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About Cuentos and What We Do

Artistic Director, Michele Feder-Nadoff, who is Jewish, founded Cuentos in 1998 with the humanist vision and commitment to tikkun haolam, a Jewish principal expressing each person’s responsibility to play a part in "healing the world." Cuentos members believe art is a transformative catalyst for effecting positive social change. Our work combats prejudice and discrimination through artistic and educational intergenerational projects and programs promoting mutual understanding.

In Chicago, the abundance of cultural wealth living doorstep to doorstep in our neighborhoods provide all of us an opportunity to engage with and learn about each others' backgrounds. What connects us and how can live in peace together, connected by mutual understanding and appreciation of different cultures from around the globe?


Our founding long-term project, Ritmo del Fuego/ Rhythm of Fire has been devoted to the traditional coppersmithing community of Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacan, Mexico. Ritmo del Fuego is a model cultural exchange project including a traveling exhibition, 597 page book in English and Spanish, videos, visiting artisan workshops, a new Fair Trade initiative, and other collective projects.

Cuentos also organizes a variety of shorter-term artistic community organized programs focusing upon, identity, cultural heritage, and mutual understanding. In addition, throughout the year Cuentos conducts university tours and public school presentations, workshops, and lectures.


Message from CUENTOS Founder:
This summer 2009, Cuentos Foundation is moving out of its beloved storefront studio on 6321 North Clark in order to focus on building its fair-trade initiatives, producing exciting new documentaries, and continuing to organize unique exhibitions, community programs, and events in collaboration with groups throughout the Chicago area and beyond. Cuentos will also continue to devote itself to the promotion, research, documentation and collective initiatives with the artisans of Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacán, Mexico, with whom we have worked since 1998!

For over ten years the Cuentos studio space has functioned as the think-tank and center for the community-organized programs conceived with residents of the ethnically rich neighborhoods around us, whom we serve. The Cuentos space is largely (as it has always been) a global-size cyber-space linking through the Internet, and art, crossing boundaries of physical space electronically and artistically through collaborative transnational projects.

Cuentos is also developing a new website portal, reflecting our new alliances and projects sprouting tentacles reaching beyond Chicago and beyond our founding project Ritmo del Fuego/ Rhythm of Fire, in Santa Clara del Cobre to include other artists and their transnational projects. Cuentos' work crosses boundaries. We are both interdisciplinary and inter-cultural.

Cuentos opens doorways to global understanding, participation, and building relationships. Strong personal and cultural identity and the ability to positively engage and communicate through the arts are the keys to empowering youth, families, and communities with the capacity for participating in positive social transformation.


ART is memory ART builds bridges ART is meaning ART makes sense
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