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Muros en Blanco Street Art Project

MUROS EN BLANCO

By Colleen Sorenson

Street art has become a worldwide artistic and cultural phenomenon, catching the imaginations of residents and travelers everywhere. The colorful images are a visual feast of public art and a favorite of photographers.

In San Miguel de Allende, murals on the street were not permitted before 2013. After almost a year of persistent work, permission was finally granted by the municipal authorities for the Muros en Blanco Street Art Festival, designating Colonia Guadalupe as the first official Arts District. Local, national, and international artists have painted well over 100 murals since that first magical weekend.

I am often asked why I took on this project. For me, it was simply about getting the permission for artists to paint legal wall murals. I believed it was necessary and so agreed to do whatever it took to make it happen. My own fascination with “graffiti” began in 1972 in New York City and has remained with me since, leading to a strong appreciation for public art. After an explosion of illegal “tagging” on the walls of homes and businesses around San Miguel in 2012, I was introduced to Filip Lein of the organization Siempre Hermoso. Together, we convinced local officials of the need to create places for artists to paint legal murals, always with the permission of the property owner. At the invitation of local artists Francisco “Nadie” Vega and Jesus “Juice” Valenzuela, artists began to legally paint murals in San Miguel.

Since 2015, the Graffitiworld team has coordinated all the artists for the two yearly painting “seasons” for Muros en Blanco Distrito de Arte, summer and winter. They also manage the residency for visiting artists throughout the year.

As with other community initiatives, funding is always an issue. The city’s budget is unable to help. Over the years, neighbors and businesses in Colonia Guadalupe have generously given their help and support to feed and house the artists.

Continuing to do what I can to help support the Muros en Blanco project and the Residency for artists, I am pleased to offer walking tours through my neighborhood. I share my stories about the very beginning, about the murals, the artists, the neighbors, and the municipal administrations, and what we had to do to make this happen. I tell them about how we keep painting and our ideas for the future. We meet on the street in front of Via Órganica (Margarito Ledesma 2) in Colonia Guadalupe. Walks are Monday, Thursday, and Friday from 10am–12:30pm and 2–4:30pm. The fee is 300 pesos per person. Reservations are not required, just show up!

I am also extremely pleased to see many independent projects by local artists. Private auto tours are available (1–4 passengers), wandering through numerous colonias on the continuous search for new murals. Auto tours are 3–4 hours with unlimited stops along the route for photos. This is a very fun way for visitors to experience outside Centro!

For arrangements, contact: StreetArtSMAgto@gmail.com. On Facebook: StreetArt SMA.

 

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