If you appreciate beauty, you’re in the right place, Puerto Vallarta renowned for both its stunning natural setting and an abundance of creative energy that manifests in a wide variety of intriguing art forms found nowhere else.

Initially drawn to this part of the world because of its beauty, which uplifts and inspires all of us including creative types, we soon realize it’s deeper than that. Vallarta has an ineffable magic, a subtle energy that stirs the creative potential of everyone it touches, surprising many. And it’s wonderful to witness how it changes and enriches lives. We’ve got senior citizens picking up a paintbrush and, to their profound delight, blossoming creatively for the very first time. We’ve got artists avidly collected around the world now living and producing their best work right here. And then there are people like me, and perhaps you, who may not create masterpieces, yet are open to the transformative power inherent in art conceived from the heart.

Invigorating, with nothing stereotypical about it, the art scene here is constantly evolving and offering new perspectives to explore – at considerate prices that make it possible to own what particularly moves us. And it’s refreshingly democratic, our dynamic public art inviting young and old to pause and enjoy it, many pieces worn to a silky patina by those connecting with their primarily marine themes reflecting the beach resort lifestyle we’re privileged to have. Even when we eat out here, we’re surrounded by original art and sculpture in many restaurants, their owners astutely perceiving that creative cuisine alone does not a fine dining experience make.

Naturally, we’ve got a wonderful selection of traditional and contemporary Mexican art that’s every bit as vibrant as this colorful country. But just about every genre you can think of – magic realism, naif, impressionism, abstract, art deco and much more – awaits discovery, as do creations reflecting the spiritual proclivities of the homogenous Huichol Indians living high in the surrounding Sierra Occidental.

You can also find the best folk art that’s made in this country. And it’s a distinct pleasure learning the stories behind these masterfully handcrafted pieces because invariably they’re metaphors for aspects of this fascinating culture. And the diversity is incredible, skeleton dolls, ceremonial masks, whimsical winged creatures and other one-of-a-kind objects enlivening homes up north with memories of this part of the world.

We’ve got more world-class galleries here than anywhere else in Mexico outside of the capital. So, why not see for yourself the beautiful bounty they present, a caliber of art comparable to that found in long-acknowledged art centers like Paris and New York, yet with a soulful flavor indigenous to this very special place. And a highly recommended way to introduce yourself to our local scene – and have fun and free cocktails while you’re at it – is to join an Old Town Art Walk in El Centro, held alternate Wednesdays 6 – 10 pm from October 27, 2004 to April 13, 2005. Now in their tenth year, these regularly scheduled events have become an integral part of our cultural and social calendar, so popular they have spawned similar events in other parts of town. On these evenings, a dozen participating galleries within walking distance of one another open their doors to the public, introducing their featured artists and inviting you to check out their latest works, as well as that of the other national and international artists they represent.

A nice thing about it is that you can gypsy between the galleries at your own pace with no one rushing you because the tours are non-guided – although a very detailed guide, including a route map and specific gallery information, is readily available at the City Hall tourist office and at each of the 12 participating galleries. So, you can start and end up wherever you want, whenever you want. Of course, the galleries are open for you to visit anytime, and my suggestion is that you take advantage of all the Art Walk offers to give yourself an overview of what’s available, then return to whichever galleries particularly appealed to you at your leisure.