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La Esmeralda is the national Painting, Sculpture and Printmaking School, La Escuela Nacional de Pintura, Escultura y Grabado. Today it’s part of the National Fine Arts Institute (Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes – INBAL) and at home in the National Center for the Arts – CENART. CENART is a major complex that includes schools of Theater, Dance, Film making and other arts.
As such, CENART also hosts a busy schedule of all kinds of city, national, and international events.
Although the school is named for its 20th century home on the Esmeralda alleyway (today the Calle San Fernando) in Colonia Guerrero, the school’s history goes back to 1927.
Having begun in that year at the Merced Monastery in the city center, by the 1930s, the school had outgrown that facility and moved to a building on the Esmeralda Alley.
The name stuck, and the INBAL still operates an arts and dance high school in the Guerrero facility. That building opened in 1964. The Esmeralda was then combined with the other national schools of Fine Arts overseen by the INBAL. They remained in the Guerrero location until 1994.
In that year, the Esmeralda, along with the other schools, was relocated to the massive CENART facility. At 12 hectares, the Ricardo Legorreta-led project was one of the biggest of its kind and remains an important center for cultural development and fine arts training for the city and for the entire country.