Galeria de Arte

Upon the wall art becomes windows to somewhere else …

View of Galeria de Arte from the Plaza, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Galeria de Arte was in the building to the left as seen from the plaza.

Beverly Krucek sent me several emails about the gallery she had on the Plaza Las Armas for many years. The following information is complied from her notes. The photo above was taken during the summer of 1996. Beverly was also a leading member of the Alamos Heritage-History Association, AHA, that meets at the Agave Cafe in the Hacienda de los Santos once a month in the summer and every Thursday morning during the rest of the year.

Galarie de Arte opened on the plaza in 1994 and was run by Bev Krucek for some ten years, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson

At times Alamos itself seems a living work of art and history and futures.

Beverly Krucek opened the Galeria de Arte on the Plaza in 1994. On average 25 artists were shown in three rooms, portal and patio. Artists came from all over Mexico, some from Columbia, as well as Tucson, Phoenix, New Mexico and a couple from France. Some 10 year later, Bev decided to trade up to a gallery in an art mall being developed and promoted by the Franks in the Urrea house on Calle Obregon. Unexpected problems arose that stopped the art mall project from going forward. By that time, Bev had turned her rental lease over to B.K. Hamma for her use as book shop, gift shop, and a new art galley leased to Vickie Lockwood. Upon taking a further look at the situation, it appeared to Bev that the tourist trade, which was her main target for sales, had fallen off so she left the gallery scene.

Galarie de Arte opened on the plaza in 1994 and was run by Bev Krucek for some ten years, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson

Upon these walls, that have seen so much, art speaks of inside and outside.

Beverly wrote about the block that the Galeria was located in,

“The Galleria was on the plaza in the row between the Hotel Alamos and what at one time was the Bank. That strip is now occupied by a games emporium, the Tourist Bureau, (then the Galleria) and a home restoration by the Bours. The strip prior to that, was The Hotel Alamos, The Casino, and I think either a bank or more probably a small residence occupied by the Bours.  The Casino was a club like operation where the men gambled excessively and the women were welcomed on Wednesdays. Some reading offers the information that Alamos was a huge hub of gambling.  Makes sense since most of mining management was an absentee sort of operation there was lots of both time and money.  Cards were big as was cock fighting etc.”

View of plaza from El Mirador.  Location of Galeria de Arte is noted.  Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

View from Mirador of building where Galeria de Arte was located.

Years ago, when I was in Alamos, Hotel Alamos, also known by many of my friends as the old Miner’s Hotel, was in serious disrepair.

In her emails Beverly addressed the old hotel’s current condition,

“The building part that houses the former Hotel Alamos and to some extent the part that houses the Tourist Bureau is in very bad disrepair and held together in an attractive way by a nice paint job.  Adobe keeps crumbling.  Everyone grumbles about it but no one does anything.  It is owned by Anamaria Alcorn.  INAH in Hermosillo and the local government probably could step in and force the work to be done but who has the money and where does government restoration come in with private ownership?  The end part (corner of Guadalupe Victoria and Comercio) has been well, and I think properly, maintained and restored by the Bours family.”

Casa Nuzum, Calle Comercio 2, from church roof looking east, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Looking down from the church at Casa Nuzum, Calle Comercio 2.

Calle Comerico 2, Casa de Nuzum, recently became an art galley, La Casa del Arte, managed by Tony Estrada and his wife, Lupita. Tony is director of Museo Costumbrista de Sonora, on the Plaza, which features regularly scheduled art exhibitions. Tony is also a gifted sculptor who takes discards and turns them into assembled artistic statements. Beverly commented on La Casa del Arte’s opening night, May 20, 2011,

“Tony and Cammy Nuzum will oversee other areas in the house to be used by artisans for producing their work and selling it from there. It was fun to see Tony’s opening at the Nuzum house where he showed 4 or 5 of the artists I had represented some years ago. It was great to see that they had continued to develop new depths in  their work while still being identifiable in their own style.”

Calle Comercio 2 is across the street from the bank that was next to Galeria de Arte. When I was a guest of Casa Nuzum there were paintings on the walls and art books in the library. I always felt it would be a wonderful gallery space being next to the church and around the corner from the Plaza. Location, location, location… The concept of artists working and showing their work in this historic Casa is profound and hopefully productive. There is a recent history of artisans here, Elizabeth Nuzum hired local women to create her designer clothing line in a wonderful sewing studio in the back pool patio of the house.

