“Salud”: A Toast to Puerto Vallarta’s Rich Heritage
Salud (Cheers!) – 2023 – Jim Demetro, on the PV Malecon
Ahhh, Puerto Vallarta! It’ll take you back to the days of almost-sunburns, sandy toes, and tasty tacos al pastor that you just can’t get enough of. Now, if you’ve never been to PV, let me tell you, it’s a place that sticks with you (I call it PV’itis). So, just when you thought you’d seen all its wonders, along comes Monday, June 5th, 2023. That day at 5 pm (isn’t that happy-hour?) vibrant Puerto Vallarta unveiled a new attraction with a wonderful new sculpture titled “Salud” (Cheers!).
This new bronze masterpiece by the renowned sculptor, Jim Demetro is located in the Romantic Zone and whispers (or shouts?) tales of the past. It is not just a new addition to the ever-growing open air gallery on the Malecon, but also a heartfelt tribute to the city’s rich cultural and historical legacy.
About the sculpture
First off, it’s a donkey. But not just any donkey. This one’s got a margarita in hand (or hoof?), looking like he’s about to share some gossip from the ’80s. And then there’s also a mouse, probably his wingman for the evening party. This “burro” (donkey in Spanish for those that skipped language courses in school) invites visitors to accompany him in the other empty seat (but, a little tip from the locals: maybe check the surface temperature first, especially under the Vallarta sun!) to have a drink along with the cute, tiny mouse.
Standing tall (and slightly tipsy) at 1.80 meters and stretching 170 centimeters wide, “Salud” is valued at a cool $1.5 million MX pesos and is the city’s newest art addition to the boardwalk open-air art gallery. The sculpture is set at ground level for better interaction with all visitors who want to get their photo taken with the donkey. Those in the know say it will soon light up at night. Talk about being the life of the party! 🙂
Looking for this perfect selfie spot? “Salud” is located right by Plaza Mar Condominiums, a few steps from Lazaro Cardenas Park and the corner of Lazaro Cardenas Street and the Malecon/Boardwalk extension south of the Cuale River. It’s also right in front of the traditional Burros Bar and Restaurant (feeling tempted?), on Olas Altas Beach and very near the most popular Los Muertos Beach some blocks further south. This spot is set to be the new “in” place. So, don’t miss out on this photo op!
The sculpture depicts a happy donkey sitting on a connected chair. The “Panchito” donkey, who used to drink wine with his owners while they kept him there, served as inspiration for it.
This interactive piece is not only a testament to Jim Demetro’s artistic imagination but also to his deep love and respect for Puerto Vallarta’s recent history.
The burro, an animal that is deeply embedded in the city’s past, they are a symbol of the city’s hardworking spirit and dedication. Donkeys have been a semi-silent witness to the town’s meteoric growth. From carrying salt to the Cuale mines to helping build the sets and lodging for “The Night of the Iguana“, these strong, noble, hard-working creatures have been an integral participant in the city’s development.
This piece is Jim Demetro’s way of saying, “Here’s to you, Vallarta!”
Unveiling of Salud/Cheers! June 5, 2023 (www.banderasnews.com)
The unveiling ceremony was graced by several local authorities, including counselor María Elena Curiel Preciado; the Director of the Vallarta Cultural Institute, Luis Escoto Martínez; Carlos Robles from the Civil Protection and Fire Department and Cesáreo Torres Ceja the Municipal Education Subdirector, among others.
This unveiling is proof that the city is committed to promoting the arts and culture, and along with generous artists like Jim Demetro, PV’s future in the arts looks just fine. This event wasn’t just about unveiling a new sculpture; it was a promise. A renewed promise that Puerto Vallarta’s commitment to the arts and its culture is as unshakeable as its love for a good fiesta.
Jim Demetro’s sculptures and Puerto Vallarta
Salud/Cheers! by Jim Demetro, unveiled in 2023
Jim Demetro’s connection with Puerto Vallarta goes deep. He has lived many years in the city with his wife. He has generously and graciously donated and created a growing number of beautiful and meaningful sculptures. These include the iconic “Vallarta Dancers“, “The Washer Woman“, “The Fishermen“, “Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton“, and “¡Ándale, Bernardo!“.
Vallarta Dancers, Jim Demetro
Each piece tells a very local story and captures meaningful elements that are the essence of Puerto Vallarta, its people, Mexican culture, the recent, and not so recent, history. As was mentioned in the unveiling, Jim Demetro’s sculptures are also a celebration of life, culture, and history. Every piece Jim has crafted seems to be part of his heart poured out in bronze.
Jim Demetro is a well-known international artist. James Michel Demetro was born in Battle Ground, Washington on November 18, 1942. He received many awards for his amateur works and decided to abandon his engineering career to pursue his dream of being a full-time sculptor. Since 1992, he has sculpted professionally and has created nearly 50 works of public art.
Jim also has an art gallery in town, Demetro Galeria, on Lazaro Cardenas street right by the park in the Romantic Zone in a shared space with the Cafe called “A Page in the Sun”. Artist Gallery Website: http://demetro.net/
Jim Demetro’s Art Gallery shares space with the A Page in the Sun Café
Together with his daughter Christina, they have created sculptures for several decades, with dozens of public installations of life-size sculptures. There are examples of his work in many public collections in different parts of the world, we already know those in Puerto Vallarta, but there are examples at the Sibelius Museum in Finland, at the University of St. Louis, at Fort Clatsop National Park and the Botanical Gardens of Na’Aina Kai in Hawaii. Among private collectors, we can include the singer Connie Stevens, the former president of the Nike brand, Phil Knight and, stars like Tom Cruise and Donald Sutherland.
Jim Demetro at the Demetro Gallery
Beyond his artistic contributions, Demetro’s love for Mexican culture and its preservation, especially, as he says, in a rapidly changing Puerto Vallarta, is something all the local Patasaladas (informal name for PV locals) find very valuable and heartwarming. His dedication and love for the city and Mexico is etched in bronze and will continue to inspire well into the future. Thanks, Jim!