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The Arts in Loreto: Lizette Inzunza is Doing What She Loves

By Jeannine Perez

The Arts in Loreto:  Lizette Unzuna is Doing What She Loves

We all see our worlds differently…each through his own unique lens of culture, beliefs and experiences. I recently interviewed Lizette Inzunza, a quiet, very talented woman who helps us see the worldviews of others through art.

“Juntos” by Lizette Inzunza

 

Lizette Inzunza is Directora of Social, Civic, and Cultural programs in Loreto. We gather on our Plaza for dances, gymnastics, music, holiday fiestas, food, and fun. The Arts become our answer to difficult times felt around the world and also here.

Exhibits in two rooms of our Municipal change each month; there have been more than 20 exhibits since our mayor’s election. No two exhibits are alike, ranging from abstracts escaping their frames to a seventeen year old boy’s intricate drawings, professional paintings done in vivid Mexican colors, and water colors by retired Americans who can still live in luxury. We shudder over violent Revolution paintings and smile over nature drawings done by school children. The ribbon-cutting ceremony, viewing of exhibits and simple refreshments are anticipated and well-attended. Strong art and the voices of people from contrasting backgrounds and cultures become windows allowing us to view the world through the eyes and passions of others.

Lizette has lived in Loreto since 1988, raising her son (also an artist), teaching classes, volunteering, and always, painting, painting, painting. She tells me she’s always loved art, but never dreamed it could become her career. On a science track, with chemistry her major, art was a hobby while doing something else “important.” However, each book margin and notebook was crowded with doodles and drawings. At graduation, ready to begin her science career, her teacher praised her art talent and said many available careers are open to talented artists. Lizette scoffed, but the next day, he brought her a list of art careers.

That teacher changed her life.

Lizette smiles, noting that she still struggles, while most of her classmates are now doctors or in science careers. However, she’s doing what she most loves to do….art.

"Entrega Absoluta" by Lizette Inzunza

At that time Lizette’s favorite subjects seemed to be landscapes and still-lifes, particularly those with chilies  She still enjoys painting them, but says her favorite subjects now are strong, capable women, and also she loves pangas (Mexican fishing boats), because, she says, pangas have souls and feelings, and she captures that as easily as the emotions in the women she paints. Some paintings of mermaids or angels, contrast darkness with light, and she did a series on the Mexican Revolution, and we felt the dangers and losses of that period.

I asked about her own favorite painting and which was hardest to paint. She said her favorite was of three angels (again, darkness vs. light). The hardest was begun several months after suffering a violent attack near the border, when she feared she might die. She didn’t cry and decided to paint the attack and her feelings, but began to cry, couldn’t stop, and couldn’t finish that painting. I remarked that perhaps it was complete, allowing her release of tears.

“Yo Elijo” by Lizette Inzunza: The Arts in Loreto thrive with her passion

My last question was about future ambitions and hopes. Lizette longs to travel, see and experience new things, while keeping her base in Loreto. Wherever she goes, Lizette will take along her gentle patience, sharing talents and visions, and always will impact the lives of others. Lizinsol@hotmail.com

 

Want to learn more about Loreto, its people and arts?  Find out where to stay and what to do in Loreto!

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Loreto’s Eco-Alianza: Ecology in Action

By Jeannine Perez

The attractive little blue and white building at Centro Paseo Miguel Hildago #67 houses an organization founded four years ago, when several people decided that there was a greater need for community involvement  through an organization that would encourage working together to conserve the natural resources and beauty of the desert, mountains, and sea around Loreto. This beginning came during a time of much local development, and a group of individuals were concerned about the impact of that development on the environment and fragile ecosystem of this area.  And so, Eco-Alianza was created.

The organization has initiated a number of activities and programs since its inception. It is involved with water quality and waste management projects, Earth Day activities, education for all ages, formation of Pescadors de Alianza (fishermen who are collecting data from the sea and sharing their expertise), outreach activities for families and young people, and research that empowers these young, their families, local fishermen, and others in the community to be heard by those who have the power to make and enforce environmental laws.

Edna and Gaby, who run the two-room office and give the children’s workshops, are beautiful young women with lots of energy and enthusiasm for their work. This enthusiasm is contagious.

