Across La Paz, San José del Cabo, and Todos Santos, the five-week-long event connects an international roster of creatives with the living histories of its host cities

As it traverses three cities, the inauguration of Art Baja California remains rooted in locality. Though the art it boasts centers both regional and international creatives, the festival itself is distinctly tied to the communities hosting each iteration. A variety of public spaces will feature exhibitions, screenings, discussions, and live performances, promoting the work and their surroundings in equal measure.

“We’re focusing on the local scene through ‘Lo Local,’ a part of the festival that seeks to promote spaces and projects established in La Paz, San José del Cabo, and Todos Santos,” explains one of the festival’s founders, Zélika Garcia. “[It’s designed to] foster the development and promotion of [each] local artistic community, as well as celebrating its culture and talent.”

Jose Davila

The project is ideated by Garcia, founder of ZsONAMACO, Latin America’s leading contemporary art fair, and supported by cultural visionaries Tansy Kaschak, editor-in-chief of the future-forward travel platform A Hotel Life, and Paola Castelo, founder of Vuelta Sur, an endeavor aimed toward building relationships between creatives to illuminate the history of Mexican art.

“Baja California Sur is a unique place where the desert meets the ocean, and ancient cacti thrive side by side with unexpected, lush palm tree groves. Be it art or other creative industries like hospitality, projects in Baja are aimed at a slower pace of living, and are deeply connected to the land,” says Kaschak. The program, which spans five weeks, leans into that meditative attitude, encouraging among its artists and visitors an awareness of local ecosystems and communities.

Rachel Garrard

That encouragement of presence isn’t necessarily limited to the span of a visit, as each city carries histories that feel alive, permeating into the here-and-now. Says Castelo, “Mexico already had a thriving and vibrant arts scene, but this influx of creativity and capital [brought on by the country’s open borders during the pandemic] awakened a fascination that derives from that tremendous, live artistic force that Mexico has exercised.”

ABC Art Baja California will be held from March 10 to April 23.