Muros en Blanco (Blank Walls) Project – San Miguel de Allende

You have no doubt noticed that there is a common colour theme in San Miguel’s buildings. The mandated colour scheme for painting the outside of homes and businesses in El Centro range between nine distinct, vibrant earth tone colours As mentioned previously, the effect this has on the cityscape, as the light changes throughout the day, is amazing.

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Great representation of colour
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The oldest gas station in SMA-another iconic/vintage photo-op

This wasn’t quite as prevalent in the area we chose to stay.  It is always a crap-shoot when booking a place, but this time we scored big. Our beautiful Airbnb was about a 10-minute walk to Centro in one of the oldest neighbourhoods of SMA, Colonia Guadelupe. Not only were our accommodations absolutely beautiful and one of the best in all our Airbnb stays, vibrant Mexican colours washed the walls making the space cozy, homey, and very comfortable. Here the facades are cobalt blue, lime green, mauve, pink or lemon yellow and how appropriate it all seems.

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Mosaic design on Posada beside our Airbnb

Our neighbourhood had some other hidden gems as we soon discovered. The area is full of street art so of course with our long-standing love affair of this art form we were game for the  hunt. With fond memories of our street art excursion in Georgetown Penang in Malaysia we hit the streets one day and certainly were not disappointed.

Another interesting story here that definitely needs sharing. In 2012, Colleen Sorenson, an American expat living in SMA, saw an explosion of illegal ‘tagging’ on the walls of homes and businesses in SMA. Wanting to deter local youth from vandalizing the town’s unadorned walls with graffiti she lobbied for a project to channel youthful energy and talent, from graffiti to vibrant art that both artists and the community could take pride in. She saw the walls as an opportunity for art rather than defacement; her vision was to legalize graffiti. After more than a year of deliberation with the various authorities, and local residents, the first street art festival was held in Guadelupe in 2013. The urban street art project showcases over 100 works of young artists from around Mexico and from other countries, (Chile, Argentina, Canada, Germany and the United States), who participated in conjunction with local artists to promote the new art district. Guadalupe has since been named a Districto de Arte, and the Festival, is now known as Muros en Blanco or The Festival of White (or blank). The festival is held twice a year, spring and winter, and with other visiting artists painting in-between, the art is continuously changing.

As we stroll along the streets we see hummingbirds, butterflies, cars, people, saints, dragons, flying fish, flowers, ducks, bulls, skeletons, seahorses, trees, musicians, a school bus, and much more. At every turn there is something different to see. Different styles, colours, content; some beautiful, some surprising, some puzzling, but all fascinating. Here is a small selection of our discoveries (look closely, people just blend into the art).

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The other area we were very close to was Fabrica La Aurora Art and Design Centre.  In the early 20th century this building housed a textile factory where mana (cotton) was produced. For over 90-years it was the main source of work in the city. There is a great photo gallery showing the glory days of the factory and a huge weaving machine remains on-site.

This fascinating art space with more than 50-art studios and galleries is ideal if you want to purchase art, browse the artwork or simply enjoy a drink and some light lunch in a creative ambience.

Apart from paintings and sculpture, there are also works by Mexican photographers, glasswork, ceramics, woven goods, and antique furniture for sale. On the day we visited we were fortunate to see some talented artists at work. Martha you would love it here!

Always on the move our next stop is Queretaro, about a 2-hour bus ride away.

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This cheery ceramic wall plaque  greeted us every time we entered or exited our Airbnb 🌞

Author: Theresa & Bob

We love to wander, aimlessly at times it seems, and will keep moving as far and as long as we can. Serendipity has provided many wonders along the way, when least expected, and we love the anticipation of the 'next great find' just around the corner.

18 thoughts on “Muros en Blanco (Blank Walls) Project – San Miguel de Allende”

  1. wow is all I can say. This is definitely on my bucket list. I don’t need beaches, but love the colours and buildings. This is so so so interesting and beautiful. So glad you were able to post these wonderful pics.

  2. You are wonderful travelers, your photos are calling us to visit and stay for a while in SMA, your writing is better than what I’ve read in travel guides or magazines, you two are amazing!👏👏👏🍾👫💓💞

  3. Great posting Theresa, can’t get into the blog for some reason, but that’s okay. Photos are awesome. Love the one with Bob at the oldest gas station!

    Sent from my iPhone

  4. Wow–what a beautiful place! I love the street art! Would love to pay a visit someday if we make it back to Mexico again. We are enjoying our daily life in Boca del Rio. Not as beautiful as SMA though but lots of interesting places to go nonetheless. Of course looking out at the Gulf of Mexico every morning is a bonus. We are here three more weeks. Travel on!

  5. Travel on indeed Karen! Continue to enjoy these wonderful, sunny, warm Mexican days. Where are you flying from and back to?

    1. NO to Corona, but YES to Victoria!! LOL Yes, everybody needs a little extra ‘fuel’ from time to time. Trust you and Mic are wintering well and getting ready for the next big one! 🙀

  6. I am always jealous of your amazing travel adventures, Theresa! Enjoy! 🙂 Just letting you know that I have your gym voucher to pass on to you…. whenever you return to the snowy North! Don’t rush! 🙂
    Chat soon,
    Anna

    1. Thanks Anna, still lots of winter left back home so will heed your advice & stay on the sunny side of the wall for a bit longer. Will definitely need to rebuild my ‘sleeping muscles’/ walking a lot but need those weights! Will see you in the Spring & enjoy March break. Mucho gracias for your generosity! ❤️

  7. Theresa, it’s now almost a month since we met you in Crucecita (Huatulco). We were the couple from Toronto dining on chiles en nogada at the Posada Santa Clara — which was delightful. Very nice to meet you and Bob and hearing (briefly) about your travels in Mexico. Now that I’ve found your blog I look forward to reading more. Kind regards, Ron T

  8. Buenos Dias Ron, how very nice to hear from you and yes, we absolutely remember meeting you and your esposa at Santa Clara. We have been back since and enjoyed the chilies relleno.

    Wow, how very humbling and a bit unnerving to have such an esteemed, award winning author follow us! We look forward to following you as well and reading your recent novel ‘Poplar Lake’, congratulations. Your comments and suggestions are also appreciated, always on a learning curve.
    Hasta luego, Theresa y Bob

    1. Ola, Theresa & Bob – You grant me esteem and awards I have not yet earned! The good thing about literary obscurity is the writerly freedom that comes with it – and the travel freedom, of course. Looking forward to reading more about your travels and discoveries.

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