VIDEO: North Long Beach plant nursery offers a Oaxacan spirit-animal painting workshop


Oaxacan artist Jara Avila will host three days of alebrije, or spirit animal, painting workshops at Ricardo’s Nursery in North Long Beach this weekend. The story of these spirit animals is part of Oaxacan folklore, though you may be more familiar with them from a recent Oscar-winning film.

The staff at Ricardo’s, located just north of the 91 Freeway at 6850 Atlantic Avenue, has teamed with the Avila to host workshops on how to paint the sculptures. Artisans often spend hours working on the heavily-detailed, wooden statues and Avila is presenting three workshops—Friday, Saturday and Sunday—to show people how it’s done.

Alebrijes were recently featured in Pixar’s “Coco,” the animated film based around Mexican culture’s Dia de Los Muertos featuring a spirit animal in the form of a dog named Dante.

Jara Avila, an artisan painter from Mexico, creates alebrije, or spirit animal, sculptures. She will be hosting a workshop for the public at Ricardo’s Nursery in North Long Beach.

The workshops cost $25 to sign-up, which helps pay for the painting kit and figurine. Spaces are extremely limited, as the nursery is only allowing 10 to 12 people to join each session in accordance with coronavirus restrictions. Masks are required and the groups will be spread out across the nursery, Arrivillaja said.

The spaces for Friday and Saturday were all booked as of publication, but spaces are still available for Sunday’s workshops at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. The pandemic’s restrictions have put a damper on many of the nursery’s events, however, Arrivillaja said he’d like to host these smaller events monthly or bimonthly.

“People are just tired of being home,” he said. “I think this is a great way to bring the family together.”

For more information, call 323-302-1617 or email [email protected]

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