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Bellas Artes

The engine of a creative revival

This extraordinary art academy was the engine of a creative revival that saved San Miguel de Allende in its darkest hour. The winds that gust through its lofty corridors carry the spirit of revolution. Join us as we explore the history of Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, and encounter a new generation of artists who will transform San Miguel.

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Arched passageways run through the Bellas Artes like a vast circulatory system. The afternoon sun fills the halls with warm light, bringing colorful murals to life. The breeze that gusts through these arcades carries the spirit of revolution. 

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In 1775, a pious daughter of the Canal family founded a convent here. In 1912, it became a primary school. When the Mexican Revolution broke out in 1910, it served as military quarters. It was used for private lessons in the arts for a time, eventually falling into decay for almost 20 years. The silver boom had long since ended, leaving San Miguel de Allende on the brink of becoming a ghost town.6f3c9561-960x640-72res

In 1961, the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes took up residence in the ruins. The building was renovated, big halls were restored for classes, and gallery spaces were set up to hold temporary exhibitions. This revival contributed to San Miguel’s resurgence into the cultural capital that it is today.

Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes is also known as El Nigromante—the sorcerer—and young artists are busy casting enchantments in its lofty classrooms.

A revolutionary aura still lingers in this place. Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes is also known as El Nigromante—the sorcerer—and young artists are busy casting enchantments in its lofty classrooms. There’s painting and paper construction, fabric weaving and guitar building.  As we tiptoe through the halls, the sound of a piano fills the air and seems to be coming from everywhere. Its notes echo through a dance studio as students grasp the barre in an introductory ballet course.

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We settle in a grassy courtyard, watching the wind dance through the leaves of towering trees. The breeze is warm, hinting at the creative lifeblood that beats within these walls.