Historic footnotes from Beverly that were included in one of the emails,

“There was a Hotel Minero across the Plaza from the Hotel Alamos.  It is the first building on Madero off the Plaza, sort of tucked in at the lower level of the Portales Hotel. It was owned by Palomares (a war hero from the French invasion) and is now called the Hotel Enrique owned by Blanca Quijada Navarro.”

“We still have to add a tiny bit to the Chinese use of the Mexican silver peso…. Alamos did not specifically produce for China… they used the coin that was minted here and identified by A or an underlined A. Kin Rynd who lived there at the time (the 20’s) said it was always referred to as the Mex… much as we would say a buck. It also added balast to the ships returning to China after the deliveries to Northern Mexico.”

Visit one of Bev’s many loves Alamos History Association

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Winter Videos

44 … A multi-faceted crew for a sparkling season, Christmas 1993 …

Film crew  as ghosts, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by gary Ruble.

Our crew as ghosts on a quiet night in Centro Alamos.

Calle Aurora connects the two busiest areas in Alamos: Alameda and Plaza de las Armas. It is an one-way street for cars and two-way passage for pedestrians, bicycles, and animals. It is my favorite street in Alamos, long and narrow with a gentle climb to the Plaza. Most of the night it can be still, homes sleeping as peaceful ghosts come out to loiter and reminisce. This is our crew doubling for ghosts and providing scale and detail to a night portrait frozen in time.

This is the crew that captured Alamos-Christmas-1993 and our hosts the Nuzums.

From left to right: Chaco Valdez, painting of Christina Vega by Jim Wison, Anders Tomlinson,
Gary Ruble, Donna Beckett, R. L. Harrington, Robert Ganey, and the Nuzums: Jolene, Kit,
Elizabeth and Pember. At this moment we were all together and thankful.

Gary Ruble photgraphing passerby from a ruin in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Gary Ruble photographs a passerby on Calle Hildalgo.

Gary Ruble took slides, shot 16 mm film, primarily single-frame time lapse, and helped with audio recording. He also disappeared into the arms of Alamos. Often the question would be asked, ” where is Gary?” and the answers were ” we last saw him headed off with some folks”. This is a good example of a ruin’s interior. Since our 1993 shoot the population of Alamos has nearly doubled. Looking at Alamos from space with Google maps I can see new construction and new neighborhoods. Alamos has been part of the southwest’s now dormant building boom. Another factor for Alamos’s growth is the same as its beginnings – silver. A large silver mine to the north reopened in 1999. I wonder how many ruins are still available for purchase and renovation?

Crew walks to town from Puerta Roja, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by unknown.

Part of the crew starts the day walking to town down Cerro Guadaloupe.

The crew was staying in two places a ten minute walk apart separated by Cerro Guadaloupe. In Alamos, the greatest joys maybe the unanticipated twinklings en-route to a preconceived destination. For R.L. Harringto, Robert Ganey, Donna Beckett and Anders Tomlinson this was one of those moments as they came out of cool winter shade at Puerta Roja and walked into warm sun as they approached Alamos Centro.

Kit Nuzum videos crew creating shadow dance, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson

Kit Nuzum videos the crew creating an impromptu shadow dance.

Within in every artist there is a child that will not be silenced. At times, the child will take control and a sense of humanity is produced. This is one of those moments: human shadows dancing across a wall of time. There was the wall, the sun was setting, why not dance holding hands? This recreated a moment from a 1983 Alamos film shot by Anders Tomlinson and Kit Nuzum of kids dancing by the camera, holding hands, with their shadows racing across the ground.

Kit Nuzum standing, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Kit Nuzum, as the sun bids adieu, contemplates the meaning of meanings.

Christopher, his friends know him as Kit, Nuzum first introduced me to Alamos. We met on a beach while filming and helping with a preproduction setup of a Suzanne Lacy public art performance, Whispers, The Waves, The Wind, featuring white covered tables with white chairs and women, all over the age of 65, dressed in white discussing their lives. The women’s reflections would be broadcasted over speakers up on the bluffs surrounding the cove. An interesting moment in time of age contemplating time.

A couple of months later, spring of 1985, he invited me to go on a Mexico road trip. All he said about Alamos was that he knew I would like it. We arrived in Alamos hours before sunrise. Driving up Calle Aurora into, and around the Plaza, to Calle Comercio #2 and entering the front courtyard of the Casa Nuzum was a step into a place I had never been before. Kit walked me through three garden areas, fountains gurgling under the stars, to a guest room waiting for me in the back. I went to sleep in a dream, I awake to Alamos.

Today, 2013, Kit Nuzum is off the grid and brewing beer outside Puerto Varas, Chile.

