Friday, March 4, 2016


There is something very special about walking down a random street and seeing colorfully painted street art, or murals, by artists who are truly gifted. Street art often reflects social, cultural, and political views and because it is inexpensive to create and to view it is accessible to people of all backgrounds, interests, and persuasions.

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Because street art is primarily created in public locations it may be unsanctioned more often than not. It is artwork executed outside the context of traditional art venues. And like much art, there is much room for interpretation. Street art, like most art, really comes down to the eyes of the beholder. To me that is what makes street art just as interesting and exciting as art found in more typical settings.The line between street art and graffiti can be blurred for many. In some cases street art can be a thriving community project, but some people only see it as a source of vandalism with ugly tagging.

Valparaiso, Chile

The term “street art” gained popularity during the graffiti art boom of the early 1980's and continues to be applied to subsequent incarnations. The terms "urban art”, "guerrilla art”, “post-graffiti," and "neo-graffiti" are also sometimes used when referring to street art. Street art is often motivated by the artist to communicate directly with the public at large and free from perceived confines of the formal art world. Street artists sometimes present socially relevant content with an aesthetic appeal in order to attract attention to a cause.

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

In Latin America there is no shortage of talented artists and street art can be found throughout most countries. Street artists often travel between countries to spread their designs. Some artists have gained cult-followings, media and art world attention, and have gone on to work commercially in the styles which made their work known on the streets.

Colonia Guadalupe, SAn Miguel de Allende, Mexico

“The origins of modern street painting can be traced to Britain. Pavement artists were found all over the United Kingdom and by 1890 it was estimated that more than 500 artists were making a full-time living from pavement art in London alone.

The British term for pavement artist is "screever". The term is derived from the writing style, often Copperplate, that typically accompanied the works of pavement artists since the 1700s. The term screever is most commonly cited as Shakespearean slangdating from around 1500.

The works of screevers often were accompanied by poems and proverbs, lessons on morality, and political commentary on the day’s events. They were described as "producing a topical, pictorial newspaper of current event." They appealed to both the working people, who (on the whole) could not read or write, but understood the visual images; and to the educated members of the middle-classes who appreciated the moral lessons and comments. It was important for a screever to catch the eye of the ‘well to do’ and in turn attract the pennies donated for their efforts.”

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Oaxaca, Oaxaca

Valparaiso, Chile

Buenos Aires, Argentina


Colonia San Antonio, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

My husband and I were fortunate enough to be living in San Miguel de Allende, México when the inauguration of the first Street Art Festival took place in the Colonia (or neighborhood) of Guadalupe. San Miguel de Allende is a UNESCO world heritage city and has become quite well known, but it had never experienced anything like this art festival. It was something new, different, and very edgy.

Colonia Guadalupe, San Miguel de Allende

More street art in Colonia Guadalupe, San Miguel de Allende

The First Art Distyrict, Colonia Guadalupe, San Miguel de Allende

Tools of the street art trade

In the Spring of 2013 the city of San Miguel initiated a program with the Muros en Blanco (Blank Walls) organization naming Colonia Guadalupe as the First Art District of the city. This program provided a new option for living art in the city. By invitation a total of 33 international street artists had the opportunity to come to San Miguel and participate in the creation of new street art for the neighborhood.

Artists from different parts of the México including Tlaxcala, Oaxaca, Querétaro, León, Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende, and San Luis de la Paz were joined by artists from Chile, Quebec, Buenos Aires, Dresden, Houston, and New York in this project. They had the opportunity to paint a total of 15 walls under the consent and support of the owners, the neighbors, and the local administration. Their works reflect a mix of styles, techniques, and trends which are now a permanent collection in the streets of Colonia Guadalupe. A wonderful project! I hope you enjoy their special street art with me.


Street art in the city of Puerto Vallarta is alive and thriving. I rarely leave home without taking a camera with me in order to capture images of the wonderful and creative street art that can be found. The following are a sample of my favorite street art creations with more for your viewing in the accompanying album that you find at the end of this posting. In the near future I plan on exploring more areas of this wonderful town in order to find more street art to share. Until then, enjoy!

