Asociación de Artes History
When Russ and JoAnn Hyslop, two retired school teachers from the United States, moved to Los Barriles in 1992 they realized that the local schools did not have an art program. Russ began teaching art classes after school in one of the classrooms. The classes were a success, but art supplies and space were in short supply. The Hyslops knew something had to be done to raise money for the art program. In the same year, Russ and JoAnn and a small group of residents formed an Art Committee to organize an art festival where local artists could show their original work. Their hope was to raise money to support the art programs in the schools. Twenty-five local artists attended this event which was held in Juanito’s Garden R.V. Park on April 2, 1994.
The spring Festival de Artes has grown to include over one hundred local artists with over 4,000 visitors attending, attracting people from across Baja California Sur. From these modest beginnings the Asociación de Artes continued to grow. They developed programs for the greater community to work together in a multi-cultural environment. In 1999 the Art Committee formed a private Mexican non-profit organization and established a formal Board of Directors representing a multicultural group of East Cape residents. The Asociación de Artes del Mar de Cortez A.C. is the second oldest Mexican non-profit organization in the East Cape region.
The Association assists local committees in San Antonio, El Triunfo and El Rosario in establishing their own art festivals. They conduct an annual culture tour featuring homes, artist studios, and historic buildings. An “artist in residence” program has been established where artists from across Mexico come to teach art classes in the East Cape. The artists also work with children in the local schools to create murals. One such artist is Xochitl Rivera from Oaxaca who is teaching students in the secondary school. The East Capers is a bi-monthly newspaper published by the Asociación de Artes and supported by the local business community. It focuses on art and culture along with the history of Mexico and the East Cape region of Baja California Sur. Residents are encouraged to submit articles and stories.
Over the years, the Asociación de Artes has become a proud co-sponsor of the Cursos de Verano (Courses of Summer) program for over eighty East Cape elementary and secondary school-age children. A three-week program, Cursos de Verano provides sports activities including volleyball, soccer, basketball, baseball, and swimming. Other activities include jewelry-making, arts and crafts, yoga, kung fu, folk dancing, and English language instruction. Over thirty volunteers from the East Cape assist this program organized by the Mexican National System for Integral Family Development (DIF), members of the business community, and the local Delegado’s office.
In 2010, the Association added a music festival and writer’s workshop to their list of programs designed to showcase local talent, skills development and to raise funds for school art supplies. The Asociación de Artes continues to bring the arts to the local communities and the schools.