FOFA’s first project to address its mission — easing the struggles of Oaxacan artisans, nurturing their creativity and offering hope for their future prospects — was a juried competition for young artists, 15-30 years of age. This took place in July, 2008 and was carried out in close collaboration with Carlomagno Pedro Martínez – internationally-acclaimed ceramicist and Director of the State Museum of Popular Art (Museo Estatal de Arte Popular Oaxaca, MEAPO) located about 20 minutes south of Oaxaca City in the pueblo of San Bartolo Coyotepec. Carlomagno’s assistant, Fernando Pedro Fabián, was also an integral part of this process.
Beginning in spring, 2008, posters and flyers were placed in pueblo community centers and schools in the central valleys of Oaxaca. In addition, radio spots invited artists working in five categories of folk art (ceramics, woodcarving, decorative painting of woodcarving, textiles and “varios” or other modalities of folk art) to submit their exhibition entries to MEAPO by the end of June, 2008.
In July, 2008 an international panel of nine folk art experts selected a winner in each of these categories, along with approximately seven artists in each category to receive honorable mention. Two works by master artisans (over 30 years of age) were also chosen by FOFA to present outstanding examples of each category of popular art.