Meet the Mexican Art Gallery Owner Who's Helping Single Mothers Support Their Families Through Crafts

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A Dia de Los Muertos Catrina statue outside Patricia Mendoza Art Gallery in Cabo
Photo: Nina Ruggiero

Patricia Mendoza always knew she wanted to bring art to the masses.

As a kid, she tried her hand at everything from ballet to drawing, but in a small town like La Paz, Mexico, she could only take it so far. But she kept pushing, growing, and creating, until one day, as an adult she moved to Mexico City, where, she says, "it all started."

"There was art everywhere, in all the buildings, museums, and exhibitions," Mendoza told Travel + Leisure. "I had the opportunity to study the history of art and restoration, Aztec symbology, and everything related to it," she said, and not just at her university, but with any course that would come her way.

After a while, Mendoza began to both collect and sell pieces she discovered from local, up-and-coming artists, which is when she decided to move to San José del Cabo to expand her business.

"In the beginning, I did not want to have a gallery, instead I wanted to do exhibitions in public places and try to take art to the people of my town," she said. "I started at the foyer of the city theatre and hotels, but the response of the people was not what I expected, so I had no choice but to open the gallery."

Mexico, Mendoza says, is a country full of artists, but the challenge is to get tourists to see all the great quality works. "My other challenge," she said, "was to survive the weather and economic challenges, like the recession of 2008, the hurricanes, and more. I even had two floods in my previous location. It has been a journey, but it's been satisfying, too."

Mendoza finally found the perfect home for her eponymously named Patricia Mendoza Art Gallery in the Gallery District of San José del Cabo, which she calls the cultural heart of Los Cabos, a place where "you can enjoy the different expressions of many national and international artists."

As for what you can find inside, Mendoza said she typically seeks out works from relative unknowns, or finds them after viewing their works in nearby museums.

"I think that most of the artists that I represent have a distinguished style, each and every one of them," she said.

For example, Mendoza points to people like Luis Filcer, "one of the greatest post-impressionists," along with Martin del Campo, Jorge Marin, and Eduardo Mejorada.

To help artists get noticed, Mendoza created the "Art to Table" event in 2018, which is a one-night affair where she sets out a table for 20 inside the gallery and invites collectors and art lovers to sit with the artists, as well as a local chef and sommelier, so guests can dine, drink, and ask as many questions as they wish about the works.

"On our patio, we also host nights filled with poetry and music, book presentations, everything related to culture and try to show our traditions, our food, and rituals of course," Mendoza added.

But fine artists aren't the only ones Mendoza represents. She also displays crafts from different parts of Mexico created by single mothers from Puebla, Jalisco, and Michoacán, as well as pieces by Mexican designers that work with the Huicholes indigenous people. She also displays works by people in prisons in both Guadalajara and Sinaloa.

"I wanted to work with this part of our society that needs us more, of course, the list will grow, and we are planning to open a space on the patio of the gallery, especially with this purpose," she said.

"I am really excited with the new projects," Mendoza added. "After being confined for almost two years because of COVID, it looks like we will be back to normal life soon."

See more about her gallery, and which exhibits you can see on your next trip to Los Cabos, here.

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