“Shaking up the Arts” in Calexico

Renee Duarte and son Enrique Duarte at the 'Shaking up the Arts' exhibit in Calexico.
Renee Duarte and son Enrique Duarte at the ‘Shaking up the Arts’ exhibit in Calexico.

CALEXICO – The Calexico Arts Commission invited the community Thursday afternoon to an artists’ reception to celebrate the 4th Annual “Shaking Up the Arts” exhibit, showcasing ten different local artist and five group art pieces led by Pulitzer Prize winning photographer and artist, Lee Romero, at the Carmen Durazo Cultural Arts Center.

Hildy Carrillo, Executive Director of the Calexico Chamber of Commerce, and Chair Person of the City of Calexico Arts Commission explained that the theme of the exhibit was to commemorate the 7.2 Easter earthquake that hit Calexico five years ago in 2010.

The earthquake shut down the Carmen Durazo Arts Cultural Arts Center and the surrounding hotel building, opening one year later with the first “Shaking up the Arts” exhibit.

Renee Duarte is a local artist from Calexico, visiting the art exhibit with son, Enrique Duarte, a 14 year old Calexico High freshman.

“It inspires me and it inspires him,” Renee Duarte nodded toward his son as he explained what had brought him to the artist reception.

Sandra Tauler, event organizer and Community Services Director for the City of Calexico, explained that the Calexico Arts Commission held an open call to artist in the community that went out to local media, Facebook, and radio stations.

“It has to build little by little,” Tauler said, “We encourage people to participate and attend, we try to include as many artist as possible.”

“Every time we have a show here it seems there are new artists participating.” said Elizabeth Ibarra.

Ibarra, who is originally from Massachusetts, lives in El Centro and teaches art. She has been participating in art shows at the Carmen Durazo Cultural Arts center for over three years.

Requirement for artist to showcase their work was only that it be framed and family-friendly. Works of art were accepted in any medium from sculpture to paper mache to water color and oils on canvas. Artists came from Niland, El Centro, and Calexico.

One Victor De La Fuente, originally from the Imperial Valley, recently returned after living for six years in San Diego. He found inspiration in his roots and family which he said contributed to his current art pieces and new art process.

“I want to show people something different and inspire their inner child,” De La Fuente said.

De La Fuente hopes to show his work in La Jolla or Los Angeles next and is currently displaying three pieces presented as a triptic, a suggestion that was made to him by photographer and artist, Lee Romero.

The next art exhibit will be a week-long art exhibit opening Saturday, April 18, in conjunction with the Children’s Art Festival and showcasing artwork made by children in Calexico schools, grades K through 12.

“We have so much local talent and we just want to make sure they know they have a space to participate and be inspired,” Carillo said, “We are very proud of the Cultural Arts Center.”

Carillo would like the community to “keep an eye out” for the next art exhibit to visit and sincerely asks that they consider being part of one.

Artist pay a one time $10 fee for showing up to five pieces of art work.

The gallery does not collect any commission for work sold at the Art Center.

Information can be found at the City of Calexico Art and Culture, webpage and Facebook page, as well as the Calexico Chamber of Commerce Facebook page and CalexicoLibrary.org.

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