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Friday, January 31, 2020

Murals, Culture and Sketching wildflowers - September 2020 SMA tour with Lucy Smith

Part of the History of Mexico-mural by Diego Rivera at the National Palace of Murals, Mexico City

2020 SMA Tour – So Much Art and Culture, September 23 – October 5, 2020
Mexico City and San Miguel de Allende

In addition to an optional art workshop, immerse yourself in the culture and traditions of San Miguel de Allende. This time we start our SMA - San Miguel de Allende tour from Mexico City and visit first some of the most significant places for Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. This will be the prime time for wildflowers immediately after the annual rain season. For more detailed information and registration, please contact 720-865-3653 or

Wednesday, September 23:
Arriving Mexico City. We will be staying three nights in Chaya BandB Boutique 

Thursday, September 24:
Our guide for the cultural part of our tour, Alberto Avaleyra is joining us and is taking us first to the National Palace Murals in the World Heritage Historic Center of Mexico City followed by the guided tour of the National Museum of Anthropology 
Finally we visit the massive Rain God Sculpture that Rivera made in the Chapultepec Forest, the main park of the city. This is probably the most important sculpture that Rivera did in his life, please read more about it in the npr article

Friday, September 25:
- We start the day with a visit to the Coyoacan neighborhood with Frida Kahlo’s Blue House (Museum tour). We continue with a visit to the Studio of Rivera in San Angel neighborhood and Dolores Olmedo Museum with the most important canvas collection of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. 

Saturday, September 26:
Transferring to San Miguel de Allende and on the way stop by and learn about the pre-Columbian Teotihuacan site. If we arrive in time to Posada Corazon, our traditional BandB in San Miguel, we’ll be served a welcome dinner –

Sunday, September  27:
Full day guided tour of Cañada de la Virgen archeological siteWe'll explore the massive temple and archaic ruins that date back to 1050 AD. We visit the north temple, the south temple and end our tour at the top of the main pyramid, the House of the 13 Heavens. Alberto Aveleyra, anthropologist and our guide, shares his research on the ancient cultures of Mexico and talk about the discoveries made by the archaeologists, the burials, offerings and ceremonial objects. On the way back to San Miguel we have a pre-Colombian meal prepared by  Dr. Rossana Quiroz Ennis at the Museo de Astronomica Prehispanica.

Monday,  September 28:
A unique guided full day tour to the Los Palomas Natural Protection area including a Mexican Cowboy lunch prepared by the ranchers at the park. Sketching and documenting class with Lucy Smith is also starting. (You can participate in the tour, even if you are not part of the botanical illustration class)
page from Lucy Smith's sketchbook

Creating a Botanical Sketchbook (This class will be considered as a masterclass and equivalent to the class offered periodically at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.)

Learn how to keep a botanical sketchbook – an invaluable tool to record your plant drawings, color studies and written notes. A well-kept botanical sketchbook is an invaluable tool to record your plant drawings and field notes, color studies, and written notes. During these days in San Miguel Lucy will teach you how to keep a botanical sketchbook. You will practice drawing and sketching from life, both indoors and outdoors, and learn how to capture multiple levels of information to help inform your botanical artwork, all while being inspired by the wild flowers in different environments.
Dates: September 28-October 1, October 4

Lucy T Smith is a freelance botanical artist at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. She has received many awards for her work, including the 2004 Jill Smythies Award for Botanical Illustration from the Linnean Society of London. She won the first prize in the Margaret Flockton Award for Scientific Illustration, at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney (2017), as well as Second Price 2007, Highly Commended awards in the 2005, 2006 and 2008 competitions. She has also received two Gold Medals from the Royal Horticultural Society. As well as her freelance work, Lucy produces paintings for private commissions and exhibitions.