Here are 1993 Winter Alamos videos filmed by this crew.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Calle Comercio 2

calle comercio 2, casa nuzum seen from bishop reyes cathedral, 1993, alamos, sonora, mexico. photo by anders tomlinson.

Casa Nuzum seen from Bishop Reyes Cathedral. These are two long-time neighbors.

There is a charming city worth visiting
Pember and Elizabeth Nuzum first visit Alamos in 1953. They were introduced to Alamos by Tucson friends they were visiting in Guaymas. These friends told the Nuzums of a charming city down the two lane highway to Navajoa. The road from Navajoa to Alamos was dirt, full of ruts, crossed water and dirt and had roaming livestock, an ever-present danger. “The Tesoros was open then, and we would have liked to have stayed overnight–but our friends had to go back to Tucson, so we left.  We came back again as soon as we could…” from an interview with Pember Nuzum by Bev Krucek and Leila Gillette. Elizabeth Nuzum remembered that the Tesoros wasn’t officially open at the time but the staff would make them sandwiches and they be warmed by fireplaces. Kit Nuzum recall that his parents traveled to Alamos in the 1960’s with Linda Ronstats’ family.

calle comercio 2, casa nuzum, rainy day, summer 1996,, alamos, sonora, mexico. photo by anders tomlinson.

A refreshing summer rain cools and cleans the Alamos streets and air.

A deal falls through and an opportunity rises.
Over the next twenty-five years Pember and Elizabeth lived at their Williams Addition property, in what is now the center of Tucson, and visited Alamos often, staying at both the Tesoros and Portales Hotels. They were prepared to buy a house in Los Arcos, in Tucson, but the deal fell through and they bought a ruin on Calle Comercio 2 from Jack and Jane Stewart. Most likely famed resident and real estate entrepreneur Levant Alcorn was involved with the sale. Carlos Pratt notes that his father, Charles Holt Pratt Jr, Chuck to his friends, was the realtor and a close friend of Pember’s. The property had been vacant for fifty years with collapsed roofs, no plumbing or electricity, dirt floors and a .5″ water pipe in the back building. Pember recalled that an American had lived there and that his bathroom was a hole in the floor.

calle comercio 2, casa nuzum looking at the three-tiered belfry of bishop reyes cathedral, 1993, alamos, sonora, mexico. photo by anders tomlinson.

The Cathedral, and its bells, are part of Casa Nuzum’s fabric and being.

Home of the Silver Barons.
Calle Comercio was built in 1780 and was known as the Casa de “Chato Almada”, a famous Silver Baron, in the early 1800’s. Official records indicate that work on the church, Bishop Reyes Cathedral, began in 1786 and was finished in 1803. One could have been inside this casa and watch the three – tiered belfry rise in the sky.

calle comercio 2, casa nuzum, 1993, alamos, sonora, mexico. photo by anders tomlinson.

Many have come to this door with a variety of reasons, expectations and wonder.

A set of false teeth, a door and a fireplace.
It took Pember And Elizabeth Nuzum four years to restore the project at a cost, according to Kit, their son, of $80,000. During the restoration they purchased an adjoining house from Micha, a nurse who lived in it. Pember remembered it was difficult to get her to vacant the property. Elizabeth recalled that part of the deal was providing Micha with a set of false teeth, a fireplace and a front door. Ana Marie Alcorn helped the Nuzums secure a deed, a difficult task, for the new addition. Now, the Nuzum project was a 8,000 square foot house sitting on 800 square meters.

calle comercio 2, casa nuzum, 1993, alamos, sonora, mexico. photo by anders tomlinson.

Relax. Listen to your heart. Breath deep. Appreciate. Be one with all.

A body in the backyard.
They moved from room to room as the restoration was underway. Don Jacinto Urbulan was the contractor. There was a drain in the front of the patio where the fountain is now.  They moved it to the side. Pember states that they found a body in the backyard and bone bits scattered around the ruin. He theorized that the property may once had been part of the first churches’ courtyard.

calle comercio 2, casa nuzum, nuzum pond with fish,1993, alamos, sonora, mexico. photo by anders tomlinson.

Does this fish understand how fortunate it has life in this well-tended pond?

