San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica Gears Up for International Arts Festival

At a press conference held recently at Casa Presidencial and hosted by President Oscar Arias, organizers released details of the 11th International Arts Festival to be held April 11-20 in San José, Alajuela, northwest of the capital, and the Pacific port city of Puntarenas.

The event was first held in 1989, during Arias’ first term as president. This year it will again showcase the best of Costa Rican theater, poetry, music and visual arts, and host 70 international figures from 20 countries.

Grammy-winning group Editus, singer Adrián Goizueta and the National Dance Company are among the more recognizable national figures appearing at the festival.

Spanish singer Rosario Flores and Argentine improvisational music group El Choque Urbano are two of the standout foreign performers.

There will also be appearances from French dance company Retouramont, Spanish Flamenco group Antonio El Pipa, Salvadoran writer José Roberto Cea and other renowned figures from around the globe.

The People’s Republic of China will be the specially invited guest country. A “Chinese Pavilion” will be set up in western San José’s La Sabana Park, featuring performances of traditional Chinese art forms such as Beijing opera, a form of traditional Chinese theater that combines music, vocal performance, mime, dance and acrobatics.

Asked by The Tico Times why China should be so honored, given its poor reputation in areas of freedom of expression and human rights, Vice Minister of Culture Aurelia Garrido said, “President Arias personally invited China.”

“Cultural exchange is a way to encourage dialogue and to get to know each other better,” she added.

The pavilion will be on a “Boulevard of the Arts” in La Sabana Park. This “festival within the festival” will be a focal point for the week’s activities.

“I am convinced that the more we evolve as a society, the more our arts will develop, and vice versa,” Arias said.

“The International Arts Festival is for everybody,” Culture Minister María Elena Carballo announced. “The ministry calls on all Costa Ricans, from all social, economic, religious and cultural backgrounds, to enjoy the arts from around the world, including those from our country.

“Everyone, go celebrate in La Sabana!” For more information and a schedule of events, visit and see the Calendar pages.


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