The first thing that strikes me, in the centre of mountain town San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, are the walls of the houses are painted in yellow ocher and rust browns. Not one house is painted in a different colour.
Until, just outside the historic centre,you walk into the Colonia Guadalupe district. There, almost every wall is covered with colourful murals. This street art project started in 2011 by Colleen Sorensen. Before that, it was a run-down neighbourhood with dull white walls, often smeared with graffiti against the wishes of the residents. Colleen wanted to turn the vandalism in the neighbourhood into expressions of creativity and self-expression. And thereby gives the neighbourhood its own face.
That eventually worked. Hundreds of murals are now the proud result of an art movement, supported by residents and local businesses, young local artists, famous Mexican and international street artists and ultimately by the city government.
And the movement continues. Every year the murals, damaged by hailstorms, are painted over and new walls are released for expression. The neighbourhood is now a tourist attraction and Colleen organizes tours of the artworks. You can walk there around for hours. Always a wall full of creativity. A feast for the eyes.