The prodigal son speaks of secret tunnels and silver ingots.
Kit Nuzum wrote, ” I took a metel detector around the house and found silver ingot size anomalies in Pember’s bedroom – the old silver vault. The vigas on the roof are 8 inches apart not like
the standard 18 inches. Mom would not let me dig in her walls.
We found hollow spaces when putting in drains in the back utility room. This was suspected to be the famous escape route to the church. In the same walls, adjoining Edith Pratt’s place seven small skeletons were found. They were returned to a resting place.  They might have been miscarriages or unwanted pregnancies.

calle comercio 2, casa nuzum, nuzum living room, 1993, alamos, sonora, mexico. photo by anders tomlinson.

Just outside a world moves from here to there in both time and space.

A popular color from the past.
In painting the inside of their house, they tried to match the original colors.  The coral color in their living room had been a popular color in the Álamos homes of the 19th Century. The scene above, minus the electric lights, could have been much the same two hundred years ago.

calle comercio 2, casa nuzum, 1993, alamos, sonora, mexico. photo by gary ruble.

In the cool of the night peace and rest prevails

The green house off the Plaza next to the Church.
Casa Nuzum on Calle Comercio is known for the green color Pember and Elizabeth chose to paint the exterior. Most of the surrounding homes were painted white at that time. Elizabeth, in an interview, recalled that there may have been an ordinance requiring houses a certain distance from the church to be painted white or pastel. Such is life in a Colonial Center.

calle comercio 2, casa nuzum, entrance to nuzum museum, 1993, alamos, sonora, mexico. photo by anders tomlinson.

Inside this door is the Nuzum family museum, beyond are bedrooms and workshops.

Sharing is part of the Alamos spirit.
The Saturday Amigos de Educación house and garden tours of Calle Comercio 2 were usually led by Pember Nuzum. They would stop in a small room between patios and learn about the Nuzum family and, of course, the ghosts of Alamos. Elizabeth Nuzum had given Alamos a gift of a library which the city would take over. Tour money was donated to start a scholarship program which now supports many Alamos students.

calle comercio 2, casa nuzum, nuzum swimming pool, 1993, alamos, sonora, mexico. photo by anders tomlinson.

In the very back a small pool serves, reflects and comforts the soul.

Another patio, another world.
The back patio is where Elizabeth had a sewing room. Her close friendship with Pat Axelrod created a design business called Milagro. Carmen Rosas and her daughter sew the exquisite clothing, decorative pillows and pillows Elizabeth designed. The rear section of property has a secondary kitchen will all amenities, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, sala, laundry and pool. Spiral staircase to rooftop terrace with exceptional views.
The rooftop garden was one of Elizabeth’s great joys.

calle comercio 2, casa nuzum, nuzum kitchen 1993, alamos, sonora, mexico. photo by anders tomlinson.

A busy kitchen is the heart of any and all Alamos’ casas.

Enjoying modern comforts in a colonial setting.
Calle Comercio 2’s main living section off of Calle Comercio has two courtyard gardens and portals for outdoor living. The formal salon is sixty feet in length with a grand fireplace and high ceilings. Full kitchen with traditional colonial oven, plus three bedrooms and two baths, library, dining, salon and office provide modern living comforts to a restoration true to its origins: spaces, ceilings, canterra columns, doors, windows, and other colonial architectural details.

calle comercio 2, alamos, sonora, mexico.  casa nuzum, garden with pond, photo by anders tomlison

It takes attention and effort to keep these gardens flourishing.

Reflecting on maintaining Calle Comercio 2.
It takes a great effort to preserve a restoration.  Kit writes, “Pember always had three full time employees: a mozo, gardener and maid.  There was always a constant stream of mallestros from plumbing to carpentry to masons to laborers.  The house was swept and dry mopped daily, 8000 square feet. The 3 patios were trimmed, watered and fertilized regularly.
The roof was painted annually…”

calle comercio 2, alamos, sonora, mexico. casa nuzum, kids with kites pass by house, photo by anders tomlinson

Another parade passes between Calle Comercio 2 and the Church.

A place for encouragement and self-expression.
A kite festival, started by Elizabeth and her daughter Cammie and son-in -law Chaco, has become a local tradition on windy March days. Seen above, young kite-flyers return from the Mirador at the top of Perico Hill. Calle Comercio is a parade throughout the day. Funerals pass by on their way from the Church to the graveyard. To and from school and market students and adults come and go. Elizabeth, and Calle Comercio, played an important part promoting education and the arts in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.

calle comercio 2, alamos, sonora, mexico. casa nuzum, garden with pond, photo by anders tomlinson

I often saw Elizabeth, “Bett” to her friends in this Madonna’s face.

