Art in El Salvador

Stop to think about it for a minute, and the fact that El Salvador has a robust museum and gallery scene is pretty amazing. For one thing, the country is still recovering—psychologically and financially—from a civil war that lasted more than a decade; art could easily be an afterthought in such a context. But it’s not, and it’s through the country’s contemporary art that you can learn and understand much more about El Salvador’s complex history.

Colonia San Benito, Final Avenida la Revolución, San Salvador, El Salvador
If you, like most visitors to El Salvador, know little about the country’s art, a visit to this modern, well-maintained museum will serve as a fairly comprehensive introduction. In addition to exhibits of paintings, sculptures, and other works, the museum hosts live dance and musical performances, and an “artist of the month” program gives a deep dive view of Salvadoran artists whose names are likely to be unfamiliar.
San Salvador, El Salvador
Central America’s oldest theater was built in the Renaissance style by French architect Daniel Beylard between 1911 and 1917, and remains the most visible, prestigious venue in the country for the presentation of national and international dance, music, and theatrical performances. The interior of the theater is stunningly beautiful, its Great Hall rich with maroon and gold details and a cupola--painted with a fresco in 1977—that keeps visitors craning their heads upward.
125 Avenida San Jose
The mission of the Popular Art Museum is to introduce visitors to the rich array of traditional arts and crafts made by Salvadoran artists, as well as emerging art forms. Sculptures, paintings, weavings, jewelry, clay work, masks, and works made with paper form the bulk of the permanent collection, with temporary exhibits taking a closer look at particular art forms. The museum is very family-friendly, hosting regular craft-making workshops for children and adults.
Calle La Reforma, 209 - Colonia San Benito, La Union, El Salvador
This San Salvador-based gallery, opened in 1985, is always worth a visit, given its variety of paintings and sculptures by Salvadoran and other Latin American master artists. Check to see if your visit coincides with its annual “Latin American Painting and Sculpture Show”, which attracts critics and collectors.
CA 1W, San Salvador, El Salvador
Graffiti, stencil, sticker, and poster art, and temporary sculptures are all part of San Salvador’s street art scene, with themes of pieces touching on topics as diverse as anti-capitalist sentiment, social justice, political history, women’s and indigenous people’s rights, and pop culture. Use the Facebook page of Street Art El Salvador as an informal guide to the capital’s biggest, most interesting pieces and to learn more about the artists who made them.
San Salvador, El Salvador
This art gallery, established in the 1970s, describes itself as the first gallery in El Salvador to feature international artists. While it also shows the work of Salvadoran artists, its inventory includes works by Latin American masters like Mexican painters Rufino Tamayo and Martha Chapa.
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