Phoenix World Arts Collective
Promoting Culture Diversity

By Lynette Carrington

Carlos Montúfar is dressed in all black. He gives a smoldering stare, stomps his feet, clicks his castanets and sets off across the stage at Hotel San Carlos in a furiously engaging dance that any viewer immediately knows is filled with 100% passion and endless talent. He is the president and CEO of Phoenix World Arts Collective and he owns his job position with exceptional pride while elevating everyone around him.

He first experienced flamenco dance when he was only four years old, and his mother took him to a flamenco show at Placita Olvera in Downtown Los Angeles. “She was the secretary for KWKW Radio station, and they would invite her to events,” recalls Montúfar. “I remember how the music made me feel and how I wanted to be part of the experience!”

He carried that magical moment with him throughout his young life growing up in El Paso, Texas. After he moved to Phoenix, he made the decision to find a place he could take flamenco classes. “Dancing was never an option in my home,” he says. “Dancing was not for boys, and my stepfather made it very clear that he wouldn’t have it in his home. So, I waited until I was on my own to start dancing. My first class was with Laura Moya when I was 18 years old.”

Those lessons eventually lead to him reaching out to other teachers in the Valley that then lead him to dancing professionally at Pepin Restaurant and for Calo Flamenco. He moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico and from 2007 to 2009, he studied with the largest Flamenco company in the nation.

Phoenix World Arts Collective was founded in 2014 as a nonprofit in Arizona, and then as a 501(c)3 in 2016. Montúfarsays, “My mission was to support artists and to help them to grow in whatever way I could. I knew what was required to put on a show, I had the mentality of an artist, as well as the mechanics of business, but wanted to focus it in a way that excluded the ego.”

He continues, “I came from such an ugly dance world – run by politics, jealousy and greed. I had been pushed around, compared to and my value weighed by ‘How much I knew and where I knew the money was.’”

His dance performance grew to a place that wasn’t about his art, but how much he could be used in his commitment to want to help other artists. “I started my organization to help artists who had gone through what I was going through and wanted to createa neutral ground in which artists could bridge their art as well as expand their network,” says Montúfar. “I wanted to uplift and highlight artists as well as encourage and uplift those aspiring to make their mark in the performing arts world. I wanted my organization to lead by example and to offer artists more work.”

Pre-COVID, he was teaching classes for both children and adults, but his heart was in teaching children. “I worked in education for 20 years and enjoyed watching children grow and excel in their talents,” explains Montúfar. “My child studentswould be given the opportunity to perform in an event I created called Cafè Flamenco, in which they would have the opportunity to perform with master artists. I wanted to undo the stigma that they had to deserve the opportunity to work with such talented individuals.”

Carlos Montúfar

Phoenix World Arts Collective connects people of all ages, talents, backgrounds and ethnicities. Through its multi-cultural events and programs, its students learn to live with great beauty and truth in all that they do.

There are many ways for people to get involved with Phoenix World Arts Collective. The nonprofit could always use monetary donations, as well as volunteers that help to support the organization’s events. “Our mission is to keep the arts alive,” finishes Montúfar. “Without our supporters, our artists would not have the opportunity to express themselves, learn and build their artistic careers. The arts are not a hobby, but a way of life and how we identify!” For more information and a full list of programs and classes, visit