San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Arte Viva to Liven Up Puerto Viejo

The southern Caribbean town of Puerto Viejo is set to come alive with a sensory feast next weekend, Sept. 29 through Oct. 1, with the Arte Viva 2006 Festival of Music, Arts and Gastronomy. The first-time event plans to bring together a whopping variety of live music, artwork and handicrafts and culinary delights.

Near the town cultural center, the streets will be closed to vehicular traffic and dozens of restaurants will offer food from booths. Inside the cultural center, artwork, sculpture, photography, graphic design, ceramics, mosaics, glasswork, handicrafts and poetry will be exhibited by local and international artists.

Friday night is rock and reggae night, with an art exhibit and abundant opportunities to satiate your appetite. Saturday will begin with an agriculture fair followed by an art exhibit, food fair and a night of salsa and Latin jazz. Sunday will include theater groups, dance groups, an art exhibit and Calypso Night, with Papaya Music presenting its newly released CD, “Calypso Limón Legends,” featuring renowned Costa Rican musicians Manuel Obregón, on piano, and Manuel Monestel, on banjo, backed up by calypsonians from Limón (see sidebar).

Bands will be playing at multiple venues during the weekend, and street performers are part of the festivities as well. The multicultural southern Caribbean community is coming together and pulling out all the stops for what is expected to be the biggest event ever seen in the area, supported by more than 80 businesses, the nonprofit Southern Caribbean Society of the School for the Arts (EDACS), the Southern Caribbean Tourism Chamber, Puerto Splash music event promoters and the Municipality of Talamanca.

Throughout the weekend, musicians, artists and local chefs will be giving free workshops on painting, dance, instruments, bread and pizza baking, Caribbean cooking, glass making, massage, handicrafts and more. These workshops are intended to become a permanent part of the extracurricular educational opportunities offered to those living in the Puerto Viejo area. The festival will serve as a launching pad for the workshops, which are designed to bring attention to the artistic soul of the southern Caribbean region.

Admission is free; however, donations are needed to ensure that the educational component is a permanent addition to the community.

To open doors to those without resources, people in need of scholarships will have first preference as workshop participants.

For more information or donation instructions, call 750-0507 or visit


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