By Christopher Lux
Cuenca’s first Open Studios Art Walk hits the streets of the historic district, Thursday night, October 1.
Forty locations, including galleries, studios, shops and restaurants, and 60 artists are participating in the free event which runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Popular in the U.S. and much of Europe, the art walk and open studios concepts have only recently begun to catch on in Latin America. This is the first event of its kind in Cuenca.
The exhibitions will include all forms of painting from abstraction to minimalism to realism, handmade jewelry, art from recycled materials, ceramics, wood art, paper art, art infused with stories, drawings, cartoons, installations, and more. Exhibitors include both Ecuadorians and expats.
Greg Boyd is one of the painters participating in the Art Walk. “As a painter and print-maker with a relatively new studio and gallery in El Centro, I’m delighted to welcome guests to my studio during the Art Walk,” he says.
Boyd’s gallery is located at Calle Simon Bolivar and Esteves de Toral. Like many artists, he uses the space both to create and exhibit his work. Following local tradition — and to simplify and economize the process of obtaining municipal permissions — his gallery has no sign and no name. Inside the gallery, he features an assortment of paintings on canvas, hand-pulled limited edition prints, and pastels on paper. While much of his work is based on the prehistoric animal figures found in the caves of France and Spain, he is currently working on a series of abstract paintings, as well as two large Cuenca-themed canvases.
“This event is a great opportunity for people to meet local artists and familiarize themselves with the diversity of artwork produced in Cuenca,” says Boyd. “For me, it’s also a chance to exhibit my work and answer questions in English or Spanish. I’ll be displaying paintings in progress as well as finished work, as I think seeing artists at work in their studios helps demystify their work and make it more accessible.”
Lanner Diaz, a Cuban-Cuencano artist and co-director of Conde Galeria on Calle Larga, will also show show his work in his studio. “It is wonderful for an artist to display his work close to where it is created,” he says. “I’m also excited about Art Walk and hope it’s successful. It gives artists to a chance to meet people they would not ordinarily see. It expands the Cuenca art community.”
Vilcabamba artist Eliza Hafer sees the Art Walk as a chance to reach a wider audience in Cuenca. Hafer says she draws inspiration for her paintings from legends, myths and the dream world. “Mysterious elements that emerge in the process fascinate me,” she says. “What seems at first to be a mistake may later become a blessing.”
Her work will be on display at a soon-to-open tienda called Pumamaqui- All Things Alpaca, located next to the Italian bread and cheese maker shop, at 6-28 Honorato Vasquez near Hermano Miguel.
An Art Walk catalog, with a map of participating locations and a list of artists is available at the participating venues. Using the map and list, art enthusiasts can choose which artists they would like to visit and navigate the historic district to the various locations.
One such location is the family-owned Cuenca Suites. Rebecca is from Cuenca and Simon is from Denmark. After living in Denmark, the couple came back to Cuenca last year with their two daughters. They opened Cuenca Suites in a fully renovated house that belonged to Rebecca’s grandfather.
“My husband and I lived in Denmark for 10 years, and in October there is a Cultural Night in Copenhagen, where different locations open their doors to visitors,” says Rebecca. “It was a great experience and the city has an amazing atmosphere which we enjoyed so much, so when Cara Venn visited us and presented the Cuenca Art Walk idea, we were very happy to participate and give a hand in any way we could.”
Venn, who asked Simon and Rebecca to participate, is the event organizer. Before moving to Ecuador in March 2014, she lived in India for five years where she sponsored the Art 4 Kids, India! program that taught over 150 Tibetan and Indian children.
According to Venn, the “Open Studios Art Walk” grew out of a vision for and commitment to creative collaboration, transformational artistic expression and community. The Art Walk is meant to elevate the exposure of art to tourists who visit Cuenca, as well as to Cuenca residents, both foreign and Ecuadorian.
“As an artist living in California, I participated in Art Walks,” says Venn. “They are very popular in cities in the U.S. and Europe, as well as in other countries around the world. For example, in Miami, they are held on the first Friday every month. It is my hope that we can continue with the event in Cuenca and even expand possibly to a weekend event including all types of creativity, such as music, improvisation, dance and street theater. The sky’s the limit for possibilities!”
Venn says she very pleased with the artists exhibiting in the first event. “They include established artists and new artists, Cuenanos and expats,” she says. “I’m particularly happy to that we are offering a venue for artists who are just starting out in their careers since it difficult for them to get their work before the public.”
Participating artists and venues will have yellow balloons to guide your way and the catalog includes a numbered map. For more information, email Cara Venn or Emma Tamay at CuencaArtWalk@gmail.com.
