For 18 years, Celebrate Mexico Now (CMN) has been the only independent festival in New York City devoted to spotlighting contemporary Mexican artistry. Every year, CMN disrupts the often narrow definitions of Mexican culture by exploring the way artists are reshaping, envisioning and reflecting on their identity in the ever-changing global context. With the COVID epidemic still sadly raging, 2021 will not allow for CMN to produce more than a single in-person event, but the organization is proud to continue an unbroken tradition of consistency with a 2021 season consisting of six free, digitally streaming and live events in October and November.
This year's CMN Festival includes explorations into contemporary dance, music, film, visual art, feminist history and arts business, all with a distinctly Mexican flare. The program includes a selection of dance films created during lockdown, orchestrated by a trio of prominent choreographers; an evening of live music with singer-songwriter Renee Goust; a discussion of the role of the Indigenous woman in Mexican history; a screening of two short documentaries on elders within the community and a conversation with their directors; plus a panel talk with the leaders of Mexico's most active live performance venues on surviving COVID.
Celebrate Mexico Now creator and lead curator Claudia Norman says, "For our 2020 season, the first to be presented entirely online, we were pleasantly surprised to discover thousands of avid viewers of our streaming programming tuning in from Canada, Europe, Central and South America. While we all very much miss the live experience, the silver lining of an online festival is the opportunity to expand our audience beyond New York City. While CMN looks forward to future seasons returning with more in-person events, the intention is to continue to explore streaming and hybrid programs in the future."
Norman continues, "It was important for us to continue presenting this festival even under extreme duress and a closed border. First and foremost, we must make sure that this vital cultural interchange continues in a way that prioritizes the safety of our participants and audiences. Equally importantly, we represent an necessary source of income, not just for the artists who make up our lineup but for our administrative staff. I am proud that we have been able to continue to provide support to the NYC and Mexican families that bring CMN to life."
As an independent festival, CMN is made possible thanks to private donations from the Howard Gilman Foundation and The Mexican Cultural Institute of New York, alongside collaborations with our presenting partner: New York University’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and The Mexican Studies Institute at City University of New York. Celebrate Mexico Now's media partner for the 2021 season is PIX-11.
All 2021 Celebrate Mexico Now events will be streamed free via the festival’s website at MexicoNowFestival.org and Facebook Live. The films Yolik (Despacio) and Tote/Abuelo will be available to view through October 31; all other programming will be fully available after the premiere date.
Founded in 2004 by the award-winning curator and producer Claudia Norman of CN Management, Celebrate Mexico Now is New York City's first and only independent arts festival spotlighting contemporary Mexican culture. Over the past decade and a half, Ms. Norman has brought literally hundreds of native Mexican artists - sculptors, musicians, poets, chefs, filmmakers, actors, painters, and directors - to perform and show at venues across New York City, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, New York University, Columbia University and many more. Ms. Norman's continuing goal is to share both the rich, ancient traditions and vibrant new ideas emerging in Mexico's vital arts scene by showcasing Mexican and Mexican-American creators alongside US artists embracing Mexican traditions. In this way, she seeks to present Mexican artistry as a heavyweight player in global culture.