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Posts Tagged ‘ex-convento’

… in all manner of ways; there’s a lot of that here.  Successful meetings between old and new are a matter of debate.  The newly renovated Centro Académico y Cultural San Pablo is no exception.  It was acquired, designed by architect Mauricio Rocha, renovated, and repurposed by the Alfredo Harp Helú Foundation.

Located in the heart of the historic district, between the Museo Textil and the Teatro Macedonio Alcalá, this former Dominican convent, originally established in 1529, has been one of those ubiquitous crumbling and peligrosos buildings for a long time.  In addition, to the features of the original cloister, archeological remains from 2,500 years ago were uncovered and have been preserved.

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The buildings will house a research center (including a library), dedicated to the study of the languages and cultures of the indigenous of Oaxaca, serve as a venue for cultural presentations, and provide exhibit space for the philanthropic endeavors of the Alfredo Harp Helú Foundation, which (among several others) includes the Textile Museum, Museum of Philately (stamps), Institute of Oaxacan Historic , and Children’s Library.

The grand opening, