There are some amazing things happening in the Tijuana art scene at the moment.

After a few dark days of cultural depression caused by the drug wars and a huge decline in tourism, it seemed like the city was in a downward spiral.

But then something amazing happened.

With no tourists left to please with promises of nudie shows and $10 all-you-can-drink specials, young people took advantage and rebuilt their hometown. Up cropped a slew of art galleries and creative spaces focused on local artists – 206 Arte Contemporaneo, Pasaje Rodriguez, TJ in China and many others.

Proof of Tijuana’s art world re-emergence is clear in the success regional artists have found at the 14th Annual Biennial of Visual Arts of the Northwest, on view at the Tijuana Cultural Center through Oct. 5. Six Baja California artists were either finalists or honorable mentions in the juried exhibition.

“It is clear that something very exciting is happening,” Armando Garcia Orso, deputy director of exhibitions for the center, told San Diego Red.

This past weekend I stopped into Pasaje Rodriguez to watch a poetry reading while sipping on coffee from a shop located in the artistic alleyway running between Calles Revolución and Constitución. It was all very bohemian. When I asked a random guy walking around with a guitar where I could find another nearby gallery, he asked, “Why? Is there something going on there tonight?”

Visitors and locals alike feel the thirst to experience cool, engaging art. Something very exciting is happening, indeed.

You’re reading the Culture Report, Voice of San Diego’s weekly collection of the region’s cultural news.

New Art Space in the Barrio, TJ in China and More Visual Art News

• Does looking at awe-inspiring art work tend to make your stomach grumble? Well, a new Tijuana tour has the remedy – art and food tours that take you to awesome emerging spaces in the city with a few pit stops for delicious TJ grub along the way. (San Diego Red)

Barrio Logan sprouts another gallery space. Acá will host to art shows, poetry readings and other small-scale events. (CityBeat)

• Al Jazeera America shares the work of Mely Barragan and Daniel Ruanova, founders of the TJ in China, an exciting, border-related art project that took them to China to create artistic collaborations.

• Santa Monica-based KCRW gave Art Produce’s current exhibition “The Fence/La Barda” an e-high five, and discussed the way in which the female participants presented their work.

A house isn’t a home until it’s an art space. That’s at least the case for Rancho Santa Fe art collector Tom Sergott. (CityBeat)

• Apparently, Yelp studied 61 million reviews and came to the conclusion that San Diego is No. 2 in its list of “Top 5 Artsy Cities,” right under Austin. We’ll get you soon, Austin. Oh yes. We’ll get you. (Gigaom)

Now that border waits have been cut down drastically (U-T), make a trip to Tijuana and catch sculptor Fernando Mendez Castillo’s breathtaking metal exhibition, “Construction in Fragments.” (San Diego Red)

Ragtime, Trolley Dances and More Music and Performing Arts Goodies

• A musical devoted to the man who brought us ragtime is coming to us from the Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company. Writer and star Robert Barry Fleming talks about the production and Scott Joplin with KPBS.

• The San Diego Trolley Dances step into its 16th year bigger and better than ever. (U-T)

• UC San Diego actors are taking Sam Shepard’s play “True West” out of the theater and into the blazing hot desert sun for a fascinating, immersive theater experience. (U-T)

The Centro’s Woes, Liberty Market and More Culture Stuff

• The Centro Cultural de la Raza has had a lot of issues the last few years, and they don’t seem to be going away. CityBeat reports on the cultural institution’s issues with funding, organization and feathered headdresses.

• There was a lot of hope for the San Diego Public Market in Barrio Logan. Many people thought the space – set to be San Diego’s own Pike Place Market with fresh, local produce, artisan goods, tasty handmade food and more – would help reshape the neighborhood it stood in. It didn’t work out. Picking up where it left off are plans for Liberty Public Market, which CityBeat reports will take up a 22,000-square-foot space at Liberty Station in Point Loma.

• The San Diego Opera’s 50th season is in full swing. COO Keith Fisher is joined by performers Ailyn Perez and Stephen Costello to discuss the opera’s rocky year and promising future on KPBS.

• Will the U-T become Papa Doug-less? (Voice of San Diego)

Alex Zaragoza is a freelance writer covering arts and culture in San Diego and Tijuana. She also writes the column "There She Goz" for San Diego CityBeat,...

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