BRAWLEY – On the first Friday of every month, art-loving enthusiasts from throughout the Imperial Valley pour into the back streets of Brawley’s downtown hub. This festive art crawl has helped cultivate a new cultural scene, giving it an “open house” atmosphere. The event continuously buzzes from start to finish with vivacious sights and sounds as both casual and serious art collectors stroll through the galleries.
While walking from place to place, restaurants like Inferno and The Rock Café welcomingly open their doors to art partisans of all types. This past Friday’s after-dark affair with the arts continued to highlight a network of local talent and aroused the interest of guests with a unique performance from outside of the Valley.
Erik Sanchez, the drive behind this event, spotlights talent in his studio from both the Imperial and Mexicali Valleys. This week he featured Ana Daniela Munoz, a dancer of eighteen years, and she drew a crowd Friday while performing an improvisational dance with her students of various ages. Munoz has had the opportunity of being a contemporary dance instructor for eight years at the University of Mexicali, and explained her impetus behind the dance performed by expressing her deep appreciation for the study of anthropology and human awareness.
“I think the most important patterns that I really enjoy and translate to my choreography are the social patterns,” said Munoz. “In the way we communicate and in the way we solve our problems. Basically, that is the main idea of my choreography,” she said, offering insight behind the performance.
Munoz then went on to praise events like Brawley’s 1st Fridays Art Walk. “The work that Erik is doing here is very important. People need to have this knowledge of the arts put out there, so that we can inspire and enjoy each other’s performances and attract more to join in.”
Along with teaching at the University of Mexicali, Munoz also holds a class at the Dance and Arts Studio in Calexico. She encourages people of all ages, with or without dance history, to come out and try a class.
Omar Velasquez, another committed visionary of the arts, was out representing his podcast known as “The I Ate Music Podcast.” His podcast has been circulating since the summer of 2014 from his home studio right here in the Valley. The mission behind his production is to provide a platform for local artists, bands and performers alike. Velasquez said his main goal is to spread the word about upcoming events and to offer a more personal inside look on the talent that is out there.
“We have to keep the music alive,” said Velazquez when explaining the networking processes the podcast provides.
Pablo Llamas, a beats producer of six years, shares Velasquez’s passion for spreading new sounds. Llamas has had the opportunity to showcase some of his beats, introducing his craft “Anomeric” in one of Velasquez’ podcast episodes.
Another artist, Isaac Aragon of the band “Planet Flesh,” has recently collaborated with projects such as “Anomeric.” Aragon said the podcast’s success is due in part to introducing new opportunity and influences for combining and creating different music.
All the music artists encouraged anyone and everyone to get involved and to tune in at (iatemusic.squarespace.com.)
Amid the showcased art was a colorful spray-painted piece featuring the image of a young child. Brothers and artists Jorge and Mauro Donate have grown in the art of spray painting for the past seven years, and they talked about their dedication to set a good example and to bring Mexican culture to the center stage. Jorge Donate has even taken his mission a step further and plans to get his MFA in Studio Arts. The Donate brothers both continue to encourage each other as they carry on their quest to spread cultural awareness and positivity.