Oaxaca Art + Culture Workshop: A Deep Dive – March 2024

Oaxaca Art + Culture Workshop, a Deep Dive: watercolor, art journaling with mixed media, collage

DATES: March 15–24, 2024

art workshop with watercolor, mixed media, collage + culture immersion
with Oaxacan artist Pedro Cruz Pacheco + Corrie McCluskey

Oaxaca, Mexico


~  Hands-on, deep dive into the art and authentic culture of Oaxaca
~  Replenish your artistic toolkit with fresh inspiration and newfound creativity (you too, beginners!)
~  Unlock your creative potential with Pedro’s art instruction, rooted in indigenous Oaxacan culture
~  Creative time with likeminded travelers in an intimate setting

Do you love the magic of watercolor painting, or want to learn the basics? Are you hooked on art journals and want to play with mixed media and collage while experiencing Mexico? This workshop is for lifelong learners and intrepid travelers who enjoy expressing themselves visually. Immerse yourself into the art and authentic culture of Oaxaca, with its soulful art scene, indigenous culture & customs, and rich culinary and artisanal traditions. The REAL Oaxaca is found in the villages, and our field trips include a Sunday market, studio visits in a weaving village, a women’s red clay collective, a papermaking studio, a gorgeous ecological art center housed in an old textile factory, and archaeological ruins – all mixed in with art instruction and creative play time. Come join our tribe on a creative adventure…We welcome all levels, you too beginners!

When Corrie, our co-instructor, first started coming to Oaxaca, she was seeking an experience – to play with art, connect with likeminded creatives, immerse herself in the culture, and investigate the artisan studios and galleries that Oaxaca is known for. But going it alone was intimidating and she didn’t want a tourist experience. She stayed in a Mexican neighborhood a few blocks away from tourist central and put together a mix of art days + field trips for herself. We’ve created that trip for you.

This workshop is a combination of watercolor exploration and creative/visual journaling with mixed media (in a sketchbook or on loose paper) to develop your unique visual voice and mark making by playing with different materials. Be surprised by what shows up on paper, find the imagery that resonates with you. The ultimate goal: finding your symbols, talismans, and personal marks. Complete beginners are welcome and encouraged to join us!

Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman in Oaxaca, Mexico

Pedro is an amazing watercolorist who incorporates personal symbols, talismans, ancestors, and the natural world into his art, and he’ll patiently guide you in exploring watercolor. This is a chance to consider the “secret soul” of things that matter to you and bring them into your painting. There will be demonstrations in Pedro’s techniques to get you started, but participants will be encouraged to create using their own personal approach.

Corrie will introduce simple techniques and exercises for mixed media + collage to play with the materials at hand, find your voice, and get over your fears of making a mistake. You will experiment with mark making, using fragments, found objects and bits & pieces of ephemera – taking risks and letting go of needing to be perfect. You’ll use Oaxaca-sourced handmade paper in an artist book you create to take home.

Workshop details:

  • All levels, 7-day art + culture workshop in the heart of Oaxaca, Mexico
  • Group field trips with private van
  • Maximum 10 participants
  • 9 nights at a beautiful location – Villa apartments, a 20-walk from the center of downtown
  • apartments equipped with wifi, functional kitchens, hot water, surrounded by a lush garden to enjoy
  • large supermarket, mercado, restaurants, taxis/busses all within walking distance
  • art material lists – for all levels of art experience (you bring your own art supplies)
  • list provided of restaurants, museums & galleries, optional tours that you can book for your day off, cool places to visit on your own

Preliminary itinerary:

  • Day One: arrive in Oaxaca – informal dinner in the neighborhood
  • Day Two: all day class, group welcome dinner
  • Day Three: AM field trip to Sunday market; PM studio visit of weavers + special lunch
  • Day Four: AM field trip to renowned art center + papermaking studio, PM art class
  • Day Five: AM field trip to Monte Albán archaeological ruins, lunch, PM art class
  • Day Six: day off to explore on your own
  • Day Seven: AM art class, PM field trip to ceramics artisan women’s collective
  • Day Eight: all day class, pm gallery walk downtown
  • Day Nine: all day art class + art show, group farewell dinner
  • Day Ten: depart Oaxaca

The art classes generally run from 10 am – 4 pm.

