Those who claim that Oaxaca is Mexico’s capital of art do not exaggerate. Once you have explored its workshops, museums, and galleries, you know that from — and on! — the streets of the city, art springs up like a waterhole. While the artistic life is represented by an institutional structure made out of museums, subsidies, and public institutes, it is clear that the backbone of so much creativity lies in the self-managed efforts of the city’s artists.
There are dozens of artist-run spaces and galleries that complement and amplify artist voices outside of an institutionalized context. It is thanks to their work that Oaxaca is known internationally as a cradle of art. Below we present a curated guide of artist-run spaces and galleries that have surprised us in Que Pasa Oaxaca because of their unique ways of promoting art and culture. We hope our small sample encourages readers to go in search of even more artist-run spaces in a city that never seems to grow tired of recreating itself.
TALLER HOJA SANTA
Hoja Santa is an art workshop dedicated to the production, exhibition, and dissemination of women’s graphic artwork. Its mission is to make their expressions visible by generating local, national, and international interaction and recognition. The space is run by four women. It was born from the founders’ constant questioning of the lack of female-created artwork in the state capital. Therefore, they decided to create a space in Oaxaca City where collaboration, expression, and production could be fostered and shared with both the artist community and the public.
Address: Porfirio Díaz 400-B, Centro, Oaxaca
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 10am – 8pm
Galería Resplandor may be the only artist-run gallery in Oaxaca City dedicated exclusively to the exhibition and dissemination of photography. Two artist women founded it in September 2015. They have directed the gallery with a marked verve to promote the photographic migration in Latin America as well as in Europe and the United States. Their broad photography collection (on which a curatorial essay was carried out last year to celebrate Resplandor’s second anniversary) is the result of this brief, but intense work of photographic management.
Address: Constitución 100 A, Jardín el Pañuelito, Centro, Oaxaca
Hours: Monday to Friday 10am – 2.30pm and 5.30 – 8.3pm, Saturdays 10am – 2.30pm
Espacio Centro is an artist-run cultural space dedicated to the exhibition, dissemination, and promotion of diverse artistic manifestations created by the youth of Oaxaca. For three years now, it has held exhibitions of plastic and visual arts, magazine presentations, workshops, dialogue tables, talks with artists, performances, theatre plays, poetry jams, and film cycles. There are currently plastic and visual art exhibitions every month, as well as poetry and rap jams periodically.
Address: Boulevard Eduardo Vasconcelos 204 A, Centro, Oaxaca
Hours: Monday to Wednesday 5 – 8pm, Thursdays and Fridays by appointment
ADORATORIO CASETA DE ARTE Y DISEÑO
Adoratorio Caseta de Arte y Diseño is a newer artist-run space that bets on emerging artists and cultural dissemination in a very peculiar way: from its location based in the heart of the Benito Juárez Market. From that puesto – a small space filled with energy, surrounded by the traditional bustle of the market – it seeks to promote new artistic and design proposals through exhibitions and workshops. It also serves as a launch point for the young artists who participate, create, and exhibit in their programs.
Address: Ricardo Flores Magón Caseta 117, exterior del Mercado Benito Juárez, Centro, Oaxaca
Hours: Monday to Saturday 9am – 8pm, Sunday 11am – 5pm
Photo: Rafael E. Lozano
Tingladography (“the image thief”) is an artist-run gallery focused primarily on retrieving and manipulating “found, anonymous, popular, or vernacular” photographs. Among its activities, it periodically schedules exhibitions where national and international artists are invited to intervene with some of these photos to create mix media art-works. After five years of curation and exhibitions, Tingladography expanded last year into a larger space and is also actively expanding its artistic explorations. It has amassed a careful selection of graphic work and painting that lies next to photo-sculptures, negatives, snapshots, silver-gelatin reproductions, postcards, and books.
Address: García Vigil 212, Centro, Oaxaca
Hours: Monday to Saturday 11am – 2.30pm and 5 – 9pm
ESPACIO ARTÍSTICO XICOTÉNCATL
Located in an old house within the historic center of Oaxaca, Espacio Artístico Xicoténcatl is an artist-run space focused on art training, production, and exhibition. It is run by a group of artists from different disciplines, whose objective is to promote their work and that of other artists who share a non-linear language. It is a multidisciplinary project that comprises exhibitions, concerts, guided visits to artists’ studios and workshops.
Address: Xicoténcatl 303, Centro, Oaxaca
Hours: Monday to Friday 10am – 2pm and 4 – 8pm, Saturday 1am – 2pm