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Our Mission

The mission of the Friends of San Juan de Oriente is to promote friendship and intercultural understanding between the people of Sacramento, California, and the people of San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua. We foster an enriching cultural experience between these two communities, and contribute to the economic development of San Juan de Oriente through the proceeds of the sale of their pottery in the greater Sacramento area.


What We Do
The Friends of San Juan de Oriente is a good will, fair trade organization dedicated to improving the lives of the people of San Juan de Oriente. We select and purchase this amazing pottery directly from the artisans and sell it at Sacramento art fairs, colleges, festivals, and church bazaars, and ensure that all proceeds are channeled directly back to the San Juan de Oriente community.

Our Founder

In 1986, Friends of San Juan de Oriente founder Don Coan made a trip to Nicaragua to serve as an election observer in Managua.  After visiting nearby San Juan de Oriente and learning of the beautiful pottery there, he made a personal commitment to help the community by sharing their amazing artwork with the world.

In 1988 Don formed the Friends of San Juan de Oriente, a Sacramento, California, non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening the people-to-people relationship between these two communities.  In his vision, the Friends would contribute to the economic enrichment of the San Juan community by returning proceeds from pottery sales to them for scholarships, infrastructure, and varied cultural projects.

Upcoming 2023

Pottery Sales Events

April 16th                     9:00 to 3:00

Empty Bowls Supper

Placerville Shakespeare Club

2940 Bedford Avenue


May 13 - 14 (2 days)       10:00 to 4:00

East Sacramento Garden Tour

David Lubin School

3535 M Street


October 14th                 10:00 to 4:00

American River Community Church

2200 Walnut Avenue


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       Gerardo Benkovich

We miss our beloved friend and colleague, Gerardo Benkovich.

Click here for information about Gerardo's life and passing.

Don Coan, Founder

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