Pedro Cruz Pacheco is a painter from Santa Cruz Amilpas, Oaxaca, Mexico who works in watercolor, oil, and mixed media. He left his job in a brickyard in 1999 and initially began his career as a self-taught artist. He spent 8 years apprenticing in the studio of master Oaxacan painter Felipe Morales, and showed & sold his work for years in Labastida Plaza in downtown Oaxaca (by Santo Domingo church). Pedro has exhibited in Mexico (Oaxaca, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, Merida, Monterrey), Texas, and California (San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sonoma County, Eureka), and has taught watercolor workshops in Oaxaca and Baja, BCS, Mexico. Pedro’s style is very Oaxaca-influenced, with magic realism as an artistic point of view – a Mexican version of surrealism. His work is intimate, private, and incorporates personal symbols and talismans that reflect his own life experiences as well as the history and customs of Oaxaqueños. His work features bright, vivid colors and his own deeply personal and heart-felt spiritual view of the world around him.

Corrie McCluskey (workshop coordinator) is a visual artist originally from Northern California (now living in Oaxaca) who was a b&w photographer for two decades. She transitioned into visual journaling, mail art, collage, bookbinding and making artist books. She now focuses on mixed media on paper: collage, encaustic monotypes, abstract painting with natural pigments & India ink, graphite, cold wax with oil pigment sticks. Visual journaling is a part of her art expression: it’s all about process and discovery – a container for ideas and play with ephemera. She is a “Guidess”-in-training for people who feel unqualified or too intimidated to express their creativity because they think they can’t “do art”. For 20 years, she was a workshop and event coordinator, and she loves to bring small groups of people together and facilitate an amazing workshop experience.


Workshop location & apartments:
Private apartments in La Noria barrio, Oaxaca

Our unpretentious, comfortable & basic lodging is just a quick 20-minute walk to the zocalo, the main center of the city. This family-owned villa is a secure, peaceful walled compound with lush gardens; the owner is an Airbnb Superhost (with 850+ reviews and a 4.85-star rating). This is not a luxury hotel or super fancy Airbnb, but a real Mexican family’s property with individual lodging, providing the basic necessities – an intimate, safe place with a retreat-like vibe. Our art workshop will be at the large home on the property, out on the beautiful terrace. There is a large supermarket, mercado, restaurants, taxis/busses all within walking distance.

We have reserved 6 individual units (apartments and small studios), all with small kitchens or kitchenettes. And at the large house, there is a big kitchen, beautiful living rooms on both floors, 2 private upstairs bedrooms with shared bathroom, and 1 downstairs bedroom with several beds (for a group traveling together) + bathroom. Lodging will be assigned to participants on a first-come, first-serve basis when you register and pay the trip deposit (so register early to claim your desired lodging). 

: in Oaxaca, Friday, March 15
art classes + field trips: 7 days
day off: (no class or scheduled field trips) Wednesday, March 20
departure: Sunday, March 24
airport: Oaxaca Xoxocotlan International airport (OAX)

Trip fee, deadline & cancellation:
$2200 for workshop participants – deadline to register 12/1/23

  • 50% deposit with registration guarantees your space – register early before the workshop sells out.
  • Deadline to register & pay deposit is 12/1/23. (Deposits, reservations, and arrangements are made well in advance of the trip, so we need to receive your registration + deposit on time.)
  • Balance is due by 2/1/24, or you can pay in full upon registration (deposit + trip fee).
  • Deadline to register in class is 12/1/23; no deposit or trip fee refund will be given after 12/1/23. No exceptions.
  • If you must cancel, contact Corrie, the workshop coordinator, immediately. You can transfer your deposit & trip fee to another person, at no charge. If there is a wait list, we will give you the first name on the list to whom you can offer your spot. Otherwise, no refunds will be issued under any circumstances. We encourage you to purchase trip insurance with “Cancel for Any Reason” to cover you for unexpected circumstances.

