EL CENTRO – The Mexican Consulate in Calexico joined the City of El Centro for a ribbon cutting ceremony and a Memorandum of Understanding signing, establishing the Old Post Office Pavilion as the Imperial Valley Cultural Center Friday evening.
“This took many months of hard work and preparation,” said Hector Huerta Nava, deputy consul for the Mexican Consulate in Calexico. “This Pavilion opens its doors to receive the artistic community of Imperial Valley. The Pavilion will be under the coordination of Kimberly Alfaro, who I know will do an excellent job.”
The main focus of the Imperial Valley Cultural Center is to increase the citizen’s access to the different artistic works, and to help develop expositions, conferences, literary gatherings, music, theater, and film showings.
“This is a great celebration where two governments are coming together for the betterment of our community,” said Jason Jackson, El Centro mayor. “This is going to be a great cultural opportunity, not only for our residents, but for our youth. This is an opportunity for our youth to learn not only about their culture, but other cultures as well.”
The Imperial Valley Cultural Center will serve for programming, promoting, diffusing and presenting artistic and cultural events, and to search the different artistic groups that originate from the public, private, and independent sectors in Imperial County.
“There is a lot of talent both in Imperial County and in Mexicali,” said Carlos Flores Vizcarra, consul titular for the Mexican Consulate in Calexico. “We have enjoyed events like Trio’s, the Rondalla, and Dia De Muerto celebration. We have a whole set of events that have already been tested and we are ready to continue. We think the best language we can use is the language of civilized activities of culture. We have the interior richness of the people that populate these two great valleys.”
The center will be directed by local artist and Imperial Valley Artist Collective President, Kimberly Alfaro Massey, who showcased over 247 art pieces from thirty Imperial Valley artists, Friday.
“The opportunities here to develop and find artistic outlets have been very few,” said Alfaro. “Scavenging for and holding on to every chance I had, I grew up with the idea that in order to be an artist I had to leave the Valley. That is what we want to change. We want to keep the talent in the Valley.”
The Imperial Valley Artist Collective began in 2011 by individuals who aspired to unite the community through art appreciation, while creating fun and educational platforms for Valley artist to showcase their artwork. The Imperial Valley Arts Collective is made up of various artist which include street artists, sculptures, painters, designers, and visual artist. The collective aims to establish an artistic environment for young children, students, and fellow artists to pursue a career in the arts through mentorship and teachings on diverse mediums.
During the celebration, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed and funds delivered by the Consulate of Mexico to the representatives of the IME Becas Program, which included the Imperial Valley College Foundation, Plaza Comunitaria, and West Shores High School in Salton Sea.