A compendium of what to do, see and experience in PV
Many years ago, Puerto Vallarta became a mecca for artists worldwide to find their creative expression. Today the ART in Vallarta is fresh, unique, vibrant and plentiful. Take a walk with our photographer, Bill Wilhelm as he captures the core essence of the art scene in Puerto Vallarta. You will also find more of Bill’s brilliant photographical work on our own website for vacation villas at http://www.villavacationspv.com
This trip, I set aside time to really explore Vallarta’s thirty galleries. The depth and breadth of the art scene in Vallarta should not be underestimated. The city’s galleries feature local and international artesian/craftsman creating stunning works in many mediums – sculptures, paintings, photography, folk art and pottery. From galleries scattered throughout the Historic, Old Town, Viejo and along the Malecon, art is literally everywhere. This is what helps to make PV not just another beach town; the cultural events here are thriving and expanding.
While walking about I found most of the galleries, including a few off the main thoroughfares, but there is another option – Art Walk! This event takes place every Wednesday evening [October-April] in the Historic district and features thirteen galleries and a number of restaurants. Strolling through the galleries, drinking some wine and having dinner; this was not a bad way to spend an evening out.
On the Walk, I visited Galeria Pacifico, which represents several of the sculptors, whom created the large bronze works on the Malecon, plus a selection of rising talents working a variety of Medias. Up the street just a few doors is Galeria Caballito de Mar, who specialize in Antique Silver Jewelry and rare Textiles and Ceramics. Their collection Deco era Silver jewelry was captivating. I also visited the Galeria Whitlow where Still Life Realism, Realistic and the amazing paintings of a miniaturist are on display.
After touring the galleries, I set off for dinner, stopping in at Si’ Senor. I was intriqued by the Tampiquena and it was an excellent choice. Perfectly seared Steak, sitting atop a grilled Nopale [Prickly Pear Cactus Leaf] accompanied by a pair of tamales, fresh guacamole and a diminutive corn tortilla filled with refried beans. The slightly acidic quality of nopale worked perfectly with the steak and the grilled whole onions. Between the meal and the view it was a really great way to finish off an evening.
The following day, I visited a number of the galleries in the Colonial Emiliano Zapata part of the city. Galeria Dante is PV’s largest gallery and their space is glorious; indoors there are a number of rooms and an open inner courtyard reveals fountains and sculptures. Creating a marvelous retreat to linger and ponder the works. Next door is Ambos Galeria, which when I was there, was highlighting Abstract paintings and Photography. They feature contemporary artists on two floors of wonderfully lit galleries. They also plan on offering workshops, lectures and performance in their space.
A short walk away, in the Centro district, is Arte Popular Mexicano Galeria. Estela Camacho features locally produced museum quality pre-Columbian replicas, ceramics and catrinas. She calls her Galeria a shop for “Only those who know”. Spend a while with her and your education will be enhanced dramatically; plus gain a much better understanding of the artwork offered and the lovely people of the region.
Wander up the Isla Cuale walkway and you will find the Cultural Centre where in the morning and evening classes are offered in painting, sculpture, photography and dance. A lot of tourists do not explore this far up, but it is a great respite from the bustle of the city, with a few small cafes nearby and the relaxation offered by the natural beauty that surrounds you here.
On the way back, I stopped at Joe Jack’s Fish Shack for late lunch. This is one those places that no stay to PV would complete without a visit. It’s always very good, always very busy and always a great crowd. I had a very delicious simply grilled fish sandwich, super fresh and seasoned with a touch of Black Olive Tapenade[I added a bit of coarse mustard]. Served with crispy fires it was a great lunch. I was tempted by and succumbed to the Chili-Cucumber Margarita that was the featured drink of the day. The cooling flavor of the Cucumber was highlighted by the Serrano chili. The frosty glass was rimmed with Tajin, a seasoning blend consisting mostly of chilies, lime and salt. My new favourite Margarita!
On another evening out, the Plaza de Armas was taken over by artisans working with chalk. Several dozen very talented artists were on the pavement creating vivid designs of folk, religious and environmental and political themes. For me, the added joy of meeting and talking with these artists was such a plus. Unfortunately a few days later, an odd rainfall washed all the creations away; but while they were here, the walkways of the Plaza were vibrant with colour.
From very modern works, museum quality indigenous pieces, large sculptures, to antique jewelry and outdoor installations, all represent the Mexican heritage and culture. The vibrancy, the intimacy, the diversity of works continues to impress me. I find the openness and at times the whimsy in the works equally delightful. Theses galleries are alive!