art community, jama coaque sello art, jama coaque sellos, jama ecuador, Lisa Brunetti, luchy cevallos, manabi art, manabi artists, precolumbian art, route of the jama sellos, rycardo aclivar, sergio
(2012 – Once upon a time before an earthquake...)
The small town of Jama Ecuador has many multi-talented artists, and most of them dodge the spotlight. How can they get more recognition if someone doesn’t prod them forward from time to time?!
Months ago my friend Luchy Cevallos wondered how to bring more attention to his cybercafe on incoming “Jama Avenue.” After a few test drives past his building, I suggested, “Luchy; people are looking straight ahead toward the center of town. You need something bright and colorful to turn their heads.” A few weeks later as we painted the pole, he snickered when people slammed on brakes or swerved as they looked back as they drove past! “Someone is going to have an accident,” he chuckled.
At night, Luchy pulls a few tables and chairs to the sidewalk to expand the social area; calabash light fixtures dangle in front of the window, and a tempting menu prompts customers to place an order. Luchy also owns Cabanas Palo Santo, and I often wonder when he has time to create art. But create he does, and his fame is slowly spreading!
Inspired by the brightly-colored post, Sergio Hernan Berrios Silva , tourism director for the canton of Jama, spearheaded a competition to transform the concrete power poles on the incoming Jama Avenue into works of art. During the week of March 12- March 17 (2012) Sergio coaxed artists from 8 years to 30-something to tap into the creative influence of the Jama Coaque precolumbian indian designs and blaze Jama Avenue with paint! Co-sponsored by Diners Club International, the contest triggered a current of creative energy that pulsated from one end of Jama Avenue to the other! Neighbors loitered on the sidewalks or watched from the shadows of a nearby bench as young children dashed from pole to pole and compared styles, subject matter and techniques.
Jama’s multi-talented artist, Rycardo Aclivar, declined from entering the contest, yet painted numerous posts and encouraged others throughout the week. . . .
.James Madden of nearby Lalo Loor Reserve not only painted dramatic designs but also mentored many of the younger artists. Other Lalo Loor volunteers contributed exceptional talent before other obligations pulled them away.
By day three, many asked why I had not painted a pole, so on day four I joined the painting fiesta! Within five minutes of setting up, I was joined by a handful of eager children wearing, “Please may I help?” expressions on their faces! Oh dear!
At times surprise showers halted the painting process. Paint dribbled down posts, and artists retreated for an hour or overnight until it stopped.
Like an army of ants, all artists repaired damage and resumed work when the sun smiled on us again! .
Friday afternoon brought more onlookers; some strolled by on foot. Some viewed the progress from mototaxis. Others observed from cars and trucks. All gave nods and words of approval as they watched their town transform.
Saturday found the most serious artists still at work. New volunteers, inspired by the explosion of color, joined forces and painted with extreme energy and focus!
Admiring each work, a panel of four judges walked the entire length of Jama Avenue and inspected each creation. A line of enthusiastic children trailed behind, and the difficult task of evaluating the poles cast a serious mood over the group.
Each judge rated the 52 posts on a scale of five to ten; the scores were turned over to another panel, and the winners will be announced at a breakfast ceremony on the 29th of March.
A once-monthly week-long “Painting Marathon” has been discussed, and hopefully the town of Jama will continue to blossom into an arts community. In time, perhaps a gallery will represent this town full of aspiring artists, and people will smile and say, “It started with one light pole.” Z
Gwen Rhodes said:
wonderful article. so so fun to see what your lively personality creates all over the place. You are well remembered here and every time I go to pilas I see the zebra striped gate and think of you……..always with fondness.
hey gwen! thanks so much for your kind words; i am glad that you liked the post! the week was exhausting yet invigorating, and to see all of those proud young faces as they created their masterpieces – who could ask for more?
