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Programs

Programming Philosophy:

Taller Portobelo Norte is always excited by the rich exchanges that happen as the many multi-cultured and multi-ethnic citizens of the African Diaspora encounter one another and share their cultural practices, traditions, art and experiences.

Since 1997, Taller Portobelo Norte has attracted professional and emerging artists, scholars and students from throughout the country interested in the visual, literary and performing arts and cultures of the African Diaspora, ethnographic and anthropological research, Spanish and Latin American Studies, and responsible and ethical tourism.



2013 Taller Portobelo Norte Summer Art Colony:

The Taller Portobelo Norte Art Colony is a three week summer residency program for student, emerging and professional artists and scholars that attracts a diverse and talented set of individuals to work independently or in collaboration on the continuation of their current projects or the realization of new small works.

The 2013 Taller Portobelo Summer Art Colony is open to emerging and professional Visual and Literary Artists in all mediums and genres and Scholars and Researchers of all disciplines – both creative and academic – to submit project proposals for work to be developed during the 3 week residency.

Deadline for Applications: May 1st.

For more info, click here.

Congo Carnival Artist Retreat:

The Congo Carnival Artist Retreat takes place every February in Portobelo, Panama.

Carnival in Portobelo, Panama is one of the most unique experiences in the African Diaspora. During Carnival, the Congos – descendants of enslaved Africans – dress in old clothing, representing the discarded clothing of their enslavers, wearing them backwards or inside out. The Congos play in the streets and palenques – fortified villages – performing in an exaggerated, playful style, further ridiculing the manners of the Spaniards.

Other carnival participants create elaborate devil costumes, some costing hundreds of dollars and taking many months to build, that represent the evils of slavery, and run through the streets chasing, whipping and playing with the participating villagers. The Major devil, head of all the Carnival devils, leaves his home on the last night to dance the Diablo Tun Tun with the Congo Queen, a power struggle that doesn’t end until she is able to jump on his back and throw them both onto the drums.

Carnival is complete when all of the devils have been caught and baptized, thus cleansing the souls of the enslavers and the community as a whole of the evils of slavery.

This is a great opportunity to spend a week immersed in the beauty, vibrancy, culture and traditions of the African Diaspora! Inspire your Muse through Music, Song and Dance!

February 2014

To view past Carnival pics, click here!

Joie De Vivre Dakar, Senegal Trip:

In furtherance of our mission to explore the beauty and vibrancy of the African Diaspora, Taller Portobelo Norte and Black Pearl Travel are pleased to announce the Joie de Vivre Arts & Culture Tour of Senegal, the Paris of Africa!

Participants will tour Dakar, a metropolitan city full of art, music, shopping, and culture; enjoy the Dakar Art Biennial activities, travel to Goree Island, home of the infamous Slave Castle; visit the Holy City of Touba and the largest mosque in West Africa, surf the sand dunes of Pink Lake in four-wheelers, and relax and learn West African Dance, Drum or Batik at the Sobe Bade Art Colony in Toubab Dialaw.

A trip to Senegal isn’t complete without enjoying their excellent French and West African restaurants, never-ending markets and vendors, and white sand beaches. We will also visit art galleriesmuseums and meet professional fine artists in their private studios.

Participants will get a chance to interact on a personal level with people from a few of Senegals many ethnic groups including WolofFulani and Serer. Participants will be able to enjoy the group tours and outings, as well as adventure out on their own to explore the city.

Summer 2014

To view past Senegal pics, click here!


Festival del Nazareno (Black Christ Festival) Artist Retreat:

The Feast day of the Cristo Negro of Portobelo, also known as the Black Christ Festival, is ideal for people interested in religion, Latin America and the African Diaspora, especially artists and photographers.

Participants won’t fail to be stimulated by the abundance of stunning visual imagery, overwhelming emotion and electrifying energy of the festival. More secular than sacred, the Festival boasts streets full of food vendors, shops, make-shift discoteques and pilgrims dancing, drinking, praying and partying for El Nazareno.

October 2014

To view past Festival del Nazareno pics, click here!