Resources for 360 Xochi Quetzal Writers

Ajijic and Chapala have long been a mecca for writers. Some of the famous luminaries include D.H. Lawrence, Neill James, Sybille Bedford, Somerset Maugham and Tennessee Williams.

For the last 40+ years, there has been an active writing community in Ajijic. In fact, it is the longest-running writer’s group in all of Mexico!

The Ajijic Writers Group is alive and well in Ajijic but has no formal status — officers, offices, web page, etc. The group meets on the first and third Friday of every month from 11am to 1pm on the patio of the Nueva Posada.  Visitors are very welcome and a very convivial lunch is available after the meeting. 

Current writers are from the U.S. and Canada, as well as a wide variety of English-speaking countries around the world. Occasionally but infrequently poetry or short stories are presented in Spanish.

The Lake Chapala Society (LCS) in Ajijic sponsors “Write to a Prompt” on Thursdays from 10am to 12pm: This is a drop-in writer’s group. Writers are given 45 minutes to write on a given prompt/topic. This is followed by time to read and share the writings. 

Visiting writers should know that the LCS Library is the largest English-speaking library in Mexico, maybe in Latin America; and that the LCS used book store is also the only real English language bookstore in the area — but several of the thrift shops on the Carretera also have large holdings of English language books.  https://lakechapalasociety.com/public/

The Monica Cardenas Galleria in San Antonio prints and sells “artists’ books” and small editions of poetry. The Galleria is an informal gathering center for Spanish speaking poets and writers in the area and often sponsors public readings to coincide with their openings.  http://galeriamonicacardenas.com/

Articles:

https://escapetoajijic.com/ajijic-writers/ 

https://www.chapala.com/elojo/245-articles-2019/march-2019/4523-the-ajijic-writers-group

 https://www.chapala.com/lakechapala/writers-at-lakeside/

Big News at 360 Xochi Quetzal! New Director and Beautiful New Location

How do you sell a residency?

In the Spring of 2022, after running the 360 Xochi Quetzal Artist & Writers Residency for 10 years, and as my art career began to take off, I realized that it was time to sell the residency. 

Being an international artist requires a massive amount of logistics and administrative work, and I needed to divert my residency responsibilities to someone else in order to make more time for my own increasing workload.

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Deborah Kruger is handing over the reins!

How, you may ask, can you sell a residency program since it’s not a physical object? What I had to sell are all the facets that make up a residency, and if you wanted to start from scratch, it would take at least a year and a lot of money to create the administrative foundation for a new program. What I had to offer was a turn-key operation that included the following components:

      •A well-established international residency

      •A comprehensive website and identifiable logo

      •Four social media platforms with active followers

      •A proven marketing plan that included a 10,000+ name mailing list that was developed over many years, integration               between the website/newsletter/database, one hundred listing websites (and a team member who knows how to post         them!) and memberships in high profile residency organizations

      •An international reputation and repeat business

Introducing Bethany Anne Putnam, the new Owner and Director of 360 Xochi Quetzal  Artist & Writers Residency Program

New XQ Bethany with necklace

Sometimes in life, the answer to a complex question is right in front of you. In my case, the new Director, Bethany Anne Putnam, was already a friend and colleague. She was also the President of the Artist Association of Lake Chapala (AALC) a regional artist association, that is now run with a leadership team approach.

When Bethany was voted in as the President in 2022, the organization had 125 artist members. A year later, after initiating bi-lingual meetings that made them accessible to Mexican artists, the membership had swelled to 320 artist members. Clearly this was a woman who could make things happen! Also, AALC already had numerous monthly programs including a monthly membership meeting, a monthly social gathering and an Art Market which is held at the Garden of Dreams Hotel.  The Market features over fifty artists each month and attracts crowds of over three hundred attendees. There are additional exhibitions and an annual Art Walk, which add great value to visiting resident artists.

And to put the icing on the cake, Bethany Anne Putnam was already managing the Garden of Dreams (GoD), a magical boutique hotel in Ajijic, just 5 miles from the Chapala residency location, and walking distance to many restaurants, art openings and local artists. To say it was a match made in heaven is an understatement. As you read this, Bethany and I are in the middle of handing over the proverbial baton and getting her team and the newly updated 360 Xochi Quetzal Artist & Writers Residency website ready to hit the ground running.

