Last week I had the opportunity to go to Morelia in representation of my Street Art collective – Strawberry Streets. Morelia is located in the state of Michoacan, around the center of Mexico. I am aware that not many people outside of Mexico know about it, and it’s a pity. Morelia is one of the most preserved cities in the country regarding its colonial architecture and it is very well known for its cultural background. You can tell it has history in every corner of its streets. The last time I went to Morelia I was about 10 years old, which means my memory was quite blurry about my experience there. As I arrived, I was immediately regretting the fact that I hadn’t been back in so many years.
I was invited to this magical city by Alvaro Cuevas, a multidisciplinary artist from Guadalajara, Mexico (my beautiful hometown). Alvaro leads a project called Todos Dejamos Huella (Spanish for “We All Leave a Fingerprint“) in which he builds “origami looking” sculptures and instals them in strategic points of cities. These sculptures then become white canvases for artists to intervene. Alvaro has installed around ten of this sculptures in Guadalajara and now three in Morelia.
We went to the sculptures inauguration located in the Boulevard García de León and had the pleasure to meet Julio Ávalos, better known as Chous, a street artist who intervened two of the sculptures in Morelia and more than one thousand murals around Mexico. Yes, you read correctly, one thousand murals. It’s also very important to remark that Chous founded one of the most amazing street art collectives I’ve encountered myself with, called Futura. This collective, which is also a cultural center in the heart of Morelia, is fighting to reduce crime in marginal areas of the city through street art and rap music. Futura has developed their own methodology to create a dialogue with the locals and figure out in which ways they can add value to the streets of Morelia.
After visiting the boulevard and appreciating the sculptures, we were invited by Chous to Futura. The first thing I was impressed by was that the place had its doors open for anyone to enter. As I stepped in, I could already feel a welcoming vibe. Most of the walls in Futura are intervened by different artists who travel through Morelia and leave their mark. One great example is Motick, one of the most recognized graffiti and street artists in Mexico. From their cultural center, Futura gives artistic workshops and plan their next moves.
If I can summarize my experience in Morelia, I can say I felt completely inspired by the positive income that street art is having in the city. Mexico has a long way to go to change various aspects of our system, but I’m definitely happy to be back and help out in the process.