International art south of the border

December 01, 2001|By JENNIFER RALTON-SMITH

Staff Writer

MEXICALI — Bringing art to the people took an interesting turn Saturday in this large, cosmopolitan border town.

Local and not-so-local artists used a section of the international border fence on which to hang their artwork for the day.

By 10 a.m. Galeria Fronteriza was officially declared open with some 25 large canvasses on display on the fence along a section of Avenida Cristobal Colon in downtown Mexicali.

Professor Victor Larios, who teaches painting at the University of Baja California in Mexicalli and is one of the organizers of the exhibition, said the main purpose for holding this and two previous exhibitions earlier in the year, was to "bring art to the people."


"We want people who would not ordinarily visit an art gallery — people who might be intimidated by the atmosphere of a regular art gallery, to be able to experience art for themselves."

Galeria Fronteriza is sponsored by a number of Mexican government cultural agencies. It also receives support from Imperial Valley College and the Imperial County Arts Council.

Larios said a second purpose of the exhibition was to give artists, who might not otherwise be invited to exhibit in mainstream galleries, a chance to bring their art to the public.

Along with local artists, students from San Diego State University and Imperial Valley College, as well as two young artists from Italy, contributed pieces to the exhibition.

Galeria Fronteriza held its first two exhibitions in March and June, and Larios is optimistic his group will stage monthly exhibitions in the future.

Eduardo Kintero, the exhibition coordinator who works for the Direccion Municipal De Cultura in Mexicali, admitted that hanging art on an international border fence was not without its difficulties.

"When we were hanging the paintings for the first exhibition back in March — we have to use a very tall ladder you know, to hang some paintings at the top of the fence. Well, we left the ladder unattended for a moment and this guy ran up our ladder and crossed over into the U.S."

Kintero said he and the other people hanging the paintings were really worried that U.S. Border Patrol agents would blame them for the border crosser who decided to take the quicker route north.

"But everything worked out OK in the end — they caught the guy," Kintero said, still smiling at the memory.

>> For information on future Galeria Fronteriza exhibitions, contact Eduardo Kintero at 01152-686-553-91-46 or

>> Staff Writer Jennifer Ralton-Smith can be reached at 337-3442 or

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