Women in the Arts

A photo of the art exhibit, Women in the Arts, at the Carmen Durazo Cultural Arts Center in Calexico.

CALEXICO — The Carmen Durazo Cultural Arts Center, with the Calexico Recreation Center, presented a virtual exhibit featuring Women in the Arts, where 22 women submitted art for the exhibit with a total of 86 pieces. The exhibit video was posted on Facebook and YouTube for viewing, showcasing a variety of art made by women.

“It’s an opportunity for us to celebrate women during International Women’s Day. It is their one time a year where them, and them alone, shine,” said Recreation Manager Norma Gerardo.

The Arts Center received messages from people thanking them for providing women an opportunity to be showcased. Gerardo emphasized that women can participate in any of their exhibitions, but Women in the Arts specifically highlighted women artists. 

She said women had to submit their art, with a limit of up to five pieces, by a certain date. In the past, there was a fee to submit art pieces, but for the time being there’s no cost associated with submission. Gerardo said they want to be an outlet for artists and provide enrichment entertainment to the community. 

Women could submit art electronically or drop off in person if it was anything other than a photograph, digital artwork, or the like. Gerardo said a picture of sculptures are taken to showcase on the video exhibit.

Bug splat

Bug splat photo by Sylvia Villalpando.

Gerardo said the exhibit was sponsored for the first time by the Calexico Arts Council, a nonprofit organization. “It is dedicated to raising funds to provide or promote our programs in the Carmen Durazo Cultural Arts Center,” she said. 

The Arts Center is under the Recreation Department division, she continued, establishing a good relationship with the Calexico Arts Council. Together, they provide numerous classes and exhibits beginning June and July of last year.

It is new for the Arts Center to be under the Recreation Department, Gerardo said, stating digital art and photographic pieces are some of the new things the exhibit added. She said they accept almost any visual art, making it easier to showcase them in the art video. Some of the art submitted were sculptures, digital art, photography, paintings, and drawings. Gerardo said it provides a variety to the exhibition. 

Gandalf the Grey Painting

Painting of Gandalf the Grey by Shantelley R. Estala.

In addition to the scheduled exhibitions, Gerardo said the Arts Center is preparing a mural project in downtown Calexico to purify the area. She said it’s still in the works and more information will be provided soon. 

Gerardo said COVID-19 has impacted the exhibit negatively because people could no longer visit in person to view the exhibit and receptions, and opening days are no longer provided. Gerardo said normal programming was something the Arts Center wanted to move forward with, but they were trying to deal with the impact of the pandemic. 

However, the pandemic opened a new door for the Arts Center. “Now that we’re doing virtual, it has opened up the opportunity for people outside the County to participate,” she said. People from Mexicali and Palm Desert joined the exhibit online. The Arts Center also got some people from Germany and the Czech Republic in the last two exhibits. Gerardo expressed that it was amazing to have other countries and counties participate.

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