Handing Over the Reins

It’s never easy to hand over a project that you have started and grown from scratch. However, I have complete faith in Bethany to take the 360 Xochi Quetzal Artist & Writers Residency to the next level. She has already instituted a new program called Artistas Juntos ~ Artists Together. This monthly gathering gives visiting resident artists and writers the opportunity to talk about their work to an appreciative audience of other area creatives and the general public. 

Bethany has the administrative chops, the drive, the work ethic and the vision to bring new opportunities to 360 Xochi Quetzal Artist & Writers Residency. I look forward to seeing how she brings more visibility to the program in Mexico and beyond. She has already added many new programming options and envisions an increasingly diverse population of residents.

BIPOC Winner Rosa Leff
Resident Artists relaxing at thermal spa
Resident poet, writer, performance artist Pamela Sneed
Resident sculptor Michael Pribich presenting his work at Artistas Juntos

Many creatives have told me that they were on the 360 Xochi Quetzal mailing list for years and suddenly, everything conspired for making it the right time to attend. If that happens to describe you, I hope you will visit the new and improved website to see the lovely options for live/work spaces at the beautiful Garden of Dreams in Ajijic and hopefully find the right fit for your residency in 2023 or 2024. 

We are ready to give you an amazing residency experience! 

      -Deborah Kruger

PS – I am not going anywhere. I will remain available to Bethany to answer questions and be a sounding board for her ideas. My production studio in Chapala runs studio tours 1 – 2 times a month. I look forward to meeting you during your residency!

Resources:

The following links are to other creative groups that may be of interest to 360 Xochi Quetzal resident artists during their residency. 

360 Xochi Quetzal Website

Ajijic Museo de Arte

Ajijic Writer’s Group

Artists Alliance of Lake Chapala

Artist Trading Cards Ajijic & Lakeside 

Bethany Anne Putnam 

Deborah Kruger 

Lakeside Shutterbugs Photography 

Urban Sketchers of Ajijijc 

XQ and Garden of Dreams joining forces

360 Xochi Quetzal is excited to announce a new relationship
with The Garden of Dreams Boutique Hotel in Ajijic.

The Garden of Dreams is a small boutique hotel, located just blocks from the center of Ajijic. Formerly known as Los Artistas B&B, it is a haven for artists and the tranquil garden is a real attraction for the 360Xochi Quetzal Artist & Writers Residency.

The hotel is comprised of six rooms and two suites, each with a private bath. Each room is unique in size and décor and all of them overlook our stunning garden. All of our rooms are available for participants in the program and can be modified to meet your particular needs. Our sunroom is available 24/7 to our guests with fresh coffee, hot tea, snacks and fresh fruit. The sunroom has comfortable sofas for reading or tables where you can work or chat with other guests and resident artists. Deep-tissue massage appointments are available daily and we will be happy to arrange additional appointments for you, bringing self-care practitioners to the privacy of your room.

The Garden of Dreams is flush with sunny, grassy spaces and there are plenty of shady areas provided by the variety of indigenous trees that fill the garden. Seating areas abound, whether on the front terrace, in our cozy living room or under colorful umbrellas on the patio. On the north end of the property is a brick pavilion, which is perfect for working with a view of the garden, while under cover. Our koi pond and fountain offer the tranquil sounds of trickling water, the perfect backdrop for an artist or writer.

Our property is completely solar, including our pool, which makes for year-round refreshment. We are an eco-friendly establishment, sharing our coffee grounds with the vibrant garden plants. We manage a compost pile from our kitchen scraps and we are vigilant recyclers. Secure, off-street parking is provided and we are just three short blocks from the local bus route.

Our hotel is ideally located in a residential neighborhood but benefits from being just a few minutes walk from excellent restaurants, art galleries and is a mere six blocks from the plaza in Ajijic. A quiet retreat in the midst of colorful, Mexican village life, the hotel was called “One of the best, most relaxing lodging values in Mexico” by internationally- trusted Frommer’s Mexico 2001.

The guest rooms vary in size and depending on your chosen medium, we will work with you to be sure that your individual needs as an artist or writer are being met. Our two suites come with small kitchenettes and five of our remaining guest rooms can easily be outfitted with small appliances to create a kitchenette setting for you. It is our goal to make you as comfortable as possible, so you can focus on your creative work and make the most of your residency.

