San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, is one of my favorite places on earth. The city’s historic center is gorgeous and walk-able and friendly. On any day, you are likely to find parades and processions and music. But, partly because of its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city’s historic center follows an elaborate set of rules…. how you can decorate your building, the colors you can paint your building, the kinds of signs you can hang, and the kind of noise you can make, among other things. It’s ordered and traditional.
But a few blocks from the historic center in barrio Guadalupe, the rules don’t apply….
The rules don’t apply in Guadalupe because, in 2013, a group of barrio residents told the city they wanted to do something different, and the city agreed. Today, the barrio is loaded with street art, mostly murals painted by artists from all over the world.
The murals in Guadalupe refer to Mexican culture, history and folklore, and each has a story. And like the rest of life, they are not intended to be permanent. They fade and chip. Some will be painted over with unauthorized graffiti. Occasionally, the city will come through with paint that follows the rules of the historic center, and a mural disappears. No one seems to get too excited about the loss of a beloved mural. A new mural appears with a new story.
You can learn more about the murals and their stories on a walking tour with Colleen, who founded Muros En Blanco to promote and protect the art projects in Guadalupe. You just need to show up at Via Organica at 10am on a Monday, Thursday or Friday. http://www.murosenblanco.com/tours/
Just one more reason to visit San Miguel….