Art Venue Map (See location and artist list below map)
Locations and Participating Art Walk Artists
- GALERÍA CONDE: Calle Larga 4.23 & Vargas Machuca—Lanner Díaz, Noydán Conde
- COLOMBIAN COFFEE HOUSE: Mariano Cueva 4.48 & Calle Larga–Lorena Duca
- WINDHORSE CAFÉ: Calle Larga 6.16 & Hermano Miguel—Ali Spence
- SA-JO JEWELERY: Honorato Vásquez 5.89 & Hermano Miguel
- ALL THINGS ALPACA ECUADOR: Honorato Vásquez 6.28 & Hermano Miguel—Eliza Hafer
- JC GALLERIA: Juan Jaramillo 5.9 & Hermano Miguel—Jon Conkey
- ALBERTO SORIANO: Hermano Miguel 6.87 & Presidente Córdova
- MAITE EUSABIO: Hermano Miguel 6.87 & Presidente Córdova
- KLEBER MOSCOSO: Hermano Miguel 6.95 & Presidente Córdova
- OPIUM GALERIA DE ARTE: Presidente Córdova 5.46 & Hermano Miguel
- ARTES: Presidente Córdova 6.03 & Hermano Miguel
- GRUPO CULTURAL El MONASTERIO: Presidente Córdova 6.26 & Hermano Miguel
- LA CIGALE: Honorato Vásquez 7.80 & Luis Cordero—Gustavo López Moreno
- EL MERCADO: Calle Larga 8.27 & Luis Cordero—Charles Reddington
- ARIEL DAWI: Benigno Malo 4.103 (la Escalinata, stairs) & Calle Larga
- SUNRISE CAFÉ: Calle Larga 9.38 & Benigno Malo—Lalo León Camera
- CU GALLERY: La Condamine (esquina/corner) 13.10 El Vado; Borrero 7.39 & Presidente Córdova—María José Machado
- PROHIBIDO CENTRO CULTURAL: Calle peatonal La Condamine 12.102 (Sector El Vado)—Eduardo Moscoso
- ROXI´S CAFÉ: Benigno Malo 6.29 & Juan Jaramillo—Roberto Lituma Fabara
- SONO: Borrero 6.83 & Presidente Córdova—Elizabeth Vallejo, Priscila Urdiales, Galo Mosquera, Lorena Serrano, Joaquín Peréz, Priscila Peralta, Paola Montalván
- INSTITUTO de ARTE CONTEMPORANEO: Hermano Miguel 8.41 & Simón Bolívar
- FRANCISCO DELGADO SUÁREZ: Luis Cordero 9.55 & Simón Bolívar, arriba, upstairs
- UNDER THE DOMES TERRACE & idiomART STUDIO: Padre Aguirre 8.65 & Gran Colombia, upstairs
- HOSTAL CASA de LIDICE: General Torres 11.69 & Sangurima—Lidice Correa Andrade
- BLACK OLIVE: Tarqui 9.61 & Gran Colombia—Francisco Delgado Suárez
- CASA DE 1860: Juan Montalvo 8.25 & Sucre—Ricardo Alberto, Michael Pinchera, Manuel Tarqui, Barbara Van Abel
- FOUR RIVERS CENTER FOR THE CREATIVE ARTS: Sucre 13.12 & Juan Montalvo, arriba, upstairs—Rommie Gerber Reddington, Janda Grove, Edward Konderla, Robin Moulyn, Victoria Proaño, Eduardo Segovia, Gabriela Solis, Cara Venn
- ARTES DEL BARRANCO: Simón Bolívar 13.49 & Estévez de Toral
- HOSTAL POSADA DEL ANGEL: Simón Bolívar 14.11 & Estévez de Toral—Angie Hernandez, Rocio Pozo Talbot
- GREG BOYD: Simón Bolívar 14.59 & Estévez de Toral
- CUENCA SUITES: Simón Bolívar 14.65 & Coronel Talbot—Randy Lowry
- MAKI: Sucre 14.96 & Coronel Talbot
- GALERÍA OTORONGO: MAGY PEÑA—Plaza Otorongo
- LAKOMUNA: La Escalinata Otorongo, stairs, Presidente Córdova & Coronel Talbot
- SAN SEBAS CAFÉ: Calle San Sebas 1.94 & Sucre—Amelia Earl, Cristian León, John Moyano
- F VEGA GALERIA: Calle San Sebas 1.86—Federico Vega
- LARRAZABAL GALERIA de ARTE: Calle San Sebas 1.80
- JODOCO BELGIAN BREW: Calle San Sebas—Tania Marca Ch
- CHANGAROO FUFURUFU: Gran Colombia & Miguel Vélez (esquina, corner)—Jonathan Ortega, Antonio Bermeo
- FISHBON del SUR: Lamar 14.25 & Estévez de Toral—Marcelo Andrade, Karla Torres Arévalo