Mexican music is on its way to Haliburton as part of a new cross-cultural exchange program starting up in the area.

The non-profit arts organization Camexicanus will hold its season launch at the Haliburton Highlands Museum March 23. The program has brought in Mexican arts students to tour Ontario and also plans to offer drop-in programming in Haliburton.

Director Greg Sadlier said having people from different cultures interact with each other creates meaningful personal experiences.

“When they’re face-to-face with somebody who’s different from them, who speaks differently, who eats differently, who thinks differently, that’s when that human connection becomes very tangible and real,” Sadlier said. “People are confronted by their own fears and their own hesitations about opening themselves up and reaching out to another person.”

The group has been running since 2015, previously operating in Mexico and the Kitchener-Waterloo area. Sadlier said he and his wife Hannah Sadlier, who lead the organization, decided to move it to Haliburton after being attracted by the local arts community.

“We realized this community was definitely the perfect fit for what we’re doing,” Sadlier said.

The group has toured Canadian locales with Mexican students from Monterrey, performing music, dance and displaying different visual art projects.

In Haliburton, Sadlier said the group plans to host Mexican-themed workshops in schools and offer music and theatre programming.

“We also engage with Canadians and Canadian youth in our own backyard,” Sadlier said. “(We’re) just making the arts accessible.”

Chema Siller, a 16-year old Mexican student, said “they (Greg Sadlier and Hannah Sadlier) are role models for me and for the other students … it helped me open my eyes to a new culture.”

Sadlier said he hopes to bring Canadian students to tour Mexico in 2020.

“The arts naturally just demand that people open themselves up and express themselves,” Sadlier said. “The arts give just a perfect backdrop for this sort of human change.”

The season launch event takes place at the Haliburton Highlands Museum March 23 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available for sale at camexicanus.ca or at the door.

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