Tuesday, September 29:
We drive up to Rocio Rias’ country house up on the mountains outside San Miguel to draw and document the orchard in the property. Guidance and illustrations with Lucy Smith

-Birthday of St. Michael
                The 29th of September is the day of San Miguel Arcangel, the patron saint of San Miguel...his celebration continues until the 2nd or 3rd of October with the Alborada, a festival involving lots of fireworks in the early hours of the morning where the church fires at the Presidencia (town hall) and the town hall fires back at the church over the center square. Dancing and celebrating lasts all night that night in the streets of San Miguel. There is a colorful parade that snakes through El Centro featuring Mexico's indigenous tribes. Participants are outfitted in tribal costumes and there are a several days of dancing on every corner of the Jardin.

Wednesday, September 30:
9 a.m. - noon: El Charco del Ingenio botanical garden tour with a specialist and continuation of drawing wildflowers with Lucy Smith (You can participate in the tour, even if you are not part of the botanical illustration class)

Lunch at Posada Corazon

2-5:30 p.m.: A guided private tour of the historic center of SMA  – (3-4 hours)

- Jardin, Parroquia, the Centro Cultural El Nigromante (the former Escuela Universitaria de Bellas Artes school, and the murals by students and David Alfredo Siqueiro), Instituto Allende (and David Leonardo’s mural), Biblioteca Pública with its amazing murals and plaza of the Soledad. If you are on the mood we can go to the Mercado to have a glass of aguamiel or pulque, fermented drink that is done from agave nectar.

A page from Lucy Smith's Sketchbook
Thursday, October 1:
9 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.: Illustrating wildflowers and continuing with the botanical sketchbook with Lucy Smith (Posada Corazon’s patio)

Market to Meal cooking class (2-7 p.m.)- We start with a stroll through the town’s central food market to pick up some ingredients, peruse the variety of fresh and dried chiles and try small portions of the roasted and seasoned Mexican delicacies typically prepared and eaten in the market. From there, we’ll head over to the quaint shop of a local winery at El Jardin to try their selection and choose one suited for our meal. Back in the large, square and wooden kitchen of Posada Corazon, we’ll prepare a festive meal while enjoying a cheese tasting of a variety of typical Mexican fresh types, making fresh and roasted salsas combining different chiles, as well as all the main vegetable and meat ‘guisos’ or stews that will highlight what is in season (and, therefore, the most delicious), all variations of traditional Mexican recipes. We finish with a grand meal at the end and pitchers of Margaritas (vine also included) and an e-cookbook with recipes and pictures.

Friday, October 2:
9 a.m. – noon:  Illustrating Wildflowers and working with a Botanical Sketchbook 
(Posada Corazon) with Lucy Smith

Lunch at Posada Corazon

Afternoon:  On your own OR Visit the best arts and crafts factories owned by local people in San Miguel de Allende.
  • Pewter
  • Papel Mache
  • Weaving studios
Saturday, October 3:
9 a.m. – noon:  Final notes for Creating a Botanical Sketchbook (Posada Corazon) with Lucy Smith

Lunch at Posada Corazon

Afternoon tour to Sanctuary of Atotonilco (UNESCO World heritage site since 2008) .
The Sanctuary of Jesus of Nazareth, better known as the Sistine Chapel of America, is a baroque temple
from the 18th century known for its majestic works of art painted in its chapels, walls and ceilings.  

Sunday, October 4:
Full day tour to Guanajuato. Guided walking tour of the historic center and visit to Museo Casa Diego Rivera (guided tour)

Monday, October 5: Return home

Cost of the tour (based on 10 participants):  $2600 including drawing class, $1900 (art class excluded). Single room supplement $700.
- Fee includes shuttle to the airport (San Miguel-Leon or San Miguel-Queretaro, 1.5 hours away), lodging for 3 nights in Mexico City (double occupancy) and 9 nights in San Miguel (double occupancy) with luxurious full organic breakfasts, Internet, lunches listed above, all the program including the visiting instructor workshops listed above (For participants working towards the foundational certificate or diploma, this gives 20 elective credit hours).
- The fee does NOT include international airfare, travel insurance, meals not listed in the itinerary; tips, personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, and communication charges, medical treatments, medical or evacuation fees including but not limited to emergency transportation, additional lodging, additional transportation, extra guide/porter services, and tipping or gratuities.

For more detailed information and for the payment, please contact Mervi at 720-865-3653

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