Renovations are taking place at Parque Teniente Guererro, Tijuana's downtown park. The plaza with the gazebo in the middle and several grassy sections has been closed to public. A larger area on the corner of 4th and 5 de Mayo avenue have been walled off for the construction of new bathrooms. The clowns, musicians, and other entertainers have moved to other locations in the city to earn their daily bread. But the perimeter of the park and other areas are still accessible and full of life, especially every Sunday in July.
“There are 32 or more artists and vendors here at Jardín del Arte,” said Emmanuel Martínez last Sunday, one of the coordinators of the ongoing art event. “We didn't charge any of them to use this space. We are doing this as part of IMAC's [the Instituto Municipal de Arte y Cultura] celebration for the 125th anniversary of the foundation of Tijuana and to show pride for our city.”
Artists display their work on grassy field next to the sidewalk: paintings, sculptures, and clothing. I couldn’t find anything priced over $200.
At one of the stands, a woman posed with a bored look on her face while she got her portrait done in chalk for 80 pesos (a little over $6). A couple tables had the usual handmade bracelets and other cheap trinkets, but most stands offer original work. By the chess players, several kids painted art of their own with local artists who give free workshops. In front of the library, there were older couples dancing to bachatas and classic romantic Mexican songs playing from a basic sound system. Some kids joined in nervously by the corner.
“I haven't sold much of anything,” said artist and photographer Scarlet Begonias, sitting by a table displaying her art and a clothing rack of hand-painted shirts. “People don't come to the park to spend a lot of money, much less in big pieces of art.”
“I sell these shirts for $25 or more whenever I'm in events in San Diego, but here I sell them for only 80 pesos. And if someone really likes something of mine, I'll let them take it for even less, even though every piece of art of mine are like my babies.”
While we were chatting, a man came close to her table, seemingly interested in some of her art. When Begonia approached the potential customer, the man offered her some pepitas (pumpkin seeds) for sale. Minutes later, a different gentleman tripped on nothing and almost fell on top of where I was sitting. He apologized using sign language and offered to sell me gum or peanuts.
Jardín del Arte in the park will be going on for the next three Sundays of July.