The art of San Miguel

By Lair Hamilton

The art world has changed, and San Miguel de Allende, an art lovers’ Mecca, is changing as well. San Miguel has already hit the ground running with its art event El Primer Fin de Semana and is now planning to expand. Every Wednesday at 4pm, a citywide planning group is meeting to hammer out the details of El Primer Fin de Semana, the new title for San Miguel’s already famous First Friday Artwalk.

The event planners agreed that El Primer Fin De Semana needs to be offered monthly, even in the off season, to continue the momentum and not discourage or disappoint an eager stream of visitors on the first weekend of each month. The group’s plan is to draw more tourists, thereby generating additional income and creating more jobs.

Ultimately, the plan is to unite the business community with the art community to create an event large enough to afford advertising campaigns directed at Mexico City, San Luis Potosí, and Querétaro.

  • •A packet of information was distributed at the Wednesday meeting that included the following:
  • •A preliminary example of the first proposed advertising campaign.
  • •The history of ArtBasel.
  • •A New York Times article about ArtBasel in Miami and other international art fairs.

In 1970, three gallerists from Basel, Switzerland, put their passion and determination behind a visionary idea for their city. Now, over 40 years later, Art Basel stages three premier international art shows. San Miguel de Allende has the resources and capacity to attract a similar international audience.

Artists are no longer limited to displaying their work in the studio or local galleries. The growing trend is to go global by participating in the booming worldwide art fair movement. Art dealers are following suit by meeting with artists on this common ground.

According to the August 22 issue of The New York Times, globalization has come to the art market, and dealers are being forced out of their comfortable galleries in venerable art capitals like New York and London, and jumping on a worldwide carousel of art fairs from Miami to Hong Kong, and Basel to San Paulo. Some dealers attend up to 10 fairs a year!

San Miguel is already recognized as a sophisticated center for art and culture. It would logically take only a few small unified steps to tap and attract international art dealers and buyers. In simple micro economic terms, the creative circle moves from artist to promoter, to buyer, to educator, and then back to the artist.

The seeds of this globalization trend for the arts are seen locally in the progress from First Friday Artwalk through the present direction of El Primer Fin De Semana. Local galleries are unifying their efforts for joint success and local businesses are climbing aboard to promote these events and share in the benefits.

In addition to this unifying trend here in San Miguel is the rock solid reputation of El Centro de las Artes Contemporáneas de San Miguel, A.C. At the heart of this center for art education and cultural enrichment are strategic goals that will support San Miguel de Allende’s growing international reputation as a world-class art destination. One of their goals is to extend arts beyond San Miguel. This goal not only includes regional outreach, but also includes expanding national and international markets for the arts and talents in the region.

When Skot Foreman arrived in San Miguel de Allende from his New York Gallery, he had a shared vision of bringing a higher level of art to this city. San Miguel de Allende, with a united force, can someday compete globally for its own international art fair.


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