Wow! That is really wonderful to see! Such a wonderful movement started so simply. I hope the art momentum continues in Jama and beyond. Thanks for sharing the story and the pictures!
thank you, emily!
it won’t be long before you’re adding your special touches to the area. keep mending, and i hope you reach your goal for the camerones community project. z
Dominick S. said:
That is a very cool idea! 52 pieces of art now grace the streets!
Yes! and some of the artists kept painting, so more posts are ‘popping up’ – it’s infectious! z
Great writing Z on an interesting story plumb full of pics.
thanks! anyone with a slow connection will probably curse me! there are so many more photos in queue that did not make it into the post; maybe they’ll appear in a companion video? i’m glad you enjoyed the story. z
Mary and John said:
Great article Lisa…adds a whole bunch of icing to the cake for our upcoming visit to Jama…take care friend..Mary
So true! I look forward to hearing your critiques of the art in person! Z
Mike Machaskee said:
What an awesome project…all the way around…bravo!!!
You’ll love the changes! I hope that you and Jana and Bob find your way back soon! Z
great photos! what a fun project to get the town involved in. I’m sure everyone is
smiling!!!Miss you. Kate
thanks, kate! yes, everyone is smiling, and the community pulled together in a beautiful way!
i want you and don to seriously consider being a part of the next ‘tarpon challenge’ at rio colorado lodge in CR later this year. I’ve been talking with dan and we’ll try to figure out the best time for all involved! z
What a great idea Lees !! I’m sure it brought lots of smiles to everyone involved!! I know I loved our paintings under the full moon in Pueblo Nuevo !! I miss you! Love KK
Si, Zeebrita! We’ll be sure to save a post for you! I’ll always remember that full-moon painting spree as well! We’re overdue for some new adventures! Love, Lees
Only you could see with the eyes of the “zeebra” what it takes to stop traffic. Always an inspiration to many, always altering the ways others learn how to “see”, creating new ways to change a whole community, thats Lisa.
… And then there’s the multi-talented extremely-grounded watercolorist named Hope Carr! You’ve done your share of influencing others as well! We’ll have to stripe some power poles together one of these days!
You never cease to amaze me……………….I will come to see the posts first hand……..ankle is doing well, another couple months and back to normal.
Hey Pablo!!!! You will love meeting the beautiful people who color the town of Jama! Glad you’re mending! (Hope the March madness is going well!) Z
Danielle Cox Ginn said:
Hi! It’s your old student, Danielle Cox. I’m so glad Mrs. Hope shared your blog. Mom and I were just wondering last week how and where you were…and of course pondering our warm feelings for you. I’m so glad I can keep up now.
Danielle! Oh, it is SO GREAT to hear from you, and we have our lovely friend Hope to thank for this reunion! I was about to shut down the computer and embark on a day of travel,and I am so glad to have received your comment before leaving. I look forward to hearing what’s happening in your life and seeing how you’ve evolved as an artist. Give your dear mother my love as well! “Mrs. B aka Z” :))
Wow! very interesting Z, I think I will apply this idea in my town one day :D. Very artistic people in your place.
maybe one of these days i’ll find my way there, and we can do that together.. a post about your town would be interesting! z
Helene de Boissezon said:
this page is so nice, so full of happiness and friendship, so rich !
thank you for creating so many beautiful moments, and sharign them with all your friends, all over the world.
Helene (from … Toulouse… where such sad event occurred these last days)
Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Hearing from you bridges the distance across the Atlantic.
Yes, your country has endured a tragic chapter; maybe healing can begin now that the killer is no longer a threat.
Give my love to Lise!
This is wonderful Lisa! Great to meet you!
Con mucho gusto! Lesli! Perdon! How great it was to see you on Sunday, though other responsibilities pulled you away before I could thank you or say, ‘goodbye – nice to meet you!’ — As Becky pointed out, the post details regarding ODG Tur Jama were left hanging, and I need a refresher in order to write a summary and give credit for their part. There’s a need for a community bulletin board – or something – to keep everyone informed on what’s happening in the area. Siempre, Lisa
Absolutely, at our next meeting I will see if there is some way we can provide a central place to communicate. We’ll touch base, maybe lunch sometime on the beach?!!
