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Fullbright Scholar
In July, 2002, Patti traveled along with seven other artists and fourteen teachers (Kindergarten through University) to Veracruz, Mexico. As part of SUAVE (Socio Unidos para Artes via Educacion-Communities United through the Arts in Education), they were recipients of the largest group Fullbright grant in the country. The group traveled through Veracruz state in southeastern Mexico.

The purpose of the trip was to study Mexican art, music, dance, story, and culture. They visited schools, cultural centers, archeological sites, churches, museums, large cities, small villages, ecological preserves, and festivals of all types.

They were so graciously received by everyone from mayors and high government officials to people from universities to school children to artists of all types. They had the opportunity to study with many cultural and academic experts.

Highlights of the trip included the opportunity to perform before more than five hundred people at The Festival in Santiago Tuxla. Patti, as well as many of the other artists, had the chance to perform in their various disciplines. The group also studied and worked very hard at learning to sing, play jarranas (small guitars) and dance. This culminated in two additional performances where they were well received. The whole group really enjoyed the exchange of sharing their art as well as stretching to learn the music and dance of another culture.

This trip brings new music and story into all of their work. It certainly brings a deepening to Patti's work with Spanish-speaking audiences back home.

Patti also joins her fellow travelers performing back home as Grupo SUAVE, playing for local fandangos, community events and educational functions.


Patti's original and carefully-crafted story on how she finally succeeded in playing a jarana (her first musical insturment ever) resonated with all who heard it. Who could not identify with feeling the "worst in the class," and with the semi-comical and semi-tragic repercussions resulting? Patti struck a universal chord, hit just the right note for the advocacy of taking a risk.
Mindy Donner, Storyteller.

A few weeks ago I visited the area of Veracruze State where my mother was born. I encountered a land that was ten times more beautiful than what I imagined. (I knew this area only from the stories my mother told me in the past.) I felt a strong connection to this land, where my uncles used to ride their horses or mules from town to town with their jaranas on their shoulders. . . . You are not different from those jaraneros with their jaranas, their songs, and their stories. Think about it: you came once to this land, with your stories and your dreams. You were once that student confronting her fears and didn't give up when you struggled with that strange instrument in your hands. . . . You are now the storyteller-musician-student-teacher with your jarana on your shoulder. You ride powerful horses (and other amazing creatures) from town to town sharing stories, singing and playing, teaching and learning . . . You can meet any student (and teacher) in the world and you can look at them in the eyes and truly tell them why they can't quit. . . . I learned something from this trip; that the best jaraneros are not the ones that have the most impeccable technique, but the ones that can truly share who they are . . . Patti, keep sharing your stories (and your jarana) everywhere your horse takes you.
Eduardo Para, professional musician and artist in residence

Learn more about Patti

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Contact Patti at
(760) 732-0117