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Artisans, Artists, and Ancient Architecture: An Adventure in Mexico with Minerva Ayon and Annie O’Neill

April 28 - May 8

| $3900

Artisans, Artists, and Ancient Architecture: An Adventure in Mexico with Minerva Ayon and Annie O’Neill

Dates: April 28-May 8, 2020
Tuition and Lodging: $3900
Capacity: 12

In order to reserve your space in the class, we require a $500 deposit.


Join Women’s Studio Workshop for an inspiring 10-day art adventure in Mexico! From museums to ancient pyramids and from culinary delights to hands-on artisan demonstrations, artists Minerva Ayon and Annie O’Neill will lead us through several cities and villages in an exploration of traditional crafts and artisan ceramics. Our journey will begin in Mexico City, the vibrant cosmopolitan capital of the country, where we’ll experience a wealth of museums. Next, we travel south to Puebla to enjoy historic architecture adorned with hand-painted ceramic tiles, ancient pyramids, and artisan markets. We conclude our travels in Oaxaca, a stronghold of indigenous culture, art, and craft, visiting several artisan studios and participating in intimate hands-on demonstrations.

Mexico City is home to a number of exceptional museums. We will tour Frida Kahlo’s house and museum, the Museo Nacional de Antropología, and Museo Tamayo. We will also visit the experimental ceramics workshop in Coyoacan, and spend time relaxing in Bosque de Chapultepec, one of the largest urban green-spaces in the Western Hemisphere.

In Puebla, we’ll visit Cholula, which is considered to be the oldest city in The Americas. This charming city is home to the Gran Pyramide and other archeological ruins of the great Aztec civilization, which feature mazes and tunnels that can still be explored. The Pyramid is surrounded by 16th century Spanish architecture with domes covered in ancient hand-painted tiles. Other highlights of our time in Puebla will include visits to Museo Amparo, Talavera ceramic workshops, and Mercado el Parian; a lively market replete with Talavera pottery, beautiful handmade textiles, jewelry, leather goods, and much more. 

The last stop on our tour is Oaxaca, home to many generations of traditional artisans. The Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art describes Oaxaca as “a folk art paradise in which artists create the most extraordinary spectrum of crafts in all of Mexico. […]Artistic traditions are passed along within a particular family or village, interpreted by each new generation not as static blueprints but as evolving individual reflections on place, time and culture.” With expertise and enthusiasm, Mexican folk art expert Annie O’Neill will be traveling with us and connecting with some of her favorite Oaxacan artisans, arranging studio visits with hands-on demonstrations in a variety of ceramic techniques using terracotta, black clay, and painted-red clay.


Minerva Ayón is a mixed media and installation artist who hails from Mexico City, Mexico. She currently lives in Cuernavaca, Morelos and is actively engaged in the contemporary art scene around Mexico. She holds a BA in Sculpture from Center of Arts of Morelos, an MFA from the National University of Mexico, and has studied at Concordia University, Montreal. In addition to maintaining a very active art practice and exhibition schedule, she has worked as an assistant to renowned artist Magali Lara since 2007, and teaches Tradition and Contemporary Art and Textiles in Visual Arts Center Morelense de las Artes. As someone who is versed in the traditional crafts as well as immersed in the contemporary art scene in Mexico she will guide us through her country with exuberance, passion, and a contagious sense of humor.

Annie O’Neill has a long-standing relationship with Mexican folk art. She was the owner of the Mexican Folk Art Annex art gallery in Manhattan from 1966 to 1980. During that time, she traveled the country with the director of Museo Nacional de Artes y Industrias Populares and worked with him on a book about lacquerware in Olinala. She was the folk art curator and project manager for Folk Treasures of Mexico, The Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection, photographing and writing all the commentary for the book about that collection. She curated shows with the collection until it was donated to the San Antonio Museum of Art and the Mexican Museum in San Francisco. Annie continues her engagement with Oaxacan artisans as a member of the advisory board of Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art (FOFA), a nonprofit that encourages young folk artists to continue to work as artisans. With a rich history of personal connections and experiences and a great amount of expertise and enthusiasm she will guide us through Oaxaca.



SCHEDULE (Subject to minor changes)

Tuesday, April 28: Arrive In Mexico City (CDMX)

 Wednesday, April 29: Mexico City

Thursday, April 30: Mexico City

Friday, May 1: Mexico City

  • Tour of Galleries and Contemporary Art 
  • Evening: Participants get dinner on their own and have free time 

Saturday, May 2: Mexico City to Puebla

Lodging: Hotel Senorial Puebla

  • Morning: Travel to Puebla (3 hours by charter bus)
  • Afternoon: Visit Museo Amparo and Mercado el Parian (artisan market)
  • Evening: Participants get dinner on their own and have free time 

Sunday, May 3: Puebla

  • Morning: Breakfast in Cholula and visit Talavera Workshop, Talavera de la Reina
  • Afternoon: Visit archeological ruins of the Great Pyramid of Cholula
  • Evening: Participants get dinner on their own and have free time 

Monday, May 4: Puebla to Oaxaca

Lodging: City Centro Oaxaca 

  • Morning: Travel to Oaxaca and check into hotel
  • Afternoon: Visit the ruins of Monte Albán
  • Evening: Participants get dinner on their own and have free time 

Tuesday, May 5: Oaxaca

  • Morning: Visit and experience black pottery in San Bartolo Coyotepec at the home of Pamela Montserrat López Gonzalez, and visit MEAPO (State Museum of Popular Art of Oaxaca)
  • Evening: Participants get dinner on their own and have free time 

Wednesday, May 6: Oaxaca

  • Morning: Hands-on demonstration with FOFA artisans Leticia Blanco and Fernando Pequero in Santa Maria Atzompa 
  • Evening: Participants get dinner on their own and have free time 

Thursday, May 7: Oaxaca

  • Morning: Visit Ocotlan de Morelos and studios in the homes of Josefina Aguilar, her son Demetrio, and her grandson Fran.
  • Afternoon: Visit FOFA artisan Sara Garcia Mendoza in San Antonino and participate in hands-on demonstrations.
  • Evening: Participants get dinner on their own and have free time; start packing

Oaxaca Friday, May 8:

  • Morning: Pack and check out of hotel
  • Afternoon: Participants execute their own travel plans



Mexican cuisine is world-renowned for its complex flavors that combine native crops cultivated by the Aztecs (like corn, beans, tomatoes, and squash) with Spanish culinary traditions introduced in the 16th century. Spices, nuts, and meat are common in traditional Mexican cooking and are not always readily apparent as they may be included in broths or pastes, so if you have dietary restrictions or are sensitive to spicy food we recommend communicating this clearly when ordering. 

As with all international travel, it is important to take extra precautions with food and drinking-water. Tourists often do not have the same resistance to local microbes that residents do. We encourage you to read the CDC’s recommendations for how to stay healthy and safe on your trip to Mexico. We will provide you with physical copies of these recommendations upon your arrival.



WSW has arranged a chartered bus to transport us between our destinations while in Mexico. Participants will be responsible for arranging their transportation to and from the country and should plan to check into our group lodging in Mexico City on April 28th before our first group dinner at 6pm. Our trip will conclude on May 8th in Oaxaca. Be advised that this trip begins and ends in two different cities, which means that your flight plans should include arrival in Mexico City on April 28th and departure from Oaxaca on May 8th. Visa requirements vary by country of citizenship. American citizens can travel as a short-term tourists to Mexico without a Visa. If you are not an American citizen, please check your Visa requirements.


April 28
May 8
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