Si! I formally nominate you as our official Chamber of Commerce “person” for the area! 🙂
Many times there’s a ‘Who’s on First’ glitch in communications, and there’s a need for a community calendar of events – or some way to keep everyone informed! See you soon! z
Great project and wonderful artwork. Congratulations to OGD Tur Jama http://www.facebook.com/ogdturjama for there involvement as well.
Lo siento; I need to learn more about OGD Tur Jama, as the first I’d heard of it was on Sunday, the day of the judging! I’m still out of town, but when back I’d like to find out more about OGD, what it stands for, when it was started, etc. I’m not a participant in facebook, but hopefully soon more can be added to this post- or an additional post can be written about OGD Tur. Thanks! Lisa
Such a fabulous project, and so great that you have celebrated the success of the community in a public forum. I was in Jama the week the poles were being painted and was amazed by the ernestness of the participants and the way this simple project transformed a street.
Yes, the participants amazed me as well!; with pride and seriousness, they embarked on their painting journey. Painting concrete posts is not an easy task, and they did it well! the spirit of cooperation was amazing, as was the community support. I often marvel at the level of excellence many amateur artists reach while using basic or inferior supplies. with better brushes and a few hours’ of formal nudging, they have the potential to fly!
I’m glad you witnessed that great collective spirit along jama avenue!
Richard Anderson said:
Very creative. Makes me want to visit Jama!
I suspect you’ll find your way to Ecuador one day! Z
C. Woodward said:
This is great Zee! Its amazing how a little art can transform a normally ugly object we simply tolerate because of their necessity into something we actually WANT to look at! Thank you! If you have more light poles to do, sign me up!!!
Thanks, Catherine! There’s a meeting this afternoon, and I will pass on your enthusiasm and your willingness to help! Z
What a wonderful idea! And to get everyone involved and give them a sense of pride and “ownership” and to make it fun and prove that art is not scary. Fantastic!
Thanks, Stephanie, and thanks for taking the time to wade through the older posts and sprinkling your ‘likes’ as you progressed! I can thank a beautiful image of a soft blue hydrangea for triggering this mutual respect! Z
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Si! Next weekend, El Matal! 🙂 Thanks, Z
Patty Grimm said:
We are planning a trip along the coast this month and our stop in Jama will definitely be enhanced by the beautiful art on the light poles!
Thanks so much for stopping by the blog; I hope that our paths will cross when you’re in the Jama area! See you soon?! Lisa/Z
How very cool. The idea and results are brilliant!
Thanks! Everyone did a great job, and this next weekend the nearby community of El Matal will be painting as well! Of course a new post will follow! Z
The El Matal event was great! here’s the first post:
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Sixtina Ureta said:
Gracias Lisa, que bonito recuerdo, ahora tenemos un nuevo proyecto juntas!!! tu expo en el Museo Bahía de Caráquez, tenemos que hacerlo!!
Muchas Gracias, Sixtina!!!! Ahora trabajando en una mujer valdivia de la museo bahia! 🙂 Lisa
I’m not sure who I need to thank, but the stats are racing to the heavens this morning! Good morning world!!!! Z
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Playamart - Zeebra Designs said:
Thank you so much!!! Z
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Esmee's Photography Blog said:
That looks like fun.
Good way to involve everyone!
What a fun and enriching event! And it all started because of you! 🙂
Playamart - Zeebra Designs said:
or because of sweet luchy who asked for feedback. he then asked, ‘when can we do this?’ and poof, he made it happen! while we had lunch, his assistant prepped the pole, and we returned and had fun!
Penny L Howe said:
How awesomely cool! That’s all, just awesomely cool! 🙂
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Sweet people. The town is surpassingly ugly, par for the course along the Pacific coast. The culture and charming towns and architecture are all in the highlands in Andean South America, and also in Central America and Mexico.
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Fragments of Light said:
wow, this is soooo cool!