What changes time brings! You may remember the dusty Dirt Mall, from days gone by. It was a 2-block caliche road lined with small shops, variously known as the Cholla Mall, Shacks Fifth Avenue, or Rodeo Drive. Over the years Cúrios la Choya, as it is known to the Mexican community, has been paved and spruced up, but the current renewal of the area, in a project called Calle Bonita, is truly a joy to see. You know that old saying, “It will knock your socks off,” right? Well, this will knock your flip flops off!

Local business people Ellie Balderrama, Erick Plata and Eddie Wharez joined forces to form Innov-Arte Grp, an organization dedicated to organizing support for local arts, artists and aspiring artists, and to foster community involvement in the arts, as well as community pride. Calle Bonita was a competition in which artists were matched with outdoor wall space in Curios la Choya. Innov-Arte Grp. then found local businesses to sponsor artists, and paint stores to donate paint and supplies, as well as cash donors to help with prizes and miscellaneous expenses.

16 artists entered the competition, chose their own themes, and had a window of time in which to complete their paintings. The results are amazing iconic Mexican murals, all larger than life, everyone on par with the finest “big city” art. Curios la Choya has been transformed to an outdoor gallery, and should be on every visitor’s must-see list. Many of the artists are available for custom work – their names are on their murals on the street, and their phone numbers will be listed below.

Another project launched by Innov-Arte Grp. is “Sacudete,” a dance school located at #159 Suite E4 at the corner of Luis Encinas and Calle 16. Dance teachers rent space at very reasonable prices, and at 10 pesos per lesson, classes are affordable for all aspiring dancers, regardless of income, and scholarships are available through use of funds donated to Innov-Arte Grp. Donations to support the ongoing projects of Innov-Arte Grp. are gratefully accepted, and can be made in person at Diseños de Casa y Jardín in Curios la Choya, or by contacting Ellie Balderrama by email at EllieDeLaPlaya@gmail.com.

Innov-Arte Grp. wants to thank the participating artists, listed below, as well as the following sponsors: Farmacia del Mar, Global Artifacts, Samuel Arellano, Muebles Imperiales, Luvisa, Castaways, Dupon, Mr. Paint, Ipesa, Francisco Fernandez, Eco Fun Rentals, Long Realty, Robin Miller, Su Casa, Olympia Watson Events Agency, Sayer, Oceano Realty, Prisa, BuildRockyPoint.com, and Comex.

The artists invite you to visit Curios la Choya, lose your flip flops, then contact an artist to commission your own Diego Rivera-style mural! All phone numbers are shown as if being dialed from the USA.

Gloria Nuñez 011-521-638-113-4311

Club de la Abuela 011-521-638-834-7965

KD ReKuerdos email cdm_sk8@hotmail.com

Antonio Geraldo 011-521-638-386-1534

Raffa 011-521-638-116-7247

Yiyi Fembres 011-521-662-148-4280

Memuco 011-521-638-109-4977

Francisco Macias 011-521-638-125-0390

Other 011-521-632-324-1555

Vogar Azuna 011-521-638-105-9620

Mickey Espinosa 011-521-638-114-1500

Gaby Gomez 011-521-638-113-2878

Jordan 011-52-638-383-2165

Frio 011-521-638-125-1240

Bogarth Gomez 011-521-638-386-4023

Izrael Rios 011-521-638-106-0094