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planning an art tour - suggestions?


feewee

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Thinking about doing a little travelling outside Lake Chapala area (Morelia, Patzcuaro, Merida, Oaxaca ? - we really haven't narrowed it down yet) to see the sights and hopefully buy some interesting local art - paintings, sculpture, ceramics etc. Any suggestions for specific towns, galleries, or artists would be very much appreciated. Names and locations would be great. Or any good websites or books that you could help us determine our itinerary. We've got a long list but would love some advice/insider info.

gracias!

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The Feria Maestros del Arte in Chapala, Nov. 13 - 15, would be a good starting point for you. You'll meet quality artisans from all over Mexico, make connections with them and then you can visit them in their homes on your travels.. The show will also help you decide which branches of artesania interest you.

The list of this year's artisans is here:

http://www.mexicoartshow.com/2015maestros.html

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Second that. The Feria is one of the best collections of the best art in the country. Another would be the national show in Pátzcuaro around Day of the Dead. Near Pátzcuaro is Capula for some of the best pottery and the home of the best Catrina art. Oaxaca of course for rugs and alebrijas. Puebla for talavera pottery. This, of course, is just a partial list. Sorry, can`t name specific artists.

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Just got back from Oaxaca Stayed at Casa de Linda, look it up. Linda brings the artists from Oaxacs to the Feria and she will take you to all their homes and workshops. One of the best art experiences we have had in Mexico. I highly recommend her.

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If you are going to Michoacan I have several suggestions that are not to miss places.

Cuanajo is a small town that specialises in wood furniture. Everything from Rustic to extremely detailed colonial and baroque styles.

Pichataro is similar but mostly more detailed furniture.

Santa Calara de Cobre is great if you are looking for copper. Sinks, trinkets, trays, etchings, bathtubs. Much like the Copper you will find in San Miguel de Allende but a fraction of the price.

Uruapan is another great place and the national park there with the gardens and waterfalls is not to miss.

These are all very close to Patzcuaro.

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Your first foray might be a circle tour as follows: South side of Lake Chapala villages, Rt 37 down to Pachuca and the Volcano site with a couple of nights in Uruapan for local flavor and the national park. Then the libre toward Patzcuaro with a stop at Tingambato for the pyramid & other ruins, before turning off at Lake Zirahuen for lunch. Then the lakeside back road for an afternoon in Santa Clara de Cobre and The highway from there into Patzcuaro, where we liked the old hotel San Rafael on the larger town square. After a couple of days in and around Patzcuaro, head north to Tzintzuntzan and towns beyond, even a hot spring, before going around the south side of Lake Chapala toward Guadalajara and the highway south to Chapala. Plan a week for this. Look at a map and you will see lots of other side trips you could take from this route. We repeated it and guests loved it.

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I`d add to RvGringos tour: Erongicicuaro (on Lake Patzcuaro) for fine embroidered cotton textiles, Capula just off the lake, Izhuatzio for finely made straw animal figures (have to ask in town for the family that makes these).

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The San Rafael in Patzcuaro has been the go-to hotel for many expats mainly because they have parking and are right on the Plaza Grande. But I stayed there last March and it was horrible. I saw 3 rooms before I would accept one and then the water from the shower ran all over the bathroom floor. They need a serious remodel and maintenance before I would stay there again.

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Your first foray might be a circle tour as follows: South side of Lake Chapala villages, Rt 37 down to Pachuca and the Volcano site with a couple of nights in Uruapan for local flavor and the national park. Then the libre toward Patzcuaro with a stop at Tingambato for the pyramid & other ruins, before turning off at Lake Zirahuen for lunch. Then the lakeside back road for an afternoon in Santa Clara de Cobre and The highway from there into Patzcuaro, where we liked the old hotel San Rafael on the larger town square. After a couple of days in and around Patzcuaro, head north to Tzintzuntzan and towns beyond, even a hot spring, before going around the south side of Lake Chapala toward Guadalajara and the highway south to Chapala. Plan a week for this. Look at a map and you will see lots of other side trips you could take from this route. We repeated it and guests loved it.

Do you mean Paracho, the guitar town in the state of Michoacán? Pachuca is in the state of Hidalgo.

