Art Study in Mexico
San Miguel de Allende Attracts Artists and Students
|Unfinished 1940s mural painted by David Alfaro Siqueiros, in Escuela de Bellas Artes cultural center, an art school in a former convent, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
San Miguel de Allende, one of Mexico’s most beautiful cities, is located in the center of the country about 200 miles north of the capital. The charming colonial town attracts artists and art students from all over the world.
It began in the 1940s when writers, artists, and other creative types came to San Miguel to study at the Escuela de Bellas Artes (School of Fine Arts). Since then a large community of foreign and Mexican artists have formed a vibrant community. Museums and galleries line the cobbled sidewalks and courses in every artistic area can be found within the town’s walls.
The residents of San Miguel are openly welcoming and love to share their passion for the arts with gallery openings and special shows. The sky is regularly aflame with fireworks and the streets filled with a never-ending procession of fiestas. The Mexican government has declared the whole town a national monument.
Robert Baker, a former Nashville lawyer, turned photographer, says San Miguel provides isolation from the usual stresses of life and allows him to indulge his creativity. For former North Carolina innkeeper Chip Wilson the isolation provides anonymity and thus creative freedom. “I can reinvent myself here,” she says.
One of the first places to look at for arts courses is the Instituto Allende which is located in the center of town and offers courses for both credit and noncredit students. The institute offers a bachelor of fine arts and a masters of fine arts degrees.
For people just looking to dabble in the arts there are month-long courses in painting, drawing, sculpture, weaving, jewelry, photography, and ceramics for beginners to advanced. One-month courses of around nine hours a week cost around $300. The institute also offers courses in Spanish.
Next, there is an online directory of art schools in San Miguel de Allende.
Classes Unlimited offers a range of shorter classes including photography, painting, printmaking, paper mache, jewelry, photoshop and writing. Classes vary in price and length.
Acadamia de Fotografia offers short-term and longer-term photography courses plus photography excursions. Prices vary.
The local English paper, Atencion San Miguel, lists courses in everything from jazz appreciation to yoga or Mayan mythology.
If the choice of so many courses is confusing Robert Martin suggests just coming to San Miguel. The former Texan architect turned painter says even without the classes San Miguel will awaken your creative spirit.