Being located in Ajijic, you will have the great fortune to get involved in many artistic adventures and become a part of this incredible community of creatives. Once a month the Ajijic Society of the Arts hosts its Art Market on the grounds of The Garden of Dreams. Over (50) artists show and sell their work, making for a great opportunity to meet other artists and network with them.

Art openings, special exhibitions, studio tours, writing groups, classes and presentations happen throughout the community. If you wish to be included, there are many ways to get you involved. 360 Xochi Quetzal and the Garden of Dreams will be collaborating every month to offer a salon series, Artistas Juntos … Artists Together. This series has been created specifically for the 360 Xochi Quetzal residents to share their work with their colleagues and the local community. You will be invited to participate and we hope you will be a part of the conversation.

Photo credits for these hotel photos: Tulasi Zimmer 

BIPOC Residency Spring 2023

XQ News

For the last 10 years, 360 Xochi Quetzal Artists and Writers Residency has offered hundreds of artists of varied disciplines the opportunity to enjoy a self-directed residency in Chapala, México.  Artists have been inspired by the beauty of Lake Chapala, the largest lake in México. Our website  has numerous testimonials about how residencies have taken their art to new places. 360 Xochi Quetzal has also attracted artistic people who have made  the Lakeside area of México their home. Truly, 360 Xochi Quetzal has become a center of innovative connection.

In commemoration of the 360 Xochi Quetzal Artist and Writers Residency’s 10th anniversary, a new residency program was announced: The Free BIPOC Residency in Mexico. Applications opened in the fall of 2022 to artists who identify as Black, Indigenous or Persons of Color. 

And the winner is.....

After a highly competitive jury process, we are happy to announce our First Place winner, Rosa Leff of Baltimore, Maryland. Ms. Leff is an award-winning visual artist who uses cut paper to illustrate scenes from the inner city. Cut paper is a traditional art form from many cultures, including Latino and Jewish, which along with being African American, are part of Leff’s multi-cultural identity.

Our Winner will spend one month living for free at a beautifully appointed live/work apartment on the grounds of the historic Hotel Villa QQ, a 20th century National Cultural Heritage site here in Chapala and she will also receive a $250 stipend that can be applied to airfare, food, or expenses. 

The Runners Up....

Our Runner-ups will receive a discount on registration for future BIPOC residencies. We will feature more about them on our social media over the coming year, so stay tuned!

Honorable mention goes to our First runner-up, Karen Miranda Augustine from Toronto Canada.  Her fiction and coming of age writing sample was extremely compelling and hard to put down. 

Our Second Runner-up was Annie McCone-Lopez from Manhattan Beach, CA. Annie creates a personal and contemporary narrative using traditional Mexican iconography. 

The aim of this new residency is to provide artists an opportunity to benefit from having uninterrupted time to devote to their creativity, without the normal stressors and distractions that come with daily life.  The Covid-19 pandemic, created a degree of havoc and disruption in everyone’s lives especially in Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities where treatment options were less available and the death toll much higher. Many residencies require some form of output by the resident artists. The radical component of the 360 Xochi Quetzal BIPOC Residency is that it encourages the key component of REST!

While rest is essential for everyone, it’s especially necessary for  BIPOC people.  We believe rest is a form of self-care, and a form of protest against a capitalist system that is often at odds with BIPOC and creative communities. Rest provides an opportunity to replenish our mental, physical, and emotional energy and to cope with the stress of daily life including relentless microaggressions suffered by BIPOC people.  It helps us to be more productive and creative, and to develop healthier relationships with ourselves and our community.  Rest helps us to restore our peace and balance, allowing us to approach our lives and our artmaking with a greater sense of clarity, resolve and purpose. 

We hope that our BIPOC Winner Rosa Leff uses this month in whatever way best supports her and her remarkable artwork. There is no pressure for her to complete anything. We support her choices to use the month to rest and recharge. And to deepen her artistic practice using all the resources at her disposal.

We will be telling you more about Rosa in forthcoming blogs and social media posts. Please make sure that you follow us on Instagram @360xochiquetzal and on Facebook at 360 Xochi Quetzal.