I recently sat in on one of their workshops.  In it, boys and girls identified marine birds, learned about the animals’  habits, had contests, went on field trips, and ended by creating surprisingly professional paper mache birds from plastic bottles and lots of glue, paper, and paint (and much patient instruction).

Here’s what Edna and Gaby had to say about their workshops and the organization:

What ages are the children at your workshop, what is the cost to attend, and can you tell us about your most popular workshops?

Our youth education workshops are geared toward children 9-12 years old. The workshops are free, with materials and employee salaries covered by donations.  All of the workshops have been wildly popular for the children. The favorites are probably the camping programs “Camping Without Leaving a Trace” and also the one on “Sea Mammals.” It is hard for me to believe that many children who have lived here all of their lives have never before been in a boat, on an island, or seen dolphins or sea lions.  The cost of a boat trip to Coronado is too much for many families’ budgets.

What are the greatest needs if Eco Alianzia? Can you tell us about some of your upcoming project? 

We are always in need of funding for more environmental programs. Future plans include forming a club for young people who have formerly been in classes, with the idea of maintaining continuity and then growing our own mentors/helpers for future programs. We also plan to create an online magazine, hopefully with a new page for each of the four seasons, with the goal of giving a voice to the people of Loreto (including our  young people).  This program would become a forum to air views and write about  many issues: problems, current research, solutions to problems, dates for planned activities, and it would give everyone a chance to participate and speak. We also hope that it could help instill a sense of pride in all the natural beauty we have here.

What is the hardest thing you do? ( I had my own idea of that, having stayed to help clean up after the workshops busy with pasting and painting birds, but they did not mention clean-ups. )

The waste management concerns and programs are currently the hardest to deal with, because  Eco-Alianza has been embroiled in setting up the necessary groundwork, which takes time, and does not quickly show the progress made.

We ended our conversation with enthusiastic hugs and promises and Edna summed it all up when she said that “for our young people, this is so important.  You cannot love what you do not know.” The education program has already touched the lives of many young people (and their families, who are often included), and I sense a growing awareness of pride and sense of ownership of the beauty here in Loreto.

For more information on the organization and its activities, visit the Eco-Alianza Facebook Page, or contact them at 52 (613) 135-1900.

Have you experienced an Eco-Alianza workshop or event? Share your comments with us!

 

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Loreto’s Art Cooperative: A Modern Fairy Tale

By Jeannine Perez

Sand painting by Co-op artist Antonio

Once upon a time, nine spirited women and men watched jobs decrease and hard times spread in their village of Loreto, Baja. The group discussed the need to encourage art and creativity in Loreto, how to add beauty and inspiration, and ways to showcase the talents hidden here. People living on remote mountain ranches were searching for outlets for their handmade leatherwork and art. But was this the time to start something new? There was no money, but the cooperative took off.  the members called themselves Misioneros del Arte.

Loreto’s Art Co-op can be found on the north side of the Plaza in Loreto. It has a unique wood and leather sculpture outside, a sign noting classes offered, and is open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4 p.m-7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Many cities have art galleries. Step inside ours.  Watch the entry; the first step is high, and is missing a big piece of floor tile. We find all kinds of art for sale: angels, masks, sand paintings, leatherwork, shell sculptures, wooden birds, and mermaids with twisted serpentine hair. The second room is a classroom, painted orange with two windows, tables, and shelves of recycled materials unavailable in stores. Classes are offered (three or four each week), constantly changing, and using recycled materials found naturally in the area. Paper mache birds, angels, mermaids and fish are created from discarded tortilla wrappings.

The future of this little place? Everyone hopes for expansion. This requires more materials, and funding, but if success continues, government grants are possible. The co-op wants to involve the community, sharing ideas and inspiration.

Women with small children tell me that this co-op gives them choices and opportunities; they learn skills while making salable items, earn income while remaining home with their children in a kind of cottage industry, and they also say that watching their parents make art that is valued has influenced their own children. Co-op art is art therapy, art as expression, and shared ideas. The mood here is, “Look at me! Art helps my heart and soul.”

You can visit the Loreto Art Co-op at Centro Historico Loreto BCS, Tel. 613 118 2977 or contact them at

 

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