San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Art Walks

Artist's vision thrives in Tres Ríos

Tres Ríos, east of San José, is a little off the beaten path for many San José dwellers, but not for those who have discovered that the town is home to a cultural sanctuary filled with beautiful art, delicious food and wonderful people. This special place is called the Taller del Artista (The Artist’s Workshop),and its owner is the well-known artist Cali Rivera.

Rivera, 45, who is also a musician and actor, was born in Tres Ríos; he told The Tico Times that he wanted to be an artist ever since childhood. He began this “creative project,” as he calls it, at the age of 17, when the roadside building housed his art studio. In 1998, he opened his creative space to the public, and then in 2000 transformed it into an art gallery, later adding the restaurant and bar area.

As the project has evolved, Rivera has achieved success around the world. He has participated in art exhibits in Poland and this year will form part of the art triennial in the Textile Art Museum of Riga, Latvia. Even though he has gotten an important worldwide recognition, Rivera remains a simple man and sticks to his principles, filling his artwork with passion, love, and the beauty of nature.

To sustain his work, Rivera sought to find a way in which he could support himself in order to travel to other countries. The Taller del Artista has been part of this strategy, but the business also has a broader concept in Rivera’s daily life: it is his biggest art piece, bringing together people from all over the world and uniting art in many forms. Even chef Peter Mobus, who has worked with Rivera at the restaurant since its opening, is an active participant in the artistic vision of the establishment. Mobus, of Germany, works with Rivera to create food that is aesthetically pleasing as well as delicious.

“I believe that art is the language of the spirit,” Rivera told The Tico Times in a recent interview. “I work with the idea of transmitting a message and that is what really draws my attention. Art is based on its spiritual part rather than the economic area.”

Taller del Artista, Tres Ríos, on the old road to Cartago. For more information visit Cali Rivera’s website

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