Sunday, February 20, 2011

Guadalajara's Top 20, Number 5: Instituto Cultural Cabañas

I'm such a bad blogger. I went and started a new project, "Guadalajara's Top 20" on December 21, and it wasn't until last weekend that I finally pulled out the list to get around to posting a second entry. It was only then that I realized that my postings for Zoológico Guadalajara, Tonalá, and Tlaquepaque had actually covered #'s 2, 3, and 4. I've gone back through and edited/hyperlinked those posts accordingly, but I'm STILL a bad blogger, because the experience I'm about to share actually happened LAST weekend. So, so lazy of me. Anyway, without further ado, Guadalajara's Top 20, Number 5: Instituto Cultural Cabañas.

Instituto Cultural Cabañas is actually one of the first sites we stumbled upon when we first began exploring Guadalajara. The only thing that kept us from entering was the fact that we had left the camera at home. Oh, and the admission fee. It was only seven bucks or so, but we were feeling kinda cheap that day.

Fortunately, or friend Genaro is a quick study. He has learned that if we do dinner and a movie at home, TJ and I are destined to fall asleep before the half-way point (What can I say? We're getting old...). To this end, Genaro has insisted on hanging out with us out in public, during daylight hours, where the risk of falling asleep is minimal. And so, last Sunday, Genaro took us on a sightseeing tour in which we saw multiple items on the Top 20 list. I'll be sharing them all in time (gotta spread this stuff out) but for today we'll just focus on the Institute.

The Institute was originally designed in the early 1800's as an orphanage, and served this purpose for over 100 years. During this period, it was known as Hospicio Cabañas. The building underwent an extensive renovation in the 1980's and reopened as a cultural center featuring art exhibits, a movie theater, dance lessons, and other artsy activities.

Sample of artwork currently on exhibit at the Institute

The complex is named after Juan Cruz Ruiz de Cabañas, who was appointed bishop of Guadalajara in 1796. He commissioned the building's design from Spanish architect Manuel Tolsá in 1803, following royal decrees encouraging the construction of houses to attend to the needs of the poor. Orphans began arriving in 1810, though construction would not be completed until much later. To the left you will see statue of the bishop (who died in 1823) that stands in the Institute's courtyard.

Despite the beauitful architecture, landscaping, and sculptures to be found throughout the complex, the Institute's main draw is a series of murals by artist José Clemente Orozco. The Orozco Murals actually have their own spot on the Top 20 list, and will be covered in a separate entry at a later date. But, because I'm so nice, here is a sneak peak.

The Institute has the honor of being on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, making this the second such site we have seen in our three months in Guadalajara. The Institute is open Mon-Fri 10a-6p; Sun 10a-3p.

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