The Jardín del Arte Sullivan (Sullivan Garden of Art) is an outdoor art market near the historic centre of Mexico City, at Sullivan Park, behind the Monumento a la Madre (Monument to Mothers) in a neighbourhood called Colonia San Rafael. The market is set up and taken down on Sunday, during the rest of the week the park serves its normal function.
It is one of the few parks in the San Rafael, Colonia Cuauhtémoc area of the city. The 18,525-acre park was enlarged in the late 1990s, when a former parking lot was moved underground and the space above integrated with the park already here.
Each week, between 350 and 400 artists display and sell their works, which include paintings, sculptures, etchings and photography. There are a wide variety of techniques, styles and media presented at the market. Paintings include inks, oils, watercolours, pastels on canvas, acrylic and paper; landscapes, abstracts and nudes. Prices range from twenty pesos to 50,000, depending on the format and the artist. It is estimated that around 5,000 works of art have been sold here since it began.
The market was open in the 1950s by young artists who could not show their works in traditional galleries. They decided to set up in front of their studios and in local parks to exhibit and sell their works. However, the San Rafael neighbourhood has deteriorated since the 1950s, and this has had a negative impact on the original Jardín del Arte.
The Sunday art market is managed and sponsored by the Asociación Jardín del Arte, a non-profit civil association, in conjunction with the Instituto Nacional de la Juventud Mexicana. This organisation, founded in 1959, has about 700 members and sponsors two other similar markets in San Ángel, in the south-west of the city.
These 700 vendors sell at one of the association’s markets each week and pay a fee of forty pesos per week to cover costs such as the maintenance and storage of displays and the publication of informative brochures. Guest artists who are not members of the association are also permitted to sell for a period of up to three months at a time.
Members, participating artists and the organisation set a number of rules as to who may exhibit and how. Early in its history, artists could display whatever works they wanted for however long. Today, a commission selects what can be displayed with limits on the number of works of the same technique. There is also a minimum level of quality required. One rule prohibits the sale of copies of other works. All works must be originals. Artworks with political and religious themes are also prohibited.