The Corner Institute: Malinalco team


About us






Our stories

Administrative team:

Director: Ellen Calmus
Ellen is a writer and photographer who has taught children and adults in Mexico, the U.S. and El Salvador, from pre-school art and drama classes to adult literacy to university courses in international relations. The Corner Institute grew out of the children's educational resource center she started in 1998, when she came to Malinalco in search of a quiet place to write. She graduated from Harvard University with high honors in visual studies and received a public policy masters from Princeton University.

In 2008 Mexico's First Lady awarded Ellen Mexico's Quetzalcóatl medal for her work with migrants' families and children.


Office administration and accounting:
Anabel Perez Cortes

Anabel's first encounter with the Corner Institute was when she knocked on Ellen's gate in Barrio San Juan to administer a Mexican National 2010 Census questionnaire. In the course of interviewing Ellen (and receiving in turn a barrage of questions about what she'd learned so far about the demographics of our region) Anabel revealed that she combined college-level studies in accounting with a love of math and concern for her community. Not long afterward, Anabel joined our team as the Corner Institute's accountant, demonstrating herself to be such a whirlwind of cheerful energy and efficiency that she soon took on the even greater second task of our office administrator.


Coordinator of Production: Ruth Sanchez
In the summer of 2006 Ruth joined the Corner Institute's Malinalco Migrants' Eagles workshop as an apprentice woodcarver -- showing some spirit beneath her quiet demeanor, for it was unheard-of for young women to learn this skill. She earned the respect of all participants, and helped teach the younger apprentices. Her proven talent for crafts plus her ability to see projects through led to an invitation to coordinate production for our new artisanal publications. With her earnings, Ruth is putting herself through college at a branch campus across the mountains in nearby Tenancingo.

Creative ArtsTeam:

Coordinator of Visual Arts and Design:
Edgar Monroy Rodriguez

Gary, as all of Malinalco calls him, began carving as a seven-year-old shepherd, developing this skill into an art in the tradition of the ancient Aztec stone-carvers whose work can be seen in Malinalco's historic sites. Gary's larger pieces grace many local churches and his work has been exhibited internationally. This area's Aztec heritage means that there are many woodcarvers in the Malinalco area, but Gary's gift for inspiring young people's interest in woodcarving and his delight in sharing his skills with others has made him a figure of unparalleled affection and respect for the generations of young woodcarvers who have learned their art from him. We feel very fortunate that Gary has joined our team.

Editorial Coordinator: Laura Pérez Madrigal
A librarian and promising young writer, Laura first participated in the Corner Institute when we invited her to write for a little magazine about Malinalco's Day of the Dead traditions. Since then she has assumed increasing responsibilities in Corner Institute activities, and in 2005 her skilled editing and organizing earned her the position of editorial coordinator of Corner Project publications. She began by editing a collection of local ghost stories, organizing a Day of the Dead evening of story-telling which she recorded and edited into a book. Now she is working on a book of local memories from Mexico's revolution -- and, as you can see, Laura is aso our model for our fashion exports.

Artisan associates:

Jaime Flores Colin
One of Malinalco's most skilled woodcarvers, Jaime's prize-winning sculptures have been exhibited nationally. He gained proficiency in the art of woodcarving after studying with team member Gary Monroy, devoting himself to the skill with particular energy after returning from a year working in the U.S. Jaime teaches in the Corner Institute's summer program for migrants' children and is one of the woodcarvers who produce our beautiful export jewelry and hand-carved desk frames.

Malinalco team
maguey logo Woodcarvers of Malinalco

¡Join the team!