Costa Rica has quietly been growing in the art world, but in recent years there has been even more of a developing art community. While this country is heavily influenced by Pre-Columbia art, artists that are indigenous and those that have elected to move to Costa Rica are producing new and exciting works of art. For them it is a world of art where they are breaking new ground.
There are more than enough museums in the capital of Costa Rica, San Jose. But another way of showing what their artists have achieved is by the artists themselves, displaying their art in their own environments, their homes and studios. There is a tour that takes you to 5 or 6 artist’s homes in a day’s tour. You get a chance to really experience the their work. You get to actually talk to the artists and find out about their process. If you are a creative person this can be a real inspiration.
Another tour is given by an Art Journalist, Jan Yatsko. I have always kept a journal and a sketchbook, but when I discovered art journaling my creativity was bumped up a notch. One type of art journal is a travel journal. Travel journals are also much like scrapbooks, using the bits and pieces of your trip on your pages and writing around them. Souvenirs like their highly decorated monetary notes, or the wonderful ticket from the local train or the menu from a favorite restaurant can be wonderful additions to your travel journal. I use sketches and watercolors, as well as photos a great deal in my travel journal.
Jan’s tours are quite different. She takes you into the jungle and shows you the beauty of Costa Rica and you make your own art. The flora and fauna of Costa Rica are amazing and dabbing paint around in bright colors is great fun. Mind you, this is not for everyone, but for those with an artistic nature this might be right up your alley. Jan teaches you portability in your art journaling kit and she has 8 years of experience in biking in and around Costa Rica. She takes you to beautiful locations to show you amazing things to draw and paint.
I have taken time at the beaches, rain forests and even the city to find sketch-worthy subject matter.
If you are not into actually “doing” art yourself, but are and art lover, there are offerings in the way of museums in San Jose. The . Housed on a gorgeous property, Museo Nacional or National Museum is worth the trip. Exhibits cover everything from history and cultural and has a large collection of the mysterious stone balls that are found all over the country. The Costa Rican Art Museum in San Jose is actually housed in the building that used to be the city’s airport. [I actually flew into that airport when I lived there as a kid.] It must make for a very interesting museum. There is also the Museo De Oro Pre-Colombino, which means Museum of Pre-Columbian Gold. This has a large display of gold cast into beautiful pieces. The presentation is fascinating and also shows the process with which the indiginous people made the golden objects. In the same building there is a coin and stamp museum.
In the capital there is a Contemporary Art Museum showing local artist’s work as well as a Children’s museum that is quite large and will take up a lot of kid time if you need it. There is also an insect museum, a snake exhibit, and a crime museum.
There is also wonderful indigenous art. If you go to www.galerianamu.com/map/ you will find a map of all of the tribes indigenous to Costa Rica. This map will show you the tribes local to the area of Costa Rica you will be visiting. I encourage you to look at their art and get your own piece of original Costa Rican Tribal art to take back home with you.
If you are looking to have a truly unique experience, stay for at least a day at the Finca Rosa Blanca. The owners, Glenn and Teri Jampol have created an artful environment. The architecture and décor is whimsical and the service is remarkable. Glenn is an artist himself and might discuss art with you. Each of the rooms is original and different from the others and comes with Jacuzzis and balconies. It is said that no window is square in the hotel and art treasures from around the world are to be found everywhere. The food provided is a 4-course dinner and it runs about $37 per person. While this is vastly more expensive than any other dinner venue it seems to be worth it in this environment. Throw caution to the wind and treat yourself to a dinner or two at Finca Rosa Blanca Inn.
As you can see, there is much to explore in Costa Rica. We have just scratched the surface! If you are interested in going on an art tour in Costa Rica, contact me.