Current Board Members

Gayla Pearce - President

Gayla Pearce – Current President “CA”

Gayla was born and raised in San Diego, CA and is still devoted to her hometown.  She holds an undergraduate degree in Food & Nutrition from San Diego State University and did a graduate program in Latin American Studies at UCLA with a concentration in History, Anthropology & Folklore.

She never intended to become a collector of anything but on multiple culinary trips to Mexico she found herself drawn more and more to the folk art. Or as Gayla says “the bright shiny things”.  Her collection is diverse and includes a little of almost everything but does lean towards ceramics, textiles and wood carvings. She is a fan of popotillo, plumeria and if a piece has some whimsy to it, so much the better.

Gayla has been a member of Los Amigos since 2008 and a Board member since 2009. She has served in the roles of Member at Large, Secretary and has been President since 2018.

Cathey Merrill

Cathey Merrill “TX”

We discovered Mexico and fell in love with it, its art and artisans in 1996.  The Great Masters of Mexican Folk Art book and traveling exhibition further inspired us.  We tried to find like-minded friends in Houston and tried to talk Mexican folk art store owners into starting a club but all were too busy.  Rick Hall who owned Zocalo at the time, gave us his customer list and told us to do it, so we did.  Long story short, we started the Mexican Folk Art Society of Houston in about 2001 and had 150 members before we found Los Amigos of California and eventually merged with them.  I was president of both groups and still on the board currently as a director.  We are very proud of what has developed through Los Amigos del Arte Popular!

Trinie Garcia Valdez - Newsletter Editor

Trinie Garcia Valdez “CA” – Newsletter Editor

Trinie purchased her first piece of Mexican folk, a small carousel from Olinala, at the San Angel market in Mexico City about 35 years ago.  Little did she know that it would lead to a long and delightful journey of collecting!  She and her husband Frank especially like vintage Mexican folk art and pottery which they mix in with their extensive collection of contemporary Chicano art.  A few years back, as often happens with overzealous collectors, they became dealers of Mexican folk art.  Trinie says it is mostly to make room for the new pieces that Frank brings home!  Their website is www.mexicana-nirvana.com.   Trinie and Frank joined Los Amigos in 2003.  Although they really enjoy the LADAP trips and events, what they treasure most is the many wonderful friends they have made along the way.  Trinie joined the LADAP board in 2017 and serves as the Newsletter Editor.

Kathi Prado

Kathi Prado “CA” – Membership

My love of Mexico, the people, the food and the culture began early as a child going to Baja with my family and friends. My love of Mexican folk art came later.

As a collector of Native American pottery, I kept finding great Mexican pieces and a new collection began. Once my collections started to overtake my living space, I did what any self respecting collector does, no I didn’t stop collecting, I became a dealer. My business is Two Sisters Trading and my sister and I  sell at shows throughout California, Arizona and New Mexico.
It was at a show that I heard about Los Amigos from another dealer and have been forever grateful. I went on my first trip alone knowing nobody but it is easy to make friends when you share the same interests and love of travel to Mexico. As a widow, I always feel secure traveling with Los Amigos among people with mutual interests.
I am currently Membership Director on the LADAP board. I have served on the board in different capacities because I wanted to give back to the organization that has given me so much enjoyment in trips, events and friendships and fulfillment in being able to help Mexican artisans continue to create.
Barbara Garcia - Vice President

Barbara Garcia “CA” –  Vice President

Barbara’s journey into collecting Mexican folk art began on a vacation trip to Guadalajara, Jalisco in the 1990’s. While there she visited some of the surrounding towns and came home with handmade treasures from Tlalaquepaque and Tonala. But it was while visiting a Cultural Center there she fell in love with her first Nativity Scene. It brought back memories of her childhood and the Nativity Scene her mother would display each year in their home. This began her travels to other destinations in Mexico to seek out all types of folk art nativities. The collection grew and so did the artist friendships made along the way.