RESOURCES:

Winner/Rosa Leff in Visual Art
Website: https://rosaleff.com/
Instagram: @rosaleff   

First Runner-Up/Karen Miranda Augustine in Writing
Website: https://karenmirandaaugustine.com/
Twitter: @KMAugustine

Second Runner-Up/Annie McCone-Lopez in Visual Art
Website:  https://anniemcconelopez.artcall.org
Instagram:  @anniemcconelopez

Rosa Leff

Contact: Instagram Youtube Internet-explorer Rosa Leff, Winner of the first 360 Xochi Quetzal BIPOC Residency in Visual Art Rosa Leff grew up in an urban

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Karen Miranda Augustine

Karen Miranda Augustine, First Runner-Up of the first 360 Xochi Quetzal BIPOC Residency in Writing Canadian writer and mixed-media artist Karen Miranda Augustine was our

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Annie McCone-Lopez

Contact: Instagram WordPress Annie McCone-Lopez, Second Runner-Up of the first 360 Xochi Quetzal BIPOC Residency in Visual Art LA-based visual artist Annie McCone-Lopez explores her

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New 360 Xochi Quetzal Residency Opportunity

Free Winter BIPOC Residency in Mexico

To celebrate the tenth year of the 360 Xochi Quetzal Residency, we have decided to present a new residency option. Beginning in February 2023, we will be offering a Free BiPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) Winter Residency. In order to do this, we will revert to our original, competitive model, where applicants upload their applications on the CAFÉ (Call for Entry) portal.

On Sunday September 4th, our new BIPOC application will go live on CAFÉ.  The application period will continue until midnight on Sunday November 20, 2022. There is a 12-week window for sending in applications. CAFÉ is a well-established artist application platform. Applicants will need to set up a profile on CAFÉ in order to apply. Here is the link: https://artist.callforentry.org/festivals_unique_info.php?ID=10747
The Co-Director of the BIPOC Residency will be Sunya Folayan, a former 360 Xochi Quetzal resident artist. who like so many artists, fell in love with Chapala where she now makes her home. Sunya’s art practice uses indigo craft and ritual as metaphor for reclaiming cultural practices from the African diaspora for resistance, rest and restoration. Sunya is also a lifelong student of West African dance and percussion and she plays the instruments of the Jembe orchestra. Sunya identifies as a Black and Indigenous artist. In addition to heading up the residency jury, she will also create special programming for the BIPOC Residency.

While the application fee will generally cost $40, we will offer an Early Bird Discount that runs from September 4 – October 30, 2022. During that time period, the application fee will only cost $35. We encourage applicants to take advantage of this discount! (See Café Applications Help for details on how to apply this discount)

The winner of the new BIPOC Residency will receive a free live/work space for one-month at the Carriage House apartment at the Hotel Villa QQ, an historic compound in downtown Chapala, Mexico. The winner will also get a $250 stipend to apply towards airfare costs or meals during the Residency. The Hotel Villa QQ has partnered with the Residency since 2021 and dozens of resident artists have enjoyed their beautiful gardens, swimming pool, hot tub and other amenities. The hotel is just steps away from the Malecon, a park that runs alongside Lake Chapala, the largest lake in Mexico.

An ice cream pot is one for boiling seafood. It is commonly used for fishing, but can also be used to make other types of seafood. In this boiler, you can also store the medicine cialis 80mg to preserve their useful actions and this boiler can be bought on this website.

There will be other resident artists enjoying personal residencies during this timeframe and the winner of the BIPOC Residency will not only spend the month deepening their creative practice, but also have the opportunity to enjoy the international creative community in Chapala. As of this writing, there will be six other 360 Xochi Quetzal residents in February and March 2023 including visual artists from Vancouver and Nova Scotia, Canada, as well as the United Kingdom. There will also be a writer-in-residence from Los Angeles, CA.

Sunya’s vision for the residency:

“I see our new BIPOC residency as a refuge and opportunity to redress systemic racism by offering a tender place to lay down our burdens, reconnect with ourselves and our creativity in order to renew our sense of agency and purpose.”

To read more about the residency in Mexico, please click HERE. To apply for the 360 Xochi Quetzal Free Winter BIPOC Residency, you can access the application on CAFÉ:  https://artist.callforentry.org/festivals_unique_info.php?ID=10747
360 Xochi Quetzal Resident Muralist Shela Yu paints a mural on one of our residency buildings.
360 Xochi Quetzal Musician Kipp Kahlia is a social justice singer/songwriter