Grand Plaza Outlets

VINCENT OSUNA FILE PHOTO

This year holds many bright things, including the return of the Art Walk on the Border. The event returns to unite the community with local artists and vendors at 6 p.m. Friday at the Gran Plaza Outlets.

In its originality, the event was created to bring together the Calexico community in a manner that celebrates art. Local magazine “MiCalexico” and Art Walk on the Border creator Angel Esparza says, “The idea was developed by Roxana Pacheco, and she single-handedly created the first art walk, which was at the Carmen Durazo Cultural Arts Center.” However, the event has since grown from its first roots at the arts center to a popular festivity at the Gran Plaza Outlets, even attracting people from Calexico’s sister city Mexicali.

Now, because of its large turnout, the gathering serves to provide a venue for artists and vendors alike, something that is beneficial for small businesses. “These past art walks have given my inner artist a boost in confidence,” says Michelle Gutierrez, a Calexico artist and craft maker. “Aside from the profit made from some of my work, just seeing the awe in people’s faces makes me feel as though I’m capable of doing great.” For many artists the art walk is about bringing together artists and community, not making money.

This time around, however, there’s a twist: a stop light motif. This means that attendees will be assigned bracelets the colors of green, yellow and red according to their preference. The colors are symbolic, green means the person is single and open to talking, yellow means the person is looking for friends, while red means the person is taken. “Since it is near Valentine’s Day it seemed like an appropriate theme, and also to facilitate people meeting each other,” says Esparza. Now the art walk on the Border will not only unite the community, but it will get its members to interact with each other.

Because of its uniqueness, the event is something the community can always look forward to. An array of artists (and art forms), artisanal crafters and food vendors guarantee a good time for all those looking to attend. Calexico High School senior Kenia Barraza says, “Calexico is very limited so we should take advantage of every opportunity we have to appreciate the arts.”

The Gran Plaza Outlets are located at 888 W. Second St., Calexico.

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