In 2004 the San Diego Museum of Us (formally known as the San Museum of Man) in Balboa Park borrowed 15 pieces from Barbara’s and her husband David’s collection. The pieces made of a variety of materials were part of the exhibition “Hecho en Mexico.” Grace Johnson the curator of the exhibit introduced Barbara and David to the Los Amigos del Arte Popular organization

The now extensive collection of Nativity Scenes was part of a recent fundraiser the Garcia’s were hosted, Posada Navideño, for Arts for Learning San Diego, a non-profit committed to providing quality arts education through in-school and community programming. Barbara has also served on this non-profit board.

In addition to the Nativity Scenes, Barbara is also an avid collector of traditional textiles and has developed deep respect and admiration for the women who use their skills to preserve their garments.

Barbara is gratified to participate on the LADAP board as vice president and as a member of the grants committee.

David Garcia

David Garcia “CA”

David was a collector of Native American art before entering into the world of Mexican Folk Art collecting. He remembers his many trip to New Mexico to attend the annual Indian Market in Santa Fe and visits to the surrounding pueblos. But it was a visit to Guadalajara that exposed him to the handmade treasures, especially the ceramics in the nearby towns, which changed his focus.

After that trip David and his wife Barbara began their travels to different areas of Mexico to add to their collection. His focus is mostly pottery and ceramics but he also enjoys seeking out the masters of the different genres.

When David retired in 2008 he established his travel company Dos Vagos Mexican Tours. He wanted to take his love of travel and Mexican folk art to the next level. He had made many friend during his travels and this was a way to deepen those ties. His trips are small, intimate groups that visit a variety of artists as well as providing unique cultural experiences.

David joined the LADAP board in 2009 as it was a way to share his talent for organizing trip. He is excited to help raise funds for LADAP using his skills.

David and Barbara also hold an annual Meet the Artists event in their home. The event brings together 10+ artist groups from Mexico. The Expo-venta provides the artists with the opportunity to sell what they’ve produced to enthusiastic art lovers. For visitors and friends it is an annual party!

Mariann Schick - Secretary

Mariann Schick – Secretary

Mariann Schick has been secretary of the Board for the past four years. She came to her love of Mexico at an early age when her parents took her to visit Mexico for the first time in 1960 when she was 10 years old. Her folks purchased a home in Attic in 1961, and she returned to Mexico frequently in adulthood, developing a great love for its crafts along the way. She has amassed a collection of Mexican artesania over the years, focusing in particular on pottery from all regions. If she likes it, she buys it! Mariann moved from her hometown of Philadelphia to the north shore of Lake Chapala in 2018, although not to her parents’ homestead. She had sold their house in 2009 but found a wonderful home in San Antonio Tlayacapan, to the east of Ajijic. She continues renovating the house to accommodate her ever expanding and evolving collection. In addition to the LADAP board, she serves on the Board of the Feria Maestros del Arte which sponsors an annual craft show in November at the Chapala Yacht Club, spotlighting the works of Mexican artists from Jalisco, Chiapas, Michoacan and Oaxaca.

Bill Roe - Treasurer

Bill Roe – Treasurer

Bill Roe grew up in Iowa, graduated in Architecture from Iowa State and then came west to Stanford where he earned an MBA.  He met Nancy there and they married in 1968.  They have lived in Davis, California since 1970.  In 2008, they met Tom and Alma Pirazzini who invited them to join Los Amigos.  Bill joined the Amigos Board in 2010 and later served as president for five years.  He is currently the Treasurer.  In addition to collecting all forms of Mexican folk art, they enjoy contemporary art and folk art from around the world.

Beverly Goodman

Beverly Goodman

I fell in love with Mexico in 1974 when I spent a summer in San Miguel de Allende taking art classes at Institudo Allende. in 1988 I moved from Virginia to California and was fortunate enough to meet My mentors Bill Laney and Ron Slaughter. So an addiction was born as was Los Amigos Arte Popular California. The rest is history