The Pátzcuaro Day of the Dead Artisanal Market 2020 was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic. However, the 51st Concurso of the Day of the in Dead Pátzcuaro (LI Concurso Estatal de Artesanías en Pátzcuaro) held by the Instituto del Artesano Michoacano (IAM) and the Fondo Nacional para el Fomento de las Artesanías (Fonart) in Pátzcuaro October 2020.
I had the honor to be one of the judges, however the Instituto del Artesano Michoacano, has very strict rules regarding Covid.
There were 2,713 pieces entered in the concurso. The judges break up into teams to choose the best entries of each category. Out of those chosen, the judges then discussed why certain pieces are more outstanding than others and merit consideration for a prize. Remember that in each category a first prize, then several second and third place prizes are awarded. But in those same categories, certain pieces might be chosen to be awarded a different prize such as: revival of an old technique, new innovation or a special prize awarded due to the excellence of the piece. After all the first prizes are presented, all judges meet to decide and vote on the special prizes.
In 2020, both of the largest markets in Michoacán were canceled: Semana Santa in Uruapan and Day of the Dead in Pátzcuaro. The artisans count on these markets for up to 60% or more of their yearly sales. Therefore, due to the Covid pandemic, these prizes and the monies awarded, were well received with even more gratitude than usual. A total of 210 prizes were awarded. Zócalo Galería and some generous contributions by friends of Zócalo Folk Art & Tours, we were able to sponsor two “Premio Especial” (special prizes) and two “Primer Especial” (first prizes).