Suzanne first visited Oaxaca in February, 2003 from Minnesota, where February is bleak, bleak, bleak and the only colors are white, grey, brown, and dirty white. Suzanne arrived after dark and awakened the next morning to bright sun, incredible blue sky, and brilliant color everywhere. She fell in love in that moment and has returned to Oaxaca five times, most recently staying for 2 ½ months. Suzanne loves wandering the streets of the city with the red, orange, blue, green buildings, the parks, the warmth of the people, and the amazing folk art. She began collecting art from Oaxaca during her first visit and has continued to do so on every subsequent visit. The interior of her Minnesota home is filled with the colors and art of Mexico.
Suzanne learned about FOFA in 2009, when she stayed at the home of a friend during her fourth Oaxacan visit. He sent her a map produced by FOFA to show the location of MEAPO, where the 2008 contest winners’ art was on display. Suzanne immediately googled FOFA to learn about its work and, after reading its mission statement, not only sent in a donation but also became determined to contribute further to FOFA’s goals. After a year of communication with Arden Rothstein, Suzanne arrived in Oaxaca with the assignment to teach an English class to young artesanos. It was a perfect fit since she had spent her professional career in corporate training and development, has an ESL teaching certificate, and currently teaches English at Berlitz Language Schools. Suzanne was able to combine her passion for Oaxacan art with her extensive teaching experience to create two of the most exciting and rewarding months of her life. She will return to Oaxaca for longer stays in the future, and will possibly be there full-time. She will continue working with FOFA to further their goals to promote and preserve Oaxacan folk art.