Do You Know Who Felipe Cossío del Pomar Was?

Felipe Cossio

By Karla Ortiz

Felipe Cossío del Pomar. Have you heard about him? Many Sanmiguelenses have never heard of him or do not know much about him, and they have no idea of what he brought to our city.

Cossío del Pomar was a Peruvian painter, art critic, university professor, and even politician, since he was part of the APRA (American Revolutionary Alliance), a progressive political party in Peru.

Cossío del Pomar had a special appreciation for the arts, which is why, when he visited San Miguel de Allende in 1927, he was bewitched by its customs, crafts, architecture, and the history that ran through its streets.

But it was not until 10 years later, in 1937 that he came to live in San Miguel. He learned that the local handicrafts were dying out, which prompted him to found a school, the University School of Fine Arts—now Bellas Artes—which was intended to teach craftmaking in order to preserve handicraft traditions.

However, due to bad management by Cossío’s lawyer, Alfredo Campanella, who took over the school when Cossío left, the school fell into decline. In 1950, when Cossío returned, he realized that he would have to start all over and therefore founded the Instituto Allende. The school gained a great reputation because of the quality of its teachers and its programs, and this attracted foreign students from Canada, the United States, and Europe, all of which triggered artistic, cultural, and community growth in San Miguel.

“We could say that San Miguel de Allende is a city full of art and tourism thanks to Cossío’s perseverance for opening high-level schools such as Bellas Artes and Instituto Allende,” said Ezequiel Morones, creator of a short documentary about Cossío’s life during his years in San Miguel de Allende.

“My intention is that with this short film we can bring attention to the name of Cossío del Pomar, especially now that this beautiful city has once again been voted the best city in the world by Travel & Leisure magazine.”

The 20-minute short film, Felipe Cossío del Pomar, the Fascinating Story of an Illustrious Peruvian in San Miguel De Allende, was presented at a cocktail party on July 25 at the Peruvian restaurant La Parada, where Morones mentioned that Cossío del Pomar’s memoirs about his experiences San Miguel de Allende are about to be reprinted. “This could contribute to giving Felipe Cossío del Pomar the status that he deserves in this city to which he gave so much.”

You can watch the entire short film about the life of Felipe Cossío at this link vimeo.com/218899614.

 

 

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