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)
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.
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.
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.
The event triggered an arts renaissance, and one artist continued painting after the competition was over!
Infectious enthusiasm inspired another competition in nearby El Matal. (See “GOT PAINT?”)
(Note the just-starting-to-vanish beach in the following photos)
Last year, a third competition resumed along the outgoing Avenue in Jama!
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!
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.