Arturo Márquez Returns to Santa Ana

Jesús Arturo Márquez Navarro, a UCLA Regents’ Lecturer and Fulbright Scholar, studied music at Cal Arts, the Conservatorio Nacional in Mexico City, and with Jacques Castérèrede in Paris, France. He has enjoyed worldwide praise and success for his symphonic danzones with orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel. One of his most recognizable works, Danzón No. 2, is a favorite of numerous orchestras and is heard on the Mexican film Arráncame la vida.

World-renowned Mexican composer Arturo Márquez returned to the Santora in Downtown Santa Ana on the evening of Friday, December 16th. Maestro Márquez’s visit was in part a send off for the gallery that hosted him. MC Art Gallery and Studio announced that it would close it’s doors on December 31st.

For five years MC Art Gallery and Studio exhibited artwork from artists of international repute including sculptures by Felipe Castañeda and paintings by Sergio O’ Cádiz. Maestro Arturo’s visit was the third to the gallery. His first visit was a small and intimate gathering with gallery owner Moisés Camacho, the Maestro’s daughter Lily, his brother Jorge, Joseph Hawa, who is another painter in the Santora, and I.

On April 15 of 2011 the Maestro returned and was presented to those in attendance through a more formal reception involving a brief lecture and discussion with him, followed by a mixer. A video recording of that interview is available by clicking here.

On this, his third visit, artists involved with the gallery and friends came together to receive the Maestro and to reflect on the gallery’s past. A discussion opened up with Voice of OC reporter Adam Elmahrek in which the gallery’s past exhibits were mentioned. As Adam jotted down notes, the topic of a lack of an arts council in Santa Ana came up. The argument was made that the City does not do enough to support the arts. There was talk of a former “Santa Ana Council of Arts and Culture,” which has been dead and buried for years now, with no visible presence anywhere in anything having to do with art in the Downtown, much less around town.

The Maestro’s visit was also an opportunity for Santa Ana artists to brainstorm and plan for the future. Newly appointed Santa Ana College Chamber Orchestra Director David F. López attended and was introduced to Mr. Márquez. Plans are underway to perform a piece of Arturo Márquez’s music at Santa Ana College next year, and at the Downtown as well. A festival was conceived of, one that will integrate participating Santa Ana schools and the Downtown.

Moisés Camacho’s gallery was a creative space where a confluence of artistic ideas took place. The space allowed for the forging of new ideas. Our city’s artistic future will have benefitted from this place, it was like an incubator. The community’s benefit will be a product of the artistic energies that took place there. It will be sorely missed and it may be extremely difficult to have another place like it. This is how it will be remembered.


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