18th Annual De Colores Art Show will open for the last time Saturday

October 12, 2011
Santa Paula News

The 18th Annual De Colores Art Show will open for the last time Saturday, but as with other years the exhibit and sometimes festival has disappeared, it just might be back.

At least that’s what supporters are hoping, but according to the event’s founder this exhibit is definitely it. 

The opening reception will be Saturday, October 15, at the Santa Paula Art Museum, 117 N. 10th St., from 4 to 6 p.m. The show, which will feature the work of more than 40 Latino visual artists from throughout Southern California, will run through January 2. 

Founded by Santa Paula artist and musician Xavier “Big X” Montes, the show was originally staged in April to pay tribute to the late labor leader Cesar Chavez (and celebrate his birth date) and Dolores Huerta. In the good years De Colores included a one-day festival of music, dancing, food and folk art. 

There were a few years De Colores was not staged at all, or held out of town. But Montes always returned to Santa Paula, where De Colores debuted in the Santa Paula Society of the Arts Depot Gallery. 

As the exhibit grew so did the event. A festival was added when the display was moved to the Santa Paula California Oil Museum (SPCOM), with the music and dancing first held at Veterans Park and then later right on East Main Street. Last year the event was held in the parking areas between SPCOM and the art museum and drew more than 1,000 people who enjoyed musical entertainment, food and plenty of shopping opportunities with an emphasis on art, arts and crafts and collectibles.

Now Montes said he is still getting ready for the opening, sorting through “many works of art from the Los Angeles area, Ventura County... and I’m preparing for a nice little celebration,” a display of 18 years of De Colores memorabilia. “I’m going to lay out a table with all the posters - the first one, too - and flyers” that each announced De Colores was about to begin.

Montes added, “I’m pretty sure - like 98 percent - that this is it... I have to worry about paying my rent and De Colores takes so much time. I can’t even finish my own work to enter into the show!”

Of course with word spread that the show won’t be back, “So many people want to be in it... and it’s too bad” the strong enthusiasm for the event is not matched by funding. Montes, a city native who has been honored numerous times for his dedication to the arts, said he will remain artistically active: “I’m just not going to kill myself” organizing the major art show and festival.

Last year’s De Colores celebration also reflected the creation of the Santa Paula Art Museum, where Montes is a board director and which was publicized to be the new permanent home of the event. The museum also has a De Colores art collection, including Montes own painting - donated by former Marketing Director Carmen Guerrero - that became the event’s logo that evokes the spirit of celebration.

There will also be a closing reception for De Colores December 30, from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

The Santa Paula Art Museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays, through Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m. Sundays, and is closed Monday, Tuesday and holidays. Admission is $4 adults, $3 seniors, and free for students (with ID) and museum members. 

For information, call 525-5554, or email info@santapaulaartmuseum.org.

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