Registration + payment online:
To register and pay online, click below. Your payment will be processed through PayPal.

 Price includes:

  • apartment or shared house rental in Oaxaca – assigned on first-come, first served basis
  • private van transportation (for all field trips & excursions)
  • field trips to Sunday outdoor market; weaving, and pottery artisan studios; art center & papermaking studio; ancient ruins
  • admission fee to Monte Albán Ruins

Not included in price:

  • airfare or transportation to/from Oaxaca airport
  • food & drinks (except for special meal at weaver’s studio)
  • required trip insurance

Required travel insurance:
Why you need it: Oaxaca doesn’t have a robust healthcare system like you’re used to, so if you have a serious fall (sidewalks can be treacherous here), get sick, or the taxi you’re in has an accident, it could be very pricey to get you home for treatment. Therefore, we’re requiring everyone to purchase travel insurance for this trip (include medical evacuation of at least $50,000, international accident & health insurance including primary medical coverage, and trip cancellation coverage). There are also trip policies that include COVID cancellations. We recommend that you get PRIMARY medical coverage, not secondary. Proof of insurance must be sent to us at least 45 days before departure. We encourage you to purchase trip insurance immediately upon registering, with “Cancel for Any Reason” to cover you for unexpected circumstances – buy trip insurance WHEN YOU BOOK YOUR TRIP if you wish to have this extra coverage.

suggested provider: Squaremouth – https://www.squaremouth.com/travel-insurance-quotes
More COVID policy info: https://www.squaremouth.com/press-room/travel-insurance-coronavirus
best choices on Squaremouth:
– HTH Worldwide, TripProtector Preferred, includes COVID cancellation
– Trawick Intl, Safe Travels Voyager, includes COVID cancellation
– TinLeg Gold, includes COVID cancellation
another provider: https://www.insuremytrip.com

You are required to send proof of vaccination to participate. You must send a photo or PDF of the documentation and forward it to us. Depending on COVID and the health circumstances in 2024 in Oaxaca,  participants may be required to wear face masks in certain public buildings. Proof of vaccination must be sent to us at least 45 days before departure.

Health & walking:
Oaxaca is high altitude, at 5100 feet – some people need a few days to acclimate if they are coming from sea level. Can you walk 6,000 steps a day unassisted at 5100 ft? If not, you will be unhappy on this trip, and we only accept travelers who are in good health and can walk uneven cobblestone streets (narrow, with high curbs) and don’t have mobility or breathing issues. Also, dietary restrictions could be tricky, although there are restaurants that have gluten free and vegan options. Travelers will need to make personal accommodations and adjustments to meet group needs and schedule.

Valid passport:
Also, be certain that your passport has at least six months on it before it expires from the date you enter Mexico – if not, you may not be allowed entry into the country by your airline.

Flights & getting to/from the airport:
: arrival in Oaxaca Xoxocotlán Intl airport (OAX) on 3/15/24
Oaxaca City (OAX) is a 45-minute flight from Mexico City (MEX), with many available connecting flights on AeroMexico, Volaris, and other carriers. To bypass Mexico City airport: in the US, American has a direct flight from Dallas to Oaxaca, and United has a direct flight from Houston to Oaxaca.
NOTE: if you fly thru Mexico City, book flights that allow at least a 3-hr layover going TO Oaxaca (the line for passport control can be long and you’ll miss your flight), and 1-hr layover coming FROM Oaxaca.
About a month prior to the workshop, we will send you detailed instructions about how to get from the airport to our location, what to bring, how to get cash from ATMs, etc.

Materials & suggestions:

  • We don’t supply materials for participants, please bring your own.
  • For mixed media / creative journaling materials: materials list here
  • For watercolor – you can bring your favorite quality watercolor paints, brushes and paper. Here is an optional list with suggestions for those undecided about materials: materials list here
  • We suggest that you familiarize yourself with Pedro’s website and take a look at his artwork for inspiration as you begin to think about your own personal symbols and talismans.

If you have questions:
For questions regarding the workshop, lodging or transportation, contact the workshop coordinator:
Corrie McCluskey at 707-575-6801 or corrie@pedrocruzpacheco.com