Art in the Park
By Ángela Cisneros
Any time of day, you’ll find locals and tourists soaking up the scene in El Jardín, San Miguel’s beautiful main plaza. While El Jardín is indeed an awesome spot to dar una vuelta (take a stroll), just three blocks to the east, Parque Juárez offers an alternate landscape for outdoor lovers. On weekends, you’ll also enjoy an art exhibit. Then you’ll see kids and their parents, couples on vacation, and serious shoppers looking for art. Even the joggers and dog walkers slow down to have a look.
Wind, clouds, rain, or shine, you can find artists selling their original works of art in a variety of techniques: watercolor, acrylic, collage, etching, oils, and sometimes photography or sculpture.
Fifty-two weekends a year, the artists set up paintings and prints along the paved path hugging the park’s perimeter. Under pine trees and palms, jacarandas, and huge stands of bamboo, benches of stone and iron provide a place to rest in the warm sun or dappled shade.
Of the nearly three dozen artists who form the Jardín del Arte group, many come from San Miguel and surrounding communities; others hail from elsewhere in Mexico and foreign countries. Some have professional art degrees, while others have studied with individual teachers or are self-taught. Each artist sells exclusively his or her own work.
Several artists produce surrealist paintings of fantastic figures. Others recreate San Miguel landscapes or Mexico themes: old ladies or girls selling flowers, old gents leading burros down cobblestone streets or yoked oxen working fields of corn. There are charros and escaramuzas (female charros), cheerful cactus paintings and bloody, blue-eyed saints. One of the more popular artists paints in a naïf but detailed and colorful style.
Within the peaceful, tree-lined park are food stands selling bottled water and sodas, homemade potato chips, tacos, and gorditas. During the numerous events that take place throughout the year, more vendors appear, selling tamales, apple pie, and other treats. For something more substantial, visit the hotel restaurants surrounding the park such as Hotel del Parque, Hotel Santa Mónica, or Hotel Mansión del Bosque.
San Miguel artists can be found in Juarez Park Saturdays and Sundays between 10am and 3pm. This spot is a great combination of shopping and walking.