We’re Not Just Margaritas & Beach Blanket Bingo

We also have a thriving culture of art

With the opening of the high season, the traditional Thursday night San Jose art walk has begun operation again. There are nearly 20 galleries officially flinging open their doors to art walkers, and as many unofficially welcoming clients. Those would be the galleries that do not belong to the association. We say no matter, so long as they’re hospitable and they set out those cookies and punch for us.

But the association does take good care of us, putting out the word of special events and showings to our snow birds and in-and-out tourists alike. The association also polices their members and organizes blocking off the streets, they are lobbying for better lighting, and arrange for street entertainment.

This year the Art District has morphed into the Gallery District, and they are currently working on producing a map of the various galleries that belong to their association. For now, just get up to downtown San Jose and ask anyone where the art stuff is. Hint: behind the big church.

There are also some great restaurants in the area, starting with the brand new La Patrona right in the district. High end but reasonably priced, beautiful setting across from El Encanto hotel.

This Thursday Gallery Patricia Mendoza is showing a collective exhibition from the artists Reynaldo Diaz Zesati, Victor Mora and Sofia Echeverri.

In December the district is branching out to include what they’re calling VIP night on Wednesdays. It’s an attempt, says Mendoza, to spread out the visitors over two nights so artists and artists’ reps can spend more time with the more serious clients who often like to chat with the artist.

Cabo San Lucas is pretty barren of art, with the notable exception of Golden Cactus Gallery in Plaza Casa Blanca on the road to Todos Santos. This little gem used to be downtown in the middle of restaurant row on Hidalgo, before Ceylene Pourport moved it into a warehouse and was selling by appointment only. Now she’s out in the ‘burbs. It’s across the street from the No Tell Motel and convenient to the humane society. If you don’t see what you like at the gallery, can you take an extra dog?

But Hidalgo is not bereft of art. Tom Spangler has moved his gallery from the old lobby of Tesoro across the street to outside El Coral, right on the sidewalk. His stunning large format photographs of Mexico have all been taken by him and he’s available most nights to talk about them.

Then there’s Todos Santos, an entire town of upscale galleries and downscale trinket stores, all laced together with terrific restaurants.

If you aren’t available on Thursday night, skip San Jose and go up to Todos Santos, which is less than an hour away now with the widening of the highway to four lanes. This is a town where you have to get out of your car and walk around.  You can’t do a drive by because the charm of the old pueblo is in the ancient adobe buildings, most of which have wonderful courtyards. Hotel Guaycura is a charming old place to stay, clean and not badly updated.

Some of the better restaurants are the Sant Fe, which has been there for decades, and La Casita. Peek inside the old theater if you’re lucky and it’s open. Rattle the door, it’s surprising how often it’s left unlocked. This structure is very old, dating from the time the town’s industry was sugar cane.

There you have just some of the art buying opportunities you will find in and around Los Cabos. These are hubs, but keep your eyes open and you will see onesie twosies around many corners. Maybe it’s something in the air or maybe it’s the light that inspires so many artists to move here.