The Lake Chapala Society (LCS) celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Children’s Art Program (CAP) with the October 25 opening of a retrospective show tracing the history of the free workshops that helped forge successive generations of lakeside’s native artists.
The exhibition is housed at the Centro Cultural de Ajijic and will remain on display through Thursday, November 6.
The exhibit is made up of 130 original paintings produced by local children in the art classes originated by the late author-philanthropist Neill James. The works are displayed in different sections, categorized according the decade in which they were created.
A special area is dedicated to the memory of three women recognized for their dedication and leadership: James, the U.S. travel writer who settled in Ajijic in the 1940s and made her mark by fostering education, artistic pursuits and cottage industries in the backwater fishing village of yesteryear; Angelita Aldana, an Ajijic native who dedicated nearly three decades to supervising reading and art activities at the public library founded by James; and Mildred Boyd, the expat who spearheaded the revival of art workshops at LCS in the 1990s.
On view upstairs is a complementary exhibit showcasing contemporary works by various local artists who owe the development of their talents and careers to the James legacy.
It was a sentimental occasion for the numerous CAP protégés, volunteers and supporters who appeared at the opening. Among them were long-time CAP volunteer Richard Warmoski and honored guests Lizz Drummond and Judy Boyd, whose late mother played such a vital role in perpetuating the program and preserving of hundreds of works created over the decades. While delighted to see the children’s art on public display, they share an ardent desire to find a permanent home for the collection that represents Ajijic’s history and cultural heritage.
“It should be shown, not boxed up in a storage room,” Warmoski remarked. “We need some angels.”