The Kalu Yala Blog

Via Argentina Hosts a Cultural Experience

October 4, 2010

by Cat Hay
Posted In: The Creation of a Culture, Voices of Kalu Yala
Travis, Catherine, Clay, and Lori at Dorado Rana Originally our plan for this past Saturday was to partake in one of the many exciting day trips Panama City has to offer. (See Kimberly’s related blog post on day trips.) However, after sleeping half the day away, we were happy to hear from Kimberly about the arts festival taking place in the city. Organized by the Universidad del Arte Ganexa and sponsored by Converse, the “Primer Festival de Arte Almas Urbanas” (the First Urban Soul Art Festival) literally took over Via Argentina—a busy street in the heart of the city.

After finally getting there (walking proved once again how illogical Panama’s infrastructure is), we settled down for a beer at La Dorado Rana, (the Golden Frog) while watching a local musician’s acoustic set. While listening to the beautiful guitar in the background, we reviewed the festival guide packet to see what exactly was going on. We found out that throughout the day various restaurants, bars, and cafes were holding literature, music, photography, and canvas art exhibits. We checked out quite a few of the different venues before coming across Andrés Bello park where the festival was centered—somehow the guide book managed to leave out the most exciting part! It was a melting pot of Panimanians—families, hipsters, teeny boppers, Kunas, hippies—and of course us tourists trying to blend in!

A large outdoor stage had been set up featuring different bands throughout the day. The sounds ranged from electro-pop to punk rock to reggaeton. In the park there were nearly 50 vendors selling and displaying art, food, and crafts. I had the most fun bargaining, using the little Spanish I know, with the jewelry vendors and ended up with some awesome eclectic pieces.

After doing some shopping, I stopped to check out the skateboard competition taking place in the park. Boys from the age of 8 to 18 were doing all sorts of tricks on the half-pipe. Next to the skate competition was a runway and a fashion show commenced following the competition. I watched as beautiful Panamanian woman walked down the runway sporting Converse and clothing using recycled materials by local artists. The festivities at the park ended at 7 p.m., while the restaurant exhibitions continued till nearly midnight. We lasted as long as we could before calling it a night. Overall, I thought the event was fascinating, and I really appreciated seeing the contrasts of American and Panamanian art and culture. I can see Kalu Yala hosting similar events in years to come!

Below are some pictures from the event!

Acoustic Set
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Skateboard Competition
Couch Graffiti
Painting Tin Cans
Giant Dreamcatcher

One Response to “Via Argentina Hosts a Cultural Experience”

  1. Emily says:

    We always love reading about your adventures, seriously great blog. Maybe one day your day trip can be to Isla Palenque (our Panama island property in the Gulf of Chiriqui). Right now its nothing but wild jungle and beaches, but one day soon it will be an eco luxury community. Thanks for sharing your journey, and contact us if you ever want to visit the island (