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Editorial – April

Festivals Primero through Cuarto Sol got nothing on this

What is Quinto Sol?

There are two ways to answer that question. The simple way is that Quinto Sol is a festival. It’s a celebration of art put on by the nonprofit organization Xela Collective that will play out in a dozen different events in and around Xela for the month of April.

The second answer, fuzzier and considerably more complicated, is that Quinto Sol is a period of time outlined in the Mayan cosmovision. The cosmovision our is our reconstruction of time, history, myth, and meaning as understood by the Classical Maya a millenia ago. They were, with apologies to John B. Mcelroy, the ultimate antiquarian horologists. We’ll spare you the maths; the upshot is that the three interlocking wheels of the Mayan calendar came to a sort of reset in 2012, ushering in a fifth eon of history — the Quinto Sol.

The organizers of Festival Quinto Sol see that fifth cycle as a time of balance, and aim to help realize that vision through empowering artists. They’re kickstarting the festivities with a summer staple: a pool party amongst the sunlit greenery of Villa Alicia in Almolonga, just over the hill from Xela. What better way to inagurate the festival with a splash and celebrate the artists involved with music, dance, body painting, and other novel mediums of expression?

A week on from the pool party is Arte en el Parque is a free event in Plaza Japon. Quinto Sol’s organizers picked this underappreciated oriental park because it’s a kind of demographic center of gravity in Xela. It’s accessible not just to Zones 1 and 3, but also to the neighborhoods sloping up towards the Tierra Colorada, families in outlying colonias like El Bombero or El Maestro, and the denizens of Walmart. The hope is that the free event will drawn in members of the public who might otherwise have limited access to the cultural and artistic bounties readily on hand in the centro historico.

Part of the long-term plan for Xela Collective and Festival Quinto Sol is a physical space to build a permanent center for the arts. The scope of the center is ambitious; they’d like to build classrooms, offices, studios, galleries, a small theater, and more. In the meantime, they’re trying to expand their product lines in the United States, ramp up their more fundraising, and establish Quinto Sol as a recurring and financially
sustainable event. If that all goes well, they’ll have a shot at turning their dream into concrete and doing some literal building on the financial foundation that they’ve laid.

Eventually, the minds behind Xela Collective hope to establish more than a physical space. They’d like to grow their organization into an entity that can support artists financially. “The art that they’re producing – all of it has value, and they deserve to be reimbursed for that value,” said board member and cofounder Kiri Glinz. “We’d like to change the perspective in Xela and Guatemala that artists should work for
free.”

Sounds like a noble goal to us. Check out our event section for a list of Quinto Sol activities and an article on the art scene in Xela by cofounder Kaleb Olson on pg. 27.

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