September 23, 2005

Arte en el Barrio: Three venues, three neighborhoods, one barrio

Event features the work of several local artists

By José A. Álvarez

It took organizers three years to plan, but it is finally here. Arte en el Barrio arrives to three San Diego venues in three different neighborhoods.

“We’ve been working together to slowly create an event that would link all the communities through art,” said Ildifonso Carrillo, co-owner of Chicano Perk café y cultura, one of the three venues hosting Arte en el Barrio. “This will be an opportunity for people to come enjoy and understand the neighborhood here.”

Arte en el Barrio will take place Saturday, September 24, 2005 from 12 noon to 8:00 p.m. in the communities of Golden Hills, Sherman Heights, and Logan Heights.

Chicano Perk café y cultura, located at 129 25th Street, will showcase the works of several local artists, including Nuvia Crisol Guerra, whose “Lotería De La Mujer” will be one of the main attractions. “Lotería de la Mujer” depicts a woman’s evolution in an ever-changing world and includes a limited edition game.

At the San Diego Latino Film Festival’s Media Arts Center San Diego, 921 25th Street, movie posters from the last 13 festivals and its monthly film series will be available for sale.

“People will be able to buy a poster from one of their favorite films,” said Ethan Van Thillo, Founder and Executive Director of the San Diego Latino Film Festival, adding that his organization decided to collaborate with the other entities in an effort to link the three communities.

“For the very first time, we’re trying to connect César Chávez Parkway to 25th street. This is a great example of how they can be connected, especially now that it’s more important than ever to celebrate Latino culture and Latino art,” added Van Thillo. “For us, it’s important to connect the art world to the film world because they are intertwined.”

Expressions of Mexico Gallery, 1122 Cesar E. Chavez Parkway, will be promoting the work of Chicano artists Mario Chacón and Ricardo Islas, currently on display at the venue. Also available for viewing will be Arte de la Frontera, dealing with the social problems of the border region.

In total, the works of more than a dozen San Diego artists will be showcased and available for sale during the one-day event.

“It’s very important for us to promote the art and culture of Mexico and the barrio,” said Dr. Carmen Velázquez, owner and director of Expressions of Mexico Gallery. “We would like the Latino and Anglo populations to know that there is art and culture in these communities. There has always been, but a venue where artists could exhibit their work was needed,” added Velázquez, referring to the reason why she decided to establish her gallery in Logan Heights. Expressions of Mexico Gallery opened in December of last year.

This is not the first time the three organizations have work-ed together. Their collaboration has been ongoing since the arrival of Chicano Perk café y cultura, and later the Expressions of Mexico Gallery.

In fact, the three entities joined efforts and organized an art exhibition and sale during last year’s San Diego Latino Film Festival. Also, in an effort to increase business traffic, the three entities cross-promote their events.

“The collaboration has been wonderful. Chicano Perk is one of the more vibrant venues for Latino culture and a great venue for the community,” stated Van Thillo, adding that “it’s admirable” that Velázquez decided to establish her gallery in the area. “I am thrilled to work with them.”

Organizers of Arte en el Barrio expect about three hundred people to the first of what they anticipate will become a series of events. They plan to organize similar events three or four times each year. The next one is scheduled for the holiday season in December.

“We hope for this to be the first of many events to come,” concluded Velázquez.

For additional information on Arte en el Barrio, call the Chicano Perk café y cultura at (619) 702-5414.

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