It felt like home.
Kit Nuzum looks back at Calle Comercio 2: “Elizabeth was in charge of all things for making a good quality of life. Her architectural knowledge helped make the Alamos property a national heritage site as shown in various publications. Her appointments of the space where renowned. To come  to an Elizabeth and Pember party was memorable and a delight. The elegance and joy for the invited guest was legendary still to this day. The home appointments were eclectic, ethnic, international, warm and pleasant. I have fond memories of Christmas and New years at Calle Comercio 2. And many happy party nights in this once-in-a-life-time space. The one thing I really remember  is it felt like home.  I spent 13 years in Alamos but I never lived there full-time, just a visitor…”

Elizabeth Nuzum at her greeting table. Photo - Joan Gould Winderman

Elizabeth at her greeting table. Photo – Joan Gould Winderman

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©2014 Anders Tomlinson, Alamos History Association and Kit Nuzum, all rights reserved.

Rooftop Gardens

78… A rooftop that lives and breath all things Alamos…

Nuzum roof top garden across the street ffom Bishop Reyes Catheral, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Elizabeth Nuzum's garden across the street from Bishop Reyes Cathedral.

Here, in the shadow of cathedral bells and angelic choirs was a multi-purpose rooftop garden. A narrow wrought iron caracol, snail, spiral staircase led one up from a back patio with a small pool to an expansive array of raised planter boxes. Elizabeth Nuzum enjoyed people, her home, her gardens and life in Alamos. For many, her husband Pember and Elizabeth were Alamos greeters, welcoming visitors inside the old wood doors on Calle Comercio. Elizabeth designed and managed her gardens while Pember kept an eye on the household finances.

Flowers and Sierra de Alamos from Nuzum's roof garden, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

20 feet above the street one can hold a conversation with passing clouds.

The roof top garden and its 360 degree views was a special place. The sky at night, with stars there to be touched while one laid back on a substantial Sonoran cot, was a connection to all things in all places. Rooftop eavesdropping on the comings and goings along Calle Comercio and Calle Guadaloupe Victoria tuned one in with the heartbeats of Alamos: Bishop Reyes Cathedral, Palacio, Plaza de Las Armas, Mercado, all points of the compass and all events past and present.

Nuzum roof top garden looking east at Mirador, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Mirador voices, at times, arrived here with a favorable wind.

Let me count the sounds I heard up on the roof: uniformed school kids walking in groups, talking, laughing, singing, stepping off rhythms, kicking balls, kids being all things kids. Occasional horse hoofs echoing on cobblestone streets. Music from rattling car and truck radios ricocheting off narrow streets. Surround sound bird songs and calls punctuated by barking dogs, working hammer and saws and distant braying burros. All combinations of people passing by: one, two, or three generations together talking, workers, errand runners, neighbors en-route to visit neighbors or hang out in the Plaza, shop at the Alameda and Mercado or attend to business at the Palacio or… This garden overlooked the center of Centro Alamos’ rainbow of expression: joy, surprise, acceptance, expectations, anger, yearning, anticipation. greetings, farewells…

Christina Vega on Nuzum's roof garden, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

A young girl picks flowers on the roof, a simple moment, a simple smile.

Christina Vega, daughter of Chacho and Cammie, sister of Gaspar, walked in all worlds Alamos. Her Mexican blood was Chaco’s large family and her American blood was Cammie’s parents Elizabeth and Pember and brother Kit who came to visit from his world travels. Cammie and Chacho lived modestly on Calle Ninos Heroes, a short walk from the grand roof top garden on the the other side of Guadaloupe Hill.

Christina Vega and church from Nuzum roof, alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

What does Christina see, and hear, on this spring day in 1984?

The roof’s northwest corner, with a view into the Plaza and Gazebo, was across the street from the bank. At opening time a line of people would be waiting sharing conversation. Daily masses brought people to the church’s eastern door. Funerals processions would leave the church and passed by as they headed east to the Panteon – Cemetery. Police headquarters, at times busy, were three houses to the east on Calle Comercio. Tourists speaking English, French, German and other languages would stop and chat as they headed to and from surrounding lodging. At night, one could listen to quitar playing coming from Polos restaurant’s kitchen as well as the Estudiantina practicing at the Museum. At this moment Christina is listening to the public serenade that is Alamos.

Pember told Anders, “always call us Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.” And Anders has.
Pember and Elizabeth Nuzum were a major part of the North American Community for decades. Their casa next to the Church on Calle Comercio #2 greeted many many who visited Alamos, including Anders. It is not uncommon to have rain squalls in December. And it was common to hear Pember playing his theater organ in the Nuzum music room. Those days are gone. But the spirit lingers, it always does.

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