The Cochise College art department transformed their ceramic studio into a scene of culture and diversity featuring local sounds, flavors and talented performers on Nov. 29.
The Cochise College Pit Fire started in 2005, as collaboration between Cochise College instructors Tate Rich, Mike Garino, and potters invited to the college from Mata Ortiz, a small village in Mexico known for its pottery.
“I think we have to do this, for our culture, feelings, heart and the love of human nature,” Tate Rich said. “We are here around a fire and celebrating the best of the music, dance, people and the food.”
Local artists and Cochise College students lined a 200-foot trench with their ceramic artwork.
Douglas and Bisbee Mayors Danny Ortega Jr. and Adriana Z. Badal along with Cochise College Dr. James Dale (J.D.) Rottweiler ignited the ceremonial pit fire. Flam Chen pyrotechnic theater troupe followed them in a dance and music performance.
With a $10 donation participants become a “Friend” of the Cochise College Art Department can of the Cochise College Art Department. Friend’s received a bowl handmade by Cochise College ceramic instructor Ian Carbajal.
Proceeds from the bowls’ sales will benefit the Cochise College Foundation Art Fund’s programs for future scholarships, materials, equipment, and workshops.
Participants were able to have their bowl filled with complimentary soup made by Ken Loresch’s culinary art students.
Soups featured were southwestern style chili, mulligatawny, green chili and corn bisque, and roasted tomato.
An estimated 2000 people from Douglas and the surrounding areas came out to enjoy the many performers and the warm fire.
“Every year we have more people come out,” Rich said “I would like to see more people come in from out of state.”
The evening included performances by Odaiko Sonora, Flam Chen, Batucaxe, CirqueRoots, Rogue Tribal and Chicha Dust.
Hot cocoa, hot dogs, Chai Tea, and popcorn were sold by the Cochise College clubs. Partakers were able to learn about all the great things the Cochise College clubs do for the community.
Other performances during the event included Ed the Clown and the circus of tiny invisibility, Pablo Pencil who created free caricatures, graffiti artist Miguel “DOPE” Jiménez, and Randy Fox from the welding department giving mobile demonstrations.
On hand in case of an emergency were the Douglas Fire, Sunnyside Fire and Naco Fire Departments.
“This is a great event for the city of Douglas, Bisbee and Cochise County,” Mayor Ortega said. “Fire is how people came together and started building communities and here you see the entire community coming together today to celebrate fire and art.”