SQSP: Pocoapoco offers residencies, grants, workshops, and other opportunities. How has the pandemic impacted the support you offer to creatives?

P: The pandemic drastically changed our program in many ways. One of the biggest shifts was the time and space to focus more directly on the artists in our community in Oaxaca during the long break in international programming and travel. The pandemic provided an opportunity to work more closely and develop programs with artists here on a deeper and more intimate level.  These programs and conversations are now at the core of our work. 

SQSP: What role does Pocoapoco’s online presence play in the organization’s initiatives?

P: Our online presence is not only a space to provide information, it's also a way to share the work, ideas and identities of the people who come through our program.  It’s a space of connection and community that goes beyond our physical location and on-site program.  

SQSP: How does the spirit of De Lo Mio come to life in Pocoapoco’s work?

P: The spirit of De Lo Mio, as you have described it, is really at the heart of our work.  At Pocoapoco, we approach creative work as a means for artists and others to navigate and communicate their own stories, histories, cultures and expressions. Our programs provide space for individuals to deepen these creative practices and languages with the goal of furthering communication, connection and care within their relationships and greater communities.  

SQSP: In what ways is Pocoapoco expanding definitions of community?

P: Pocoapoco creates a space to explore, create and connect between and across cultures, languages and practices, and actively provides time to discuss varying ideas and perceptions of what community is to each of us.  We hope that by listening to and understanding others' thoughts on community and practices of caretaking we can also begin to expand and strengthen our own. 

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