All images courtesy of Arturo Sebastian Hidalgo
What I encountered at the Quetzal Art Fest in Pilsen was a beautiful merging of live, interactive art and community. Twelve large boards were positioned around a series of tents where artists sat with smaller works in a variety of styles and mediums.
It was a hot day, and down the street someone had opened a fire hydrant where children were playing. The festival was abundant with children. Even as I wrote this, three children were behind me bouncing balls off of the painted walls of the church-turned- community-center.
The church is known as The Resurrection Project , which has been hosting community-based events in Pilsen since 1995. The event was conceived by EXPO Collective , a network of artists that create community based art experiences.
In addition to live painting, Quetzal Art Fest had interactive activities such as a plush doll workshop lead by Naomi Martinez, a sticker workshop lead by Elizabeth Reyes, and a t-shirt screen-printing workshop led by Matthew Silva. People of all ages were participating and walking around with their creations. A live DJ set was provided by Trancid and Carlos Feliciano.
While participating in the screen-printing workshop, I spoke with Carolina Gallo, an event assistant, who said that Quetzal Fest “is about interacting with the youth to get them interested in art and to be a part of the community.” She introduced me to Ricardo Gonzalez, one of EXPO Collective’s creators, who informed me that the group hosts around one event every two months, ranging from interactive art to gallery shows. EXPO Collective wants to create an art experience for the community in any way they can.
The event seemed to be well organized and had an open atmosphere. Artists talked about their work while muralists put the finishing touches on their boards. It also seemed to be well attended, with many active participants. EXPO Collective has another event to be announced in July, which I plan on attending.