The murals completed during this past year as part of Muros en Blanco have altered the appearance of the neighborhood, increased the sense of shared community and possibly changed the lives of some of participating youths.
Tourists traditionally have remained in the Centro Historico of San Miguel de Allende or ventured only as far out as Fabrica la Aurora. Some of them now stroll into the heart of Colonia Guadalupe in search of the murals and studios of artists working in the neighborhood. The dining rooms of Via Organica are packed.
And, most importantly, there is an added layer of communal interaction among expats living there and Mexicans whose families have resided in Colonia Guadalupe for generations.
And more murals are on the way this month as part of the second festival. But this spring’s festival is about more than art. Part Four will be posted soon.
More than 300 workers lost their livelihoods when the giant mechanical looms quit spinning cotton at Fabrica la Aurora in 1991. After 90 years, the massive mill stood silent.
Twenty years later, artists began to breathe new life into the abandoned structures as developers reopened one after another to create a vibrant center of art and design. The studios of working artists, art galleries, antique stores, restaurants and cafes now number more than 40, meaning meandering through the campus can take several hours.
Naturally, my favorite space belongs to artist Kelley Vandiver because every painting tells a story – the kind I call “saintly stories nuns never told me.” And Vandiver splices wonderful iconography into the tales he weaves.
Why live in Mexico? Vandiver’s answer:
This is a beautiful country that embraces the insane and the artistic with open arms.