By Cristina Vázquez
The APAP | NYC + conference that dictates the agenda of the performing arts industry, mainly in the United States but also worldwide, and that took place from January 8 to 12, when held virtually, for the first time in 64 years, with reduced rates and even some 300 subsidized tickets, was available to people who, due to cost reasons, could not attend in past editions. I witnessed it with colleagues and close friends.
In my opinion, this panorama highlighted the need to rethink the conference model for it to be available to a larger audience. As a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP), which I have been for a year, I have been working for the inclusion of a greater number of Latinxs in this area of specialization.
Of the 2,200 attendees, according to figures reported by the Organizing Committee, some 136 people who identified themselves as Latinxs or Hispanics participated in this conference, in which year after year, with New York City as its headquarters, contact is encouraged between artists, programmers, presenters, agents, managers, producers and directors of venues and cultural festivals.
My experience was positive when working with my colleagues in the so-called Affinity Groups both from the BIPOC community, as Blacks, Native Americans and people of color are called, as well as Latinxs and international programmers, but these groups require a direction with clear objectives to go beyond the talk. We need to define strategies.
I believe that the APAP | NYC + programming was very successful in addressing two major issues: health, in the face of the crisis caused by COVID-19, and racial equity, which, in the words of Lisa Richards Toney, president and CEO of the association, “it is not an option, but a way of life”.
Two men were the main speakers at the conference: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the infectious disease expert from the USA, and the cellist Yo-Yo Ma. I think that to really put into practice the policy of racial equity, diversity and inclusion, known as REDI, under which APAP is guided, it required the participation of a woman.
In his presentation, Fauci stressed that theaters could reopen their doors in the fall of 2021, if by then 75 to 85 percent of the US population is vaccinated.
Yo-Yo Ma, 18-time winner of the Grammy Award and Messenger of Peace of the United Nations, closed the conference by recalling the role of the arts during the pandemic and quoting Mr. Fred Rogers: “‘Whenever there’s a crisis, you can always look for the helpers.’”
For those unfamiliar with the conference, APAP | NYC + also unveils the artistic proposals of the moment through showcases, fragments of shows often preceded by an introduction by the creators, and has the largest performing arts market of the world.
All the programming that the conference covered was available to see digitally through a platform, from my functional point of view, such as Swapcard, but sometimes the offer of activities was so abundant that it was difficult to stay online for so long.
The truth is that virtual events are here to stay and it is likely that next year the APAP conference will have a hybrid format between face-to-face and digital, because as I said at the beginning, virtuality, by reducing costs, facilitates arrival to larger audiences.
Hence the importance of me teaming up with Chicano Eddie Cota, the other Latinx member of the
APAP Board of Directors, to achieve the inclusion and strengthening of our community within the performing arts professionals and achieve better opportunities for all.
Cristina Vázquez, director of Contenidos Artísticos Production and Diffusion, is a cultural manager, programmer and producer. One of her main purposes is to promote the circulation of the Performing Arts.
Mexican, from the city of León, she graduated from the Communication Sciences career and continued her training as a cultural manager with studies from the National Council for Culture and the Arts and in 17, the Institute of Critical Studies, where she obtained the Cultural Management Certificate from the Critical Entrepreneurship.
Cristina Vázquez has the strong conviction that going to meet new viewers, both in Mexico and in the United States and other countries, contributes to fighting stereotypes, opening new communication channels and forming communities.
Her quest is to create lasting relationships between audiences, artists and institutions. The expansion of audiences, she thinks, generates knowledge and understanding among the inhabitants of this global village.
In 2012 she founded Contenidos Artísticos, a firm dedicated to the programming, production and dissemination of artistic and cultural projects, based in Mexico, which is complemented, since 2015, with Contenidos Artísticos INC, based in Chicago, Illinois.
With the multidisciplinary collaboration of important allies, Cristina Vázquez advised the Municipality of Zacatecas in the elaboration of its Cultural Development Plan and coordinated the National Book Fair (Fenal) from 2006 to 2009. Since 2016, she has been collaborating permanently with the Cultural Institute of León in various programming and production projects.
She was a programmer at the Teatro del Bicentenario in León, has worked with the Teatro Juárez in Guanajuato and developed and operated the urban meeting “Todo sobre Ruelas” in Zacatecas.
In addition, in 2012 and 2013 she produced and programmed the José Alfredo Jiménez International Festival, which pays tribute to the great Mexican icon and singer-songwriter, in Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato.
