A Space for Community in Mazatlán

March 10, 2012

There is a wonderful thing taking place in Mazatlán – the birth of a different kind of community space downtown.  The vision is a gathering spot for locals – Mexican, Canadian, American, full time or part time – everyone. Spanish speaking or English speaking (or those, like me, who are a hybrid!)  The new venture – El Recreo – is being developed in the old Recrea space on Calle Constitución between Venus and Niños Heroes.

This space became available at the end of February and a cooperative venture between Hector Peniche of Molika Bakery, Laura Medina of Casa del Caracol bookstore, and Mazatlán Film and Theater started to take shape.

Hector Penich of Molika Bakery will have a coffee stand in the front room.  That’s the room pictured at the top of this post.  There will be a variety of seating which will be available for everyone’s use.

Laura Medina of Casa del Caracol will occupy the space just behind the front room.  There will be children’s books in Spanish and hopefully a variety of books in English, too. (She isn’t closing her existing bookstore, she needed more space!)

Mazatlán Film and Theater will have the space formerly used as a workshop.  It will hold around 65 seats.  We are currently looking into the various options for seating but there will most likely be a combination of fixed and moveable seating to make the space more versatile.

The plan is to have a comfortable place for people to meet, have a cup of coffee and browse the books.  Or bring your book and sit a while.  Maybe play a game of chess or meet a friend for a chat.  There will be room for meetings and workshops.  We expect that the theater space will be used for not just play readings and movies but also lectures and presentations.  There is a smaller room (the former office) that will be available for meetings as well.  We expect El Recreo to be well used by children, too.  Casa del Caracol has regular story times for children that Laura will be hosting here.  She may even have some need for volunteers to help with occasional story times in English.

We believe that once people start understanding what the space is about everyone will have great ideas for presentations and lectures.  Perhaps your musical group would like to give a recital?  Want to give a presentation on photography or nutrition or art? We would like to have regular art exhibitions to showcase local artists, too.  We’re excited also about the possibly having discussions after the movies, and also to be able to run movies more than one night (or day) per week.

There is a special Art Walk taking place on Friday, March 23, 2012 as part of the International Week.  Everyone is invited to visit El Recreo, have a glass of wine, see the space, and hear what our plans are.  There is more information on the Mazatlan Film and Theater website. Of course there is going to be some fundraising going on to improve the infrastructure and set up the space for movies.

I hope you are as excited about this development as I am.  There is lots more to read on the Mazatlán Film and Theater website. See you on the 23rd!

Disclosure: Paul and I are members of the Mazatlán Film and Theater steering committee.

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More about Nancy

I'm Nancy, a US expat living in San Antonio Tlayacapan, Jalisco after 11 years in Mazatlán, México.

    1. This is so exciting! An idea whose time has come.

    1. Wonderful when a dream comes to fruition. Hurrah…I am there in spirit.

    1. Wonderful. Good luck expanding the community there… who knows some day I may just be a part of it as I am a huge fan of Mazatlan.

      stay adventurous, Craig

      1. Judith, You are so right!

        Zoe, It is energizing everyone, very exciting.

        Craig, yes, it is wonderful, I am sure we will all learn a lot and make a lot of new friends along the way. C’mon down anytime, of course!

    1. This is so exciting. It is inspiring to see the commitment already to the space and the ideas for it from the community. With this sort of energy, it has to be a success!

    1. Good idea…BUT… Where is the funding coming from? It would appear that it is a purely commercial venture between la Casa del Caracol and Molika Bakery. If this is NOT the case, with volunteer funding carrying the load, why were other commercial companies not given the chance to BID on the commercial space being provided?

      Please answer, as this is a serious question.

      1. Ingrid, I DO agree!

        David, I hope you’ll go to the MazAct website and read about it in more depth. There is some commercial venture involved, but both Laura and Hector are committed to making this a space that is well used for cultural activities and promoting interaction and a sense of community. For Hector, a native Mazatlecan, this is the fulfillment of a altruistic desire, for Laura it is a wonderful improvement – nice space to use for her activities for children, and gives the parents waiting for the children an interesting place to wait and chat. For Mazatlan Film and Theater, it represents the possibility of expanding from our one night per week movie to much more – including whatever the community can dream up. MazAct is responsible for its third of the infrastucture improvements and in making the theater a viable space.

        This was not put out to bid – it is a cooperative venture between three people/organizations with like minded purpose, friendship, and a desire to continue some of the same successful pursuits that Recrea had started. I am very happy to be a part of it.

    1. Isn’t it wonderful when people some together for the benefit of the entire community? Thank you for giving of your time and energy.

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