Guadalupe Rivemar Valle is a pragmatist. As director of Tijuana’s Sala Anguiano for the last three-and-a-half years, she’s seen how few people find time to stop by the downtown gallery to see the drawings, paintings and etchings of artist Raúl Anguiano. For Rivemar, it posed a problem, one that could easily be solved by taking the art directly to the people instead.
“Anguiano was part of the Mexican muralist movement,” Rivemar said as she navigated her way through the busy streets of Tijuana in her small, shiny red car. “Muralists have this tradition of taking the art to the people and to the streets. They believe that art doesn’t have to be seen in a gallery; it needs to be seen in the city.”
“I would die just sitting in the gallery,” Rivemar confessed. “I would die if I stayed inside of my gallery waiting for the people to come.”
Last year, Rivemar packed up some of the 62 pieces in the gallery’s collection and hit the road. She toured Anguiano’s work through Tijuana’s universities and even staged one exhibition in the lobby of Agua Caliente Racetrack. More people were seeing the art, but not enough. She was missing one huge and critical sector of the city’s population—Tijuana’s thousands of factory workers.
The idea to tour a fine-art exhibition through the maquiladoras, or manufacturing plants, across Tijuana came to Rivemar during last year’s Tijuana Innovadora conference. The event, which set out to introduce a quickly changing city to the rest of the world, brought bigwigs like Al Gore, the founders of Twitter and Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón together with leaders from the Asociación de Industria Maquiladora (AIM) and other movers and shakers in Tijuana.