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Local artists seek to Beautify Ajijic, Lake Chapala

By Kristina Morgan

Imagine a world without art. If it weren’t for artists, music would not be played. Songs would not be sung. Food would be bland and uninteresting. Our homes, offices, cars, shopping centers, theaters, museums, and such would be dull and colorless. Performance art would not exist. Life would be grey, difficult, and tasteless. Earth without art is just “eh.”

I recently heard from Ted Shaw, local expat and writer, about a group of Mexican artists who are getting together to clean up and beautify the Ajijic malecón or boardwalk.

With the pandemic, a volatile US election year, and some businesses closing, 2020 has been a difficult year for many of us. However, as it often happens adversity is also an opportunity to bring out the best in us and show that we are greater than our circumstances.

I was so impressed by what is happening here at Lake Chapala that I jumped at the opportunity to write about the Beautify Ajijic project. 

Ted Shaw agreed to show me what they’re up to in Ajijic. Shaw is married to Ana Romo Shaw, one of the artists involved in the project.

Ted says, “There were several of us talking over tequila one night after the pandemic shut-downs began and we said, ‘There are a lot of artists that are hurting right now. We’re artists and we’re hurting. What can we do, as a group, to help artists survive under these restrictions that are being forced on us?’ And we began to brainstorm. Out of that, we decided to do something that combines our skill and talent with something everyone in the community can enjoy.”

And that is how the Beautify Ajijic project began.

 

Currently, there are four artists involved in the project who are cleaning debris and lirio (water lilies) along the malecón, and beginning to paint vibrant murals over dirty walls with tired graffiti. Ana Romo Shaw and her husband, Ted Shaw; Ana’s brother and local muralist, Juan Romo, jeweler Cesar Matta, and local artist and muralist Rocio Vera make up the team of individuals dedicated to making a difference for Ajijic, and for all our local artists.

There’s a lot of passion in this team! As Cesar Matta put it, “Small changes make a big difference, right? This is our project to change our malecón in Ajijic. We began with just words and many troubles, but after 6 months of the pandemic and some other problems, we are working to do more than just a mural. We are watchers of how reality changes with will and some work, how the hearts of people move in ways that we never believed could. Ajijic is just the beginning and after this we can work in other pueblos at Lake Chapala. Contact us and come join us!”

Undoubtedly, this is a passion project and the heart of it is inspiring during a year when so many have struggled. Even the Mexican Government saw their work and donated some paint. But supplies are short and the artists are relying on donations from locals to continue. GoFundMe was set up to contribute to the team of artists but that has since gone by the wayside as GoFundMe doesn’t operate in Mexico.

If you would like to get involved or contribute funds toward the Beautify Ajijic project, email support@anaromoart.com  or contact Ted Shaw on Whatsapp/phone (331-892-8150) or visit Ana Romo Art Gallery located at Ocampo 22 in Ajijic or donate directly on the Malecon in Ajijic when you see their chalkboard sign and the artists working.

Thank you, Team Beautify Ajijic, for your vision and hard work to create something that benefits us all!

Imagine a world without art. If it weren’t for artists, music would not be played. Songs would not be sung. Food would be bland and uninteresting. Our homes, offices, cars, shopping centers, theaters, museums, and such would be dull and colorless. Performance art would not exist. Life would be grey, difficult, and tasteless. Earth without art is just “eh.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kristina Morgan
Kristina has lived and worked in Mexico and the Lake Chapala area for over 17 years. Three of her four children were born and raised here, and are now living north of the border. Kristina is an Unlimited License General Contractor, as well as a Real Estate Broker and relocation specialist currently working for Lake Chapala Real Estate in Ajijic.  She has codirected an info-tourism group and loves writing about her experiences in Mexico.