“It’s not about money.” This is a phrase not often heard in our modern, high-tech, fast-
paced world of today, even in our little town of Sayulita because of its massive
growth over the years from a sleepy little fishing village to a bustling tourist destination.
However, when talking with Nick and Sebastian, the owners and leaders of El Centro
Creativo (the Community Center for Sayulita), I hear this phrase genuinely articulated
several times. And I know they mean it.
El Centro Creativo is a non-profit community center located on the land where festival
Sayulita usually occurs. For the last five years they have been raising funds through the
festival to support their ideas and vision for this center. Their first official event was in
October of 2017, so they are just under a year old in terms of being up and running.
As I arrive at El Centro, I am struck by the peacefulness and beauty of the center; it is
surrounded by open land, brilliant flowers, and large palm trees. We go into one of the
simple palapas to talk, and the instant impression I receive of these men is that they are
authentic, compassionate, caring, devoted, visionary, and sincere. These are people who
truly want to make a difference in our community of Sayulita, and they are doing exactly
I talk to Nick and Sebastian about how they started this program, what their goals and
visions are, and what El Centro can offer Sayulita.
Where are both you originally from? When did you come to Sayulita, and what
brought you here?
Nick: “My wife and my daughter, Treva and Astrid, and I, left the United States and moved to Sayulita in 2008.
We moved because we were looking for a better life and we saw the community of Sayulita as a
vibrant, safe, and welcoming home. Sebastián and Tania moved from Uruguay in 2007 to Mexico
City, and after that to Sayulita to live a life near the sea and in a more natural environment.
Sebastián is an architect specializing in alternative and ecological materials and Tania is an
economist who worked in Mexico City for social causes. Both were committed to helping
communities with serious scarcities.”
How do you two know each other, and how did you come up with the idea for El
Nick: “We are all “makers” and we wanted to strengthen our community through shared activities-
movies, language classes, puppet classes, graffiti and stencil workshops, sewing classes,
motorcycle safety classes, etc. Sayulita is a unique place, full of independent creators.
Entrepreneurs, artists, chefs, carpenters, jewelers, etc. Creativity is integral in everyone’s activities
How did you make opening El Centro possible?
“Festival Sayulita founders joined together to make funding El Centro the goal of the Festival.
Manuel and Adrianna Rodriguez, and the entire family behind Quintas Trujillo were generous
enough to share their home and make possible our current space. Festival Sayulita and personal
donations made it possible to build out the structures we currently have operating. We are funded
in part by Festival Sayulita and the contributions of our generous donors.”
Can you tell us a bit about what you do at El Centro and what it has to offer to the
community of Sayulita?
“We have been giving workshops for several years during Festival Sayulita, and now that we have
our first real home at Quintas Trujillo, we have been able to offer so many more workshops— even
inside the end product of our Bamboo Workshop from last October. We offer puppet making, moto
safety, and art classes three times a week, an English class for kids starting soon, a sewing
workshop, a history of maiz class and its importance in our lives in Mexico, and on and on. We are
a fully registered and active Mexican Asociacion Civil. We try to have as many workshops and
classes free as possible. In the case that someone wants to attend a workshop but lacks the funds,
we also gladly accept volunteer hours in trade. We always need extra eyes during art classes or an
extra hand at the popcorn stand for movies.”
It is amazing that you offer these events and classes not only for free, but to all age
ranges, including adults. Where can the community of Sayulita find out more information regarding classes and schedules?
“You can find this information on our Facebook page”
As I leave El Centro Creativo, I am in awe of all that Nick and Sebastian have
accomplished, and all they are committed to doing for our pueblo. Their spirit of creating
more love, connection, and togetherness are in fact the elements which make Sayulita our
“Pueblo Mágico”, after all.
Written by Aanya Sheik-Taheri