Heller Center to host ‘Stitches and Stories: A San Luis Valley Christmas’


Josie Lobato demonstrates the Spanish colonial embroidery technique Colcha. Photo by Carol Dass

The heritage and holiday traditions of Colorado’s San Luis Valley will be celebrated in workshops and presentations Friday and Saturday at Heller Center for the Arts and Humanities.

Beginning at 4:30 p.m. Friday, luminarias will be made and placed around the Heller Center property on the northwest side of the UCCS campus, with a traditional posole supper following. Posole is a corn-based soup or stew from Mexico that is popular in the Southwest. After supper, Rick Manzanares, storyteller and former director of the Fort Garland Museum, Pueblo poets Maria Melendez and Juan Morales and UCCS faculty members Janice Gould and Mary Jane Sullivan will present stories, poetry music and film focused on the culture of southern Colorado and the San Luis Valley.

From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Josephine (“Josie”) Lobato, originally from the San Luis Valley, will host a stitching workshop inspired by the Spanish Colonial embroidery techniques, Colcha. Colcha embroidery has been practiced in the Southwest for more than a century. During the embroidery workshop session, Lobato and her husband, Eugene, will share stories based on local legends, family memories, and cultural observances such as Las Posados and Mis Crismes. Las Posados is a nine-day celebration with origins in Spain that is celebrated in the Southwest Dec. 16-24. Mis Crismes is a tradition where children collect candy from neighbors on Christmas morning.

All events are open to the public and free of charge, though reservations are required. To attend, please call Perrin Cunningham, 719-330-3463 or email When emailing, please use “stitching resv” in the subject line and include name and contact information in the email body.

This event is sponsored by the President’s Fund for the Humanities, the UCCS Office of the Chancellor, the UCCS Department of Visual and Performing Arts, and the Heller Center for Arts and Humanities.