Downtown La Paz Just Got a Lot Brighter

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The downtown area of the city of La Paz has been filled with color, thanks to the project Ciudad Mural La Paz, where 30 collective murals have brightened up the city with the help of 27 national artists.

Ciudad Mural La Paz was organized by the nonprofit organization Colectivo Tomate, an independent Mexican group of artists. Colectivo Tomate has been working on mural projects for the past few years in cities across Mexico, including Puebla and Monterrey. They are using creative ideas to beautify cities and celebrating historical identities.

Colectivo Tomate believes that cities throughout Mexico can be improved through art. With colorful facades, smiling faces and picturesque landscapes, storied walls link communities as a collective effort towards sharing the identity of a community. The beautiful murals scattered across downtown are no doubt a representation of the history of La Paz.

Map of Colectivo TOMATE Murals located in downtown La Paz.Two months before the artists descended onto La Paz, an advance team from Colectivo Tomate arrived to La Paz to find walls and receive permission to paint murals on the streets of Independencia, Melchor Ocampo, Ignacio Zaragoza, Mijares, Mutualismo and Lerdo de Tejada, among others.

Once the artists arrived, they quickly collected narratives of the city from different sectors of the city including non-profit groups, youth groups, restaurateurs and local fisherman.

One of the artists participating in the Ciudad Mural La Paz was Fernando Martinez, originally from the State of Mexico. Martinez, a freelance artist, was selected from over 300 applicants after he sent in his resume and samples of his work to Colectivo Tomate.

Fernando Martinez painting a mural along Indepencencia in La Paz.“There are 27 of us from around the country. I saw a call for artists and sent in my work to Colectivo Tomate. They brought us here to La Paz a few weeks ago and we have been to visit Espiritu Santo Island, Balandra beach and other places representative of La Paz to get a feel for the environment and culture of the area. We have spent time with local groups to listen to stories.”

Inspired by local people and the natural, unspoiled environment of desert and sea, Martinez and his fellow artists spent two weeks taking in all of what they learned about La Paz and its people. They transformed those ideas into works of art. That art has captivated the attention of the citizens of La Paz and tourists alike.

“I tried to use ideas for me that are significant of La Paz. Many things are representative of La Paz, including the pericu, the whale, cactus, the local fisherman and their stories. I wanted to transform this knowledge of the area into my art to tell a story,” Martinez explained.

Using hundreds of liters of paint donated by sponsor Comex, the 4th largest paint manufacturer in North America, the streets of the downtown area quickly became alive with color. And people have become excited and attentive. The murals have already become hot tourist sites.

Hopefully, the new murals in La Paz will inspire more people to do something positive and constructive for the city. Perhaps the murals could become the detonator of more improvements to the capital of Baja California Sur’s downtown area that so badly needs a revival.

mural 2The purpose of the Ciudad Mural La Paz project was to generate spaces for interaction between people through the collective creation of murals that tell the stories of the community. That mission has been accomplished.

As there is no better way to move people together, than through art.

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