Since 2013 she works for the National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature (INBAL). She has produced and coordinated important projects with the Mexican National Ballet Company having as headquarters the Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Juárez Theater, during the Cervantino Festival, as well as with the National Opera Company and the National Theater Coordination. In 2019, she began a collaboration with the National Center for the Arts (CENART) by producing the International Black and White Piano Festival.
In 2018, she made alliances with agencies in the United States for the circulation of the performing arts in Mexico. This is how she presented Fuse, a group based in Italy, with its multimedia performance Dökk and the Colombian company Sankofa Danzafro with its acclaimed show La ciudad de los otros.
Through Contenidos Artísticos INC, the production agency, for the past five years she has focused on bicultural work between Mexico and the United States. Her work has been to find spaces for Mexican artists to present themselves on the other side of the border, while contributing to the construction of an image of Mexican culture and art that transcends the folkloric.
In 2017 she introduced the Mexican poet Rojo Córdoba, who worked with Spoken Word groups, in Chicago. And the following year she promoted three Mexican bands: Troker, electronic jazz; Doble Redoble, contemporary cumbia, and Sonido Gallo Negro, a psychedelic cumbia group for which she organized a tour in the United States. This in conjunction with various Latino festivals and organizations in Chicago, such as the Mole de Mayo Festival. Thanks to these alliances, she has produced tours for artists from Chicago and other cities in the United States in Mexico.
During November 2018, she invited Mexican programmers to see, both in Chicago and New York, the work of Manual Cinema, a multidisciplinary company that combines cinematographic techniques with shadow theater, sound and music to create immersive experiences.
She co-produces the Tania Pérez-Salas Company since 2018. During 2019 she worked on the organization of their tour through Mexico, the United States and Canada, which would take place in the following year.
As of January 20, 2020, Vázquez is the first Mexican woman to be part of the Board of Directors of the Association of Professionals for the Performing Arts (APAP), which emerged in 1957 in the United States and is a world leader in this cultural field. One of their main tasks is to participate and promote REDI (Racial Equity Diversity and Inclusion) policies.
The great pragmatism and permanent professionalism of Cristina Vázquez has allowed her to contribute to the artistic and cultural development of Mexico and its international projection.
Versión en español
Cristina Vázquez, directora de Contenidos Artísticos Producción y Difusión, es gestora cultural, programadora y productora. Uno de sus propósitos principales es fomentar la interculturalidad a través de la circulación de las artes.
Concibe la interculturalidad como el encuentro, la interacción y reconstrucción de las distintas culturas locales. En palabras del experto argentino Carlos Moneta, permite comparar formas de vida y establecer comunicaciones portadoras de imágenes, valores y contenidos que afectan las identidades más allá de la nacionalidad.
En 2012 fundó Contenidos Artísticos, firma dedicada a la programación, producción y difusión de proyectos artísticos y culturales, con sede en México, que se complementa, desde 2015, con Contenidos Artísticos INC, con sede en Chicago, Illinois.
A través de Contenidos Artísticos INC, la agencia productora, se ha enfocado desde hace un lustro en el trabajo bicultural entre México y Estados Unidos. Su labor ha sido la de buscar espacios para que los artistas mexicanos se presenten del otro lado de la frontera, aportando a la vez la construcción de una imagen de la cultura y el arte mexicano que trasciende lo folclórico.
Esa apertura de espacios permite visualizar, en ambos países, que las artes escénicas son una herramienta indispensable para construir un intercambio artístico de calidad permanente y atender a la diversidad de públicos.
Originaria de León, Guanajuato, Vázquez es egresada de la carrera de Ciencias de la Comunicación y
continuó su formación como gestora cultural con 17, Instituto de Estudios Críticos.
El gran pragmatismo y la permanente profesionalización de Cristina Vázquez le han permitido coadyuvar
al desarrollo artístico y cultural de México y su proyección a nivel internacional.
A partir del 20 de enero de 2020, Vázquez es la primera mujer mexicana en formar parte del Consejo Directivo de la Asociación de Profesionales de las Artes Escénicas (APAP por sus siglas en inglés), surgida en 1957 en Estados Unidos y líder a nivel mundial en este ámbito cultural.
Recientemente organizó la gira de la Compañía Tania Pérez-Salas por México, Estados Unidos y Canadá, pero debido a la pandemia derivada del coronavirus el grupo de danza contemporánea únicamente alcanzó a dar un par de funciones, el 13 y 14 de marzo, en el Teatro Juárez de Guanajuato con el apoyo de EFIDANZA.