Artist on the street

Life in the Slow Lane: Bucerias Street Festival

Around Banderas Bay there’s always something happening.  Although the themes vary; from local religious observances, to sporting competitions or turtle releases, life becomes a constant celebration, and what’s wrong with that?

While almost over, you can catch the last day of the Bucerias Street Festival on Thursday coordinated by Christy Ann Beguesse, who owns “A Broken Art” in Bucerias.  Christy moved to Mexico from Southern California 23 years ago, and has been a resident of Bucerias for the past 13 years.

Some of you may recall a similar event a few years ago. The original Bucerias Chalk Art Festival came to fruition in 2010, when the cobblestoned street, Lázaro Cárdenas, was paved due to a need for progressive infrastructure.  Coincidentally, the day the paving was completed, Christy received an email from a chalk artist inquiring if Bucerias would support a festival.

From there, Christy arranged four annual festivals that highlighted the work of up to thirteen artists, the last one taking place in 2013.  Christy describes a seemingly lack of municipal cooperation, making it increasingly difficult to obtain permits, etc., discouraging her from organizing further festivals.  Then, at the end of last season a long time friend, Rodney, approached Christy and said, “Let’s do it again.”

That prompting, along with many inquiries from those who had enjoyed the previous festivals, brought her back on board.  That same long time friend financially fronted this year’s festival, and Christy has been pulling it all together the past nine months.  She says,  “We love Bucerias, and want to create annual cultural attractions.”

In conjunction with the board of tourism, she is happy everything flowed smoothly this year with permits and cooperation from the fire department and police services to close a section of Lázaro Cárdenas to vehicles between Galeana and Juárez.

This year’s event is themed, “Opening Minds, Hearts and Doors to the World”.  “You can’t have a festival without the artists”, so her first step was to contact the original participants.  Word then spread through their network, and this year you can expect to see the spectacular creations of twenty-one talented people from California, Durango, Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta and Mezcales, including freestyle participants who are just twelve and fourteen years old.  “The whole street will be filled!”, says Christy, with a sparkle in her eye.

Along with watching the chalk drawings progress, (they take three days to come to life), there are a variety of options for the festival’s visitors; vendors, food, and live music. Thursday, from 2:00pm to 9:00pm is the “Block Party”, with a raffle of 10,000 pesos, the competition for best chalk art with a total purse of 50,000 pesos, 50/50 draws, and the sounds of Armi Grano from Encore Restaurant and Jazz Lounge, along with her pianist Gerry Palken.

Friday the 8th, the street will be closed until noon so that fifty local children can take part in chalk drawing workshops with the artists.
Christy educated me on the history of chalk artists and Maddonari Festivals. I’m afraid I don’t have space here to relay the information, but the art goes back to the 1600’s.  Time well-spent if you google it.

The festival will benefit two charities; Paws and Claws, and the women’s shelter, Vida Reavivida.  Sponsors are; The Stevenson Family, Hearts for Arts in Bucerias, Victoria Pratt/Timothy Real Estate Group, Refugio del Mar, El Divino, Alamar, and the Riviera Nayarit Tourism Board.