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luchy cafe net 01

Many of you will remember the extremely-popular (It Started With One Light Pole) post from 2012 that circulated round the world – more than once! Several periodicals pointed readers to this community project that was triggered by one lone light pole.

Just last week someone else featured this community event – (And did not ask to use my photos!) – I refrained from scolding them about using my photos, since this was about the locals in Jama and not about me.  The more the world read about those artists and about the positive things happening in Jama, the better.  Right?

For a refresher, see IT STARTED WITH ONE LIGHT POLE. (2012)

It Started With One Light Pole

It Started With One Light Pole

Looking better!

Looking better!

"It Started With One Light Pole"

“It Started With One Light Pole” – (Remember this view!)

One year later...

One year later…

I’ve enjoyed watching Luchy transform his petite little building into a work of art, and we sometimes smile and say, ‘It started with one light pole.” That lone post triggered two years’ worth of urban art.  I witnessed shy insecure young artists bud into confident ones.

But something is amiss this week, and I’m struggling with warring emotions. 

Luchy and I were quite pleased with the results!

Luchy and I were quite pleased with the results!  See “It Started With…And Kept Going”

We were honored and surprised when the local tourism director, inspired by the brightly-colored post, sponsored a painting competition for the entire stretch of incoming Jama Avenue!  Novice artists joined seasoned ones and literally painted the town with color!  52 posts smiled with designs that honored the pre-Columbian icons of the Jama Coaque Indians.

0 DAY next luchy assistants

Individual artists worked on some posts, while the collective energetic groups worked on others.

P1470333 great sonrisa

—Remember Angel’s smile…. You’ll be tested soon…

blue day one shadows

This almost-new post provided a blank canvas for inspiring smiles and happy art!

0 day last cevallos youngest

How can one not smile when witnessing this budding Picasso-ette?!


Two willing assistants waited at the prepped post! (Note the young lad on the left side of the post; you’ll be tested later!)

Choosing between participating or encouraging the others, I walked from one end of Jama Avenue to the other, all day every day. On the second day, people began to ask, “Why aren’t you painting a post?”

On the third day of the competition, I selected a post near my friends’ home and painted a design from an artifact in the nearby museum.

P1470903 lovely dade

Opting not to compete, I photographed others critiquing the colors and design.

0 an afternoon of judging 13 rycardo critiques

The event triggered an arts renaissance, and one artist continued painting after the competition was over!

Jose Luis in Garrobo Tree - See 'The Highest of Arts."

Jose Luis in Garrobo Tree – See ‘The Highest of Arts.”

Infectious enthusiasm inspired another competition in nearby El Matal.  (See “GOT PAINT?”)

(Note the just-starting-to-vanish beach in the following photos)

P1520862 PAULINA deEl Matal

0 P1530470 GOT PAINT

red P1530456 GOT PAINT

green P1520840 maestro detail


Last year, a third competition resumed along the outgoing Avenue in Jama!

P1730268 concurso june 2013 jama brian

Imagine my dismay when I returned to Jama after last week’s meeting at El Matal, and I noted that something was wrong along the incoming stretch of Jama Avenue.  My friend Leslie, who was driving me back to town, chuckled and said, “Call me if you end up in jail.”

I was quite upset!

P1950298 9 posts

(Remember Angel’s smile? Where is that post that put that smile on his face?

My young assistant is two years taller!  But wait; something's missing in this picture!

Remember that young lad?! – My young assistant is two years taller! But wait; something’s missing in this picture!

P1950299 9 posts

Jama Avenue has lost its soul!

P1950324 light posts

Only the scars remain.

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I left a note on Luchy’s door….  I understand the need for new posts, but couldn’t they save or showcase the old ones?

Look again at the first image at the top of this post; the pole was in good shape and surely didn’t need to be replaced!   There were many others in equally-good condition.

P1950291 9 palo santo post

What is wrong with this picture?

I'm having trouble 'letting go."

Am I the only one who is offended by the removal of this urban art?