This handsome iguana is found near the Isla on the Rio Cuale in Old Town.

More near the Rio Cuale in Old Town, Puerto Vallarta

He is definitely one of my favorite iguanas in Puerto Vallarta!

This collection of street art images features many motifs of the Huichol indigenous culture as seen in Old Town, Puerto Vallarta.

A full lenth photograph of my favorite Iguana near the Rio Cuale bridge inn Old town.

Found near the Municipal mercado and the phones are for real!

Stunning mural of Frida Kahlo as seen at Los Muerto Beach in Puerto Vallarta.


Street painters (also called chalk artists) is the name performance artists are most commonly called in the United States, but they are known as I Madonnari in Italy (singular form: madonnaro or madonnara) because they originally created images of the Madonna.

The Italian Madonnari artist and movement have been traced to the sixteenth century. Many were itinerant artists who were brought to the large cities to work on the huge cathedrals. When the work was completed they needed to find another way to make a living and thus they would often recreate the paintings from the church onto the pavement. The term Madonnari comes from the fact that these images originally were mostly Madonnas.

A modern day "Madonna" in Puerto Vallarta.

Aware of festivals and holy days held in each province and town, these wandering artists would travel to join in the festivities with the hope of making a living from observers who would throw coins if they approved of the artist's work. For centuries, many Madonnari were folk artists, reproducing simple images with crude materials such as tiles, coal, and chalk. Others, such as El Greco, would go on to become household names.

Fabulous three-D chalk art imagery at the Mondannari Festival in Puerto Vallarta

In 1973 street painting was being promoted in Italy by the formation of a two-day festival in Grazie di Curtatone in the Province of Mantua. Festivals of this type of artistic expression eventually became known as “Madonnari Festivals.” These festivals which specialize in the chalk-art-style of painting have become internationally known and appreciated. We are certainly fortunate that this wonderful tradition continues to this very day. And I, for one, am especially happy that the City of Puerto Vallarta, México has become part of this artistic tradition.


Friday Kahlo and per pet monkety, Fulang Chang

The tenth Festival I Madonnari in Puerto Vallarta took place last November, 2015 on the main plaza. Last year was our first experience viewing the creative street art found at this annual event. What a wonderful surprise! The Madonnari Festival Puerto Vallarta transforms Puerto Vallarta’s main plaza into an over-sized street easel using chalk pastels on the pavement to create vibrant, colorful, and large scale images.

The annual Madonnari festival in Puerto Vallarta is organized in partnership with the Vallarta Institute of Culture, The Tourism Board, and Santa Barbara, California, the sister city of Puerto Vallarta. Santa Barbara also hosts an annual I Madonnari festival which began there in 1987. Santa Barbara was also one of the first North American cities to participate in this international event.

Handsome wolves on the Puerto Vallarta Plaza

Tigers are also seen at the Chalk Art Festival in Puerto Vallarta

Are eyes the windows to the soul?

Working under the tropical sun is not easy for these Madonnair artists!

More creative chalk art as seen in Puerto Vallarta

Plaza de Armas in Puerto Vallarta is filled with modern day artists creating special and unique works of art using chalk and pastels for three days towards the end of each November. The modern day sidewalk art are more contemporary in theme than the religious paintings of the sixteenth century, but still very enjoyable. I hope you enjoy your visit to the Festival I Madonnari in Puerto Vallarta.

May the force be with you!

I remember hearing many years ago that a picture is worth a thousand words. Those words definitely contributed to and inspired me in the creation of MEXICO AND BEYOND: LAURA'S PHOTO JOURNEY.

Below you will find my WEB ALBUM which has additional photos for this posting.


And finallly, please scroll down to the bottom of this page in order to access the posting ARCHIVE and the FOLLOW BY EMAIL links to receive automatic posting notifications. I sincerely appreciate hearing from my readers with their questions, comments, and suggestions. Until then, gracias and safe travels! Laura

Memories are just a click away!


  1. Nos gusta mucho. Muy hermosa. Gracias.

  2. Love all these Laura! San Miguel has been on my shortlist for a long time. And now I'm thinking about a return trip to Vallarta! Gorgeous photos!