Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - For more than a decade, Galería Pacifico owner, Gary Thompson has been offering free, guided Tours of Puerto Vallarta's Malecón Sculptures. During the tours, people are able to offer donations that are directed in their entirety to support Los Mangos Library's cultural and academic programs.
Some improvements to the very popular tour have taken place in the last few years. For example, Kevin Simpson, who owns Colectika, a fine Mexican folk art gallery, has joined the project. His vast knowledge about the Huichol culture is essential to help visitors understand the meaning of the seemingly abstract symbols that adorn the Malecón's pavement. In addition, Thompson and Simpson are frequently joined by sculptors Jim Demetro and Mathis Lidice, whose sculptures are also part of Puerto Vallarta's impressive public sculpture collection.
Despite the huge interest Puerto Vallarta visitors have had on this popular activity, invariably, many of them do not complete the tour. "Quite frequently, regardless of the number of people that take the tour, some 50 percent of participants drop out halfway through, due to the heat, or the length of the tour," explained Thompson in a recent interview. "While many folks that drop out usually leave a donation for Los Mangos, it is a lesser amount compared to those that take the whole tour, reward themselves with a cold beverage at Galería Pacifico, and have the opportunity to meet Los Mangos representatives personally, and thus offer a larger donation."
Starting Tuesday, November 14, Gary Thompson's Malecón Sculpture Tour will begin at 9:30 am, as usual, by Mathis Lidice's sculpture Los Milenios, next to the Rosita Hotel. Kevin Simpson will be along to explain the Huichol symbols along the Malecón. The new Morning Tour will be condensed, however, continuing only as far as Alejandro Colunga's La Rotonda del Mar installation, and ending at nearby Galería Pacifico. "This means that the Morning Tour will now end around 11 am, instead of noon," he explained.
Then, starting on Thursday, November 16, a brand new Sunset Sculpture Tour will begin at 6 pm at Galería Pacifico, heading south towards Lazaro Cardenas Park, and ending at sculptor Jim Demetro's brand-new gallery/workshop space across from the park.
"This new tour will allow us to get a closer look at Jim's amazing works, several of which are installed around the city, including Lazaro Cardenas Park," Thompson said.
It's worth mentioning that the new Sunset Sculpture Tour will be suspended on Thursday, November 23, in celebration of American Thanksgiving Day, but will resume the following Thursday. Both tours will continue on a weekly basis until mid-April, 2018.
As before, all proceeds collected during the sculpture tours will be directed in their entirety to Los Mangos Library. "I think it is an amazing project," commented Thompson. "As a non-profit organization, they receive next to no support from the local government. In addition, I think it's important for all of us to give back to our community. I am very mindful of this, given that I've enjoyed more than half my life in this wonderful city."
Last season, the Malecón Sculpture Tours raised $44,667 pesos (less than $2,500 USD) for Los Mangos Library, an amount that barely makes a dent in the institution's annual operating budget. However, both Los Mangos and Thompson are hoping that this amount will increase this coming season with the new and improved sculpture tours.One of the first galleries to open its doors to the public in Puerto Vallarta, Galería Pacifico will celebrate its 30th anniversary on November 24, 2017. For more information about the Malecón Sculpture Tours, please call Galería Pacifico at (322) 222-1982, or visit them online at GaleriaPacifico.com.