Whether you’re in town for a week or for as long as you like, Puerto Vallarta’s weekly ArtWalk is consistently one of the best uses for a Wednesday night. The active season (October 30-May 27) just kicked off last week, and so as #WeLovePV’s Lifestyle Scout, it was my duty to check it out and my pleasure to bring a few locals along for the ride…and so, the first installment of “Minutes in Motion” was born.
Framing devices aside, the bell tower at the church just inland from Parque Hidalgo struck 6, and we were off on our evening of artistic discovery…after waiting about 15 minutes for some stragglers to show up, that is…I’m chronically tardy myself, so I get it.
Our first spectacular stop was at Colektica, just inland from the Malecón on Calle Allende, announced from a block away with a spectacular mural that marks the beginning of the ArtWalk route in striking fashion.
Colectika takes a focus on Mexican folk art forms including paintings, bead work, and intricate woven pieces. Colecticka showcased the evolution of the region’s indigeneous art, including the introduction of synthetic dyes and the transition from natural wool to acrylic fibers…technology affects everything, you see.
Our next stop was at Only One, a gallery showcasing fine handcrafted jewelry as well as pottery pieces from some of the nation’s most skilled artisans. I couldn’t resist one of my idle asides about what inspired insanity it took for the first human being look at actual mud and see an exquisitely crafted piece of home decor in its’ future, but then again I never can.
Points 3 and 4 on the ArtWalk agenda were the dual studios of Corsica, a gallery deserving of the double billing. Here, vibrant paintings combined with a selection of sculptures imposing in both their technical skill and their sheer size in some cases. A scoop from curator Jean-Pierre revealed that not only have they sold multiple casts of their triumphant 5 or 6-meter tall athlete poised in the human Stance of Victory, but one may soon appear as an addition to the Malecón.
Sounds like someone I might want to sit down for an interview with soon.
Gallery owner Martin–who I met in person for the first time after working with him side-by-side at another local publication for a couple of years–offers his gift to the artistic scene in Puerto Vallarta with his private collection of original posters from around the world.
Among these were historic sports posters, a super fly Duke Ellington piece (which I looked at the way Nic Cage once looked at the Declaration of Independence) and a few that somehow escaped pre-Second World War Poland to form a compelling compendium of pop culture and graphic design.
Cristi Fer Art Studio and Workshop
The chief hook at this studio–besides the cleverly combined talents of featured artists Christiana Mar and Fernando Gonzalez, do you see what they did there–is the fact that those of us who aren’t yet internationally acclaimed artists can sharpen our skill sets here. The painters offer access to their expertise through a series of classes, including the popular “One Painting in One Day” workshop designed to help any artistic mind bring their vision into the world more confidently.
Small though the physical space at Galeria Browne may be, it is packed wall to wall with diverse artistic styles containing something for everyone in out party. Some were drawn to the realistic paintings, some to the more abstract pieces…I found a special place in my heart for the sculpture of a head on a spring coming out of a box…I have a taste for the absurd, you see.
This stop was filled to its doors with interesting jewelry designs, and as someone who usually wears about half a dozen rings, it especially appealed to my interests. As the name implies, this gallery highlights pieces made with natural materials like Mexican gems and woods that have been upgraded with modern embellishment like colorful resin and even LED lights. I definitely have to go back when I get paid.
Mann Made Mexico
Where other galleries made a mark with high-impact explosions of color and a confetti of contrasting styles, Mann Made Mexico aims for a feel of elegant minimalism. Clean lines and precision detailing dominate this gallery, and it was interesting to see how this design aesthetic has been appreciated in traditional art as well as in the iPhone age.
Galeria Pacifico is one of the longer-tenured stations on the ArtWalk route, and is where we happened upon local sculpting godfather Jim DeMetro, designer of several iconic statues along the city’s seaside promenade as well as the proud curator of one of our Top 10 Art Galleries of 2019.
During our stay, we got a guided tour of the gallery, some insider insights, and a few cold Pacifico beers…wait, did I mention that there are complimentary welcome beverages at most of the stops along ArtWalk? I feel like I should have led with that. Oh well.
The two floors at Galeria Uno are home to an incredible collection of works from local and international artists. Along with established names that perk up ears in the high-profile museums and galleries of Mexico City and Guadalajara, the gallery shines a special spotlight on up and coming artists so you can impress on a first date with your knowledge of the contemporary Mexican art scene.
I’ve always found gemology fascinating for the same reason our species has for thousands of years…precious stones are very pretty. (If you really think it’s something deeper than that, simply recall that people used to dig up shiny, colorful rocks by hand using primitive tools even when there was no industrial purpose for them.) LOD turns an appreciative eye to the gems of this region, including rich Colombian emerald and fiery Mexican opal…very pretty indeed.
The Loft Galeria
This second floor gallery along Calle Corona presents plenty of visual interest, not the least of which is a privileged perch from which to watch the spirit of ArtWalk flow through the Wednesday evening air. The collection here carries an international flair, searching beyond Mexico’s borders to discover compelling creations from across the continent…and by the way, America is a single continent. There are 4 or less populated continents, change my mind.
Galeria de Ollas
Where most of the ArtWalk galleries put Mexican art and artists at center stage, only Galeria de Ollas puts such a specific focus on one region and its signature art form. The showroom exclusively features pottery from Mata Ortiz, a tiny town in the desert expanses of Chihuahua State.
Here, pottery can be a way of life, as hundreds of full time ceramists turn the local clay into unique works of art with complex and eye-catching hand painted details…as someone who believes art is ideally an everyday practice, it’s interesting to consider a place where the idea is a reality.
Caballito De Mar
The lovely Savannah’s piece of the art world is another of our Top 10 Art Galleries for this year, and with good reason. The crew from Caballito de Mar goes out into the most remote regions of the country to connect with craftsmen of the most independent kind: those whose work represents their ability to make a living.
Savannah put her extensive knowledge of her assembled works on display for our group, delving into the significance and background of pieces upon request, and as a seeming reward for her consistently comprehensive curation, a member of our party purchased a piece while we were browsing the gallery, selecting a handsomely inked rendering of an agave plant for his office. I can dig it.
Sergio Bustamante is one of the most prominent names in the local art scene, and his polished gallery on Calle Juarez was a worthy final stop along the route. This multitalented artist has mastered an approach to sculpture, painting, and jewelry…I’d be happy to be good at any of the above, the guy is a professional in all of the above. Our stop by his studio was an opportunity to consider the inner workings of a mind truly touched by the artistic imperative…and of course, to enjoy one last glass of free wine. Gotta love ArtWalk.
If you’re not doing anything else with your Wednesday night, I strongly suggest taking a stroll through the streets during ArtWalk. I’ve been plenty of times myself, but it’s always a treat to see newcomers react to the diverse and delightful offerings of the local art scene…might even make #WeLoveArtWalk a monthly thing, who knows?
In any event, I’m AJ and this has been “Minutes in Motion”…join me next time, won’t ya?