Arts Alive in Puerto Viejo

August 19, 2010

A celebration of the arts, education and culture is set to kick off tonight in the southern Caribbean beach community of Puerto Viejo, with Carnaval ArteViva 2010.

The Southern Caribbean Arts School (EDACS), which first organized the festival in 2006, this year has teamed up with the Puerto Viejo Development Association – as well as some 120 local businesses – to bring free concerts,art exhibits, theatrical performances, workshops and food and craft fairs to the community through Aug. 31.

Tonight’s inauguration, starting at 7 p.m. in Puerto Viejo’s Casa de la Cultura, will feature the opening of various exhibits by local and foreign artists, as well as a school band, street music and Caribbean food.Capping off the evening’s festivities will be a concert by Luis Angel Castro,the Costa Rican singer-songwriter who composed the popular song, “Puerto Viejo.”

Putting the carnaval in the festival’s name, a turno will be set up on the waterfront in the center of town for the duration of the festival, featuring amusement park rides, games, food stalls and Tico-style bullfights (where people are more likely to be hurt than the bulls).

However, the main focus of the festival will be educational, said festival organizer Claudio Ambroso, president of EDACS. Free workshops will be offered on topics such as alternative medicine, Caribbean food, creative techniques and bicycle painting, and all of the area’s local schools will be giving performances, ranging from traditional dances to puppet shows.

Each weekend of the festival will have a different “flavor,”Ambroso said. This weekend’s focus will be on the visual and plastic arts with the Casa de la Cultura’s art exhibit and fair, while the performing arts will make up the bulk of next weekend’s program. Highlights will include an indigenous theater performance based on mythological stories from the Bribrí culture and a theater piece entitled “Negra,” produced by the Spanish Cultural Center in San José. Puppet and circus shows for the little ones are also on next weekend’s program.

It wouldn’t be a festival without music, and ArteViva has plenty of it in store. In addition to tonight’s concert by Castro, electronic fusion duo Santos y Zurdo will perform next Saturday, rounded out by some of the area’s best local bands, including Plan B and Kawa Vibrations. All concerts will take place at Tex Mex restaurant or Johnny’s disco on the beach.

A full schedule of events is available on the festival’s website, www.arteviva-puerto viejo.com.

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