Why San Miguel?

By Donna Fullerton

What has drawn so many foreigners to San Miguel, starting in the 1930s (and with no let-up in sight)? San Miguel has long been a place for finding out who you are or who you can be. Aspiring artists were first drawn to this magical pueblo by the Instituto Allende, one of Mexico’s best art and language schools. The Instituto was absolutely instrumental in attracting droves of students from the United States and Canada, spurring the growth of the town’s expat community.

Live Presentation
“Those Were the Days”
By the San Miguel Archive Project
Tue, Dec 8, 5pm
La Biblioteca
Teatro Santa Ana
Reloj 50A
100 pesos

On December 8 at La Biblioteca’s Teatro Santa Ana, the San Miguel Archive Project will delve into the history of Instituto Allende with panelists Jaime Fernandez and Barbara Dobarganes, as well as teachers and students from the Instituto’s early days. Jaime is co-owner of Instituto Allende and a former mayor of San Miguel. His parents bought the ruined 18th century Renaissance palace that the Count of Canal had built during the silver boom, renovated the building, and established it as an art school in 1950 with Stirling Dickinson.

Barbara is Jaime’s half-sister. She was involved with the Instituto since its founding, and served as the director of languages for 24 years.

A moderator will interview Jaime and Barbara, who will share their unique perspectives on the evolution of the Instituto and its impact on San Miguel. They will also take questions from the audience. Also joining our panel are Rita Torlen and Jennifer Haas. Rita, an accomplished painter and sculptor, is a long-time resident of San Miguel who taught at the Instituto and still teaches at her gallery at the Fábrica Aurora. Jennifer came here in the 1960s to study at the Instituto. She is now the director of El Museo de Arte Popular at Rancho Jaguar, a private museum built to house her collection of folk art collected throughout Mexico.

Don’t miss out!

Tickets to the San Miguel Archive Project’s event are available at the Teatro Santa Ana box office at La Biblioteca. Our August event was a sold-out smash hit, so get your tickets now!

A video of the event is available on the San Miguel Archive Project’s YouTube channel at www.sanmiguelarchives.org. There you can also view 48 interviews and short story excerpts by early residents.

Preserving the past

The San Miguel Archive Project seeks to document and preserve this kind of material and ensure that it is available for historians and researchers, as well as to continue conducting interviews. The project is being managed jointly by La Biblioteca and our committee of volunteers, which also includes Diane Largman, Pam Knoles, Sue Beere, Carmen Meade, Dennis Lanson, and Camie Sands. If you have questions, please email Diane Largman at largman2@gmail com.


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