By Diego Arrazola
Sitting in a café in the Romantic Zone, Susan refreshes herself with a bottle of water. This retired Project Manager, coming from Toronto, is a “happy resident” from Puerto Vallarta, a city that says she enjoys to the fullest. In addition to enjoying her condo, she enjoys of quality of life: climate, cuisine, natural beauty, nobility of the people, and no less important for her: access to satisfiers for the spirit.
Creator and consumer of art, this Canadian ensures to greatly appreciate the diverse offer she has at her palm of the hand. Along with many locals, residents, visitors, Susan is pending and participates in courses and workshops, exhibitions of painting and sculpture, guided tours of the sculptures of the Malecón, musical shows in restaurants and bars, folkloric ballet exhibitions in parks, and so on. To which she adds the festivities of her new homeland: like the parades of charros, the parties of September, Day of the Dead, preparation and tasting of typical food …
“There is a lot to do here,” she says about the artistic and cultural activities that saturate her agenda, as well as going to the beach, enjoying nature and participating in groups of gastronomy lovers. A painter and drawer, Susan is proud to be one of the artists who recently decorated the columns of Lázaro Cárdenas park with mosaics, and points out that she is considering taking sculpture classes.
Like her, hundreds of residents and tourists enjoy Puerto Vallarta more than just sun, sea, mountains, spas and good restaurants. Because the visitor does not only live on the beach and breeze. It also needs to feed the spirit, something for which this coastal population is very good at.
Puerto Vallarta is a party
Without fear of exaggeration, this city is a celebration of art and culture all year round, with live music in restaurants and bars, concerts and dancing in Los Arcos del Malecón, danzón in the Plaza de Armas, cabaret in the city centre and the Zona Romantica, photographic exhibitions in galleries or outdoors, conferences of various topics, book fairs, film shows at the University Center of the Coast (CUC), courses and workshops at the Los Mangos Cultural Center or at the Zona Romantica. Even, shopping centers such as La Isla or Galerias have been concerned to schedule exhibitions of plastic arts, music or dance for their visitors.
One of the characteristics that make this city different is that, unlike other beach sites, it is a place associated with art and culture. Added to this is its typical mountain village architecture, with cobblestone streets, or the growing number of street murals everywhere, which make the town a kind of living museum. Art shines through all its streets, in addition to the sun of the Pacific.
Not a few artists or collectors have chosen this bay to live or come to rest. Puerto Vallarta is also fertile ground for the creation of painters, writers, photographers, sculptors, craftsmen, musicians, architects, decorators … It is a mecca to create and enjoy.
Galleries and much more
Just alone the galleries are one of the highlights, for the joy of artists and buyers. No beach city in Mexico has the quantity and quality of places to exhibit and acquire painting, sculpture and even decorative arts. According to sites such as Trip Advisor, in Things to Do in Puerto Vallarta the Art Walk occupies the number 20. Between October and May, a dozen galleries of the city centre are organized to receive the public, on Wednesday afternoons and offer them sandwiches and drinks, at the time, obviously, to show off their works on display.
Although there is no precise record of the existing galleries in the city, which date back to the 1980s, there are at least a score of decent establishments in the city centre and Zona Romantica with works by national and foreign artists. You do not necessarily have to buy, you can simply look and fill your eyes and hearts with beauty and creativity.
While visual arts predominate in Puerto Vallarta, suddenly one can find dance exhibitions or collective photography exhibitions in the Rosita hotel lobby, and frequent musical concerts or outdoor exhibitions on the Malecón.
The OPC gallery, an eclectic and active center that diffuses art located on Avenida Juarez 598, in the city centre, is the venue for exhibitions, music, conferences … not to be missed. Similarly, the Library Los Mangos Cultural Center, in Francisco Villa 1001, Colonia Versalles, is a must for locals and residents; It is advisable to write your annual art auction on the agenda, with the sale of works by well-known artists and others that are on the rise.
It is very convenient to be attentive to the billboard of the Institute of Culture (institutovallartensedecultura.com), as well as the University Center of the Coast (cuc.udg.mx/coordinacion-de-extension). There will always be something worth doing or being enjoyed in both options.
A box of surprises is Puerto Vallarta. No one gets tired of the many options to nourish the intellect and the spirit. Bored is a word that does not exist in the vocabulary of locals and residents, as suggested by Susan, a Canadian who was trapped by this coast and decided to spend the rest of her life here. While she shares her joy for living in this city and lists her schedule of artistic and cultural activities, a painter passes and offers at her table of his production, works that illuminate her look and seem to brighten the day.