To see a lot of artesania in one place, go to the Day of the Dead fair in Patzcuaro BEFORE Day of the Dead. You'll see crafts from all over Michoacán without the crowds and have your pick of the best pieces.

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Oops, I did confuse the two names, as I once knew someone from Pachuca. I did buy a guitar in Paracho; the guitar was beautiful when played there, by the salesman, but I just could never make it sound the same. What a disappointment. I must avoid such temptations, even though I sold it for a very good profit to one who could make it perform.

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I`d add to RvGringos tour: Erongicicuaro (on Lake Patzcuaro) for fine embroidered cotton textiles, Capula just off the lake, Izhuatzio for finely made straw animal figures (have to ask in town for the family that makes these).

Capula is more than "just off the lake." It is on the highway from Quiroga to Morelia (closer to Morelia,) at least a 30-40 minute drive from Patzcuaro if you are going by car. To go by bus you would have to change in Quiroga to a bus going to Morelia and you would get off the bus on the highway and walk down into the town. Capula is the place where the clay Catrinas originated. They also do beautiful "punteado" pottery there.

If you go at Day of the Dead time visiting the villages will not be very fruitful as many of the artisans will be in Patzcuaro at the fair.

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I would highly recommend staying at Hacienda Ucazanaztacua on Lake Patcuaro. www.haciendaucazanaztacua.com

The place looks lovely although pretty spendy. Where exactly is it located? Is it closer to Tzintzuntzan than to Patzcuaro? I strongly recommend La Casa Encantada right in the center of Patzcuaro, just 1/2 block off the plaza grande. Excellent location for walking to get to know the town and to a lot of different restaurants with a variety of menus.

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Muchas Gracias everyone! I just logged in for the first time since posting my question to find this ongoing vibrant discussion about the treasures of Mexico! You all seem to love art and Mexico and are enjoying the conversation...I like that my question got you reliving your adventures and art discoveries.

I am going to spend the weekend researching your advice and planning this out...I am quite revved up! I have been to the Feria several times and love it - always have to make a couple of extra unplanned trips to the bank machine for a "must-have" piece of art. (in fact it was that first trip to the Feria as a visitor that sold me on Ajijic as my second home). Unfortunately I may have to miss it this year. I find am quite intrigued with the idea of travelling and discovering artists in their own studios/homes/communities. It just seems to enrich the whole appreciation of the art. I like the idea of an "art tour guide" - one of you mentioned this and that sounds ideal. So thank you again for your advice and sharing your experiences. I thought you would like this: Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life - Pablo Picasso

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If you are interested in Latin American art tour by one of the best, you couldn't go wrong to meet up with Gary Thompson in Puerto Vallarta. He has made Latin American art his life since the late 1980's. His gallery, with information about art tours and art walks here:

http://www.galeriapacifico.com/

Here are some trip advisor reviews of the free art walk.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g150793-d152490-Reviews-Galeria_Pacifico-Puerto_Vallarta.html

Also Galleria Dante while you are in Puerto Vallarta

http://www.galleriadante.com/

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I see you are from Canada, You will remember the Canada Council and the C.B.C - which have now been stripped to almost nothing. Well in Mexico this public funding of the arts is still very strong, in fact many Mexican artists, musicians, actors, etc. depend on it. They also sponsor many international performers, exhibitions and art shows. All this occurs in mostly state Capitals or University cities. It is often not the best the world has to offer, but the price is sure right! The best point of contact for all the events is the "Casa de Cultura", most cities and towns have one - even Chapala. Many of them advertise events through Twitter or Facebook. There is such a eclectic mix, it will be hard to choose. The price is low enough that you can sneak out if you are bored. Or have a nap - Mexico is that sort of place!

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There are many art galleries on Colon in Ajijic. One exceptional one is Sol Mexicano, which has all sorts of Mexican art and photography (some done by me, Jill Flyer).

For local art in general, you can't beat Oaxada. There is every kind of art available, from alebrijes (painted, sculpted fantasy animals) pottery, masks, rugs, catrinas, textiles... you name it, Oaxaca has it. The Feria will be here in November, but frankly, even though it is a 3 day affair, there is only enough "stuff" for a one day's entertainment. And, despite what they say, the prices are higher than in Oaxaca.

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