While Puebla might be well known for its historic art and architecture, the capital city and its sister city, Cholula are also brimming with contemporary art galleries and installations. While you might not have time to get them all in, here are seven must-see stops on your art tour of Puebla.
Inside a 100-year-old colonial mansion, the University of the Americas Puebla has a chic gallery space—iron columns, worn wooden floors and floor-to-ceiling windows. They host both Mexican and international artists of all genres and styles and the majority of their events and expositions are free to the public—in an attempt to promote art and its benefits to the wider community. The intersection of different artistic forms along with musical, theatrical and social events creates a lively and challenging space for the artistically curious.
An ancient Porfirian-era mansion that was once the home of 1940s actress María Arroyo, has been taken by the hands of dozens of artists, and they have transformed it. Interior decorators, fine artists, painters, woodworker, and even a poet have made tiny corners of the the house their own, imbuing the space with a wildly eclectic look with new surprises around each corner. Some took a traditional bent, including antiques and Puebla talavera pottery, some went sleek and modern. Now the house at 917 Reforma is an ambling and grandiose art gallery, displaying in real time, the work of local genius.
Part of the Municipal Institute for Art and Culture, the Municipal Palace Art Gallery hosts arts from across disciplines to exhibit in their space. They also host book signings, theater preformances, conferences, talks and other community events. Their exhibits focus on contemporary art, but that doesn’t rule out a retrospective on an artist with a clear political, social or cultural message for society today.
Casa del Puente is a cafe and art gallery in Cholula, Puebla. The space is welcoming and easy, where art and the art of conversation exist side by side. The gallery promotes local artists and hasa revolving collection of pieces from various disciplines. They also host talks, conferences workshops for aspiring artists, theatrical and music performances, and book signings.
Founded and run by Nora Adame and Alejandro Osorio, the Mercado Negro Art Gallery is a promoter of contemporary art in Cholula, Puebla, just ouside of the state capital. They host revolving expositions of the international artists that make up their portfolio. Some of their current artists include Alberto Ibáñez Cerda, Alejandro Osorio, Omar Árcega, Dulce Pinzón, César López y López, and Fabián Ugalde. They also have several artists that work in collaboration with the gallery.
Puebla City’s Barrio de Artista is not only beautiful for the art displayed there, but for the space itself. Also called Plazuela del Torno, the Artists Quarter is a leafy, cobblestone plaza where painters, dancers, sculptors and other craftsmen set up to engage with the public. Often time you will come across drawing or painting classes being held al fresco, or an artist hard at work on a piece in front of their individual studio. There are, of course, opportunities to purchase the art direct from the artists.
This museum and gallery is part of the Talavera Celia, one of the city’s many professional talavera pottery workshops. It’s a good way to get a fuller understanding of this important regional craft and its history. The museum displays decorative arts, as well as both traditional and avant garde sculpture, and everyday talavera household items. Celia’s has been distinguished with a Dominion of Origin recognition and all the work they display has been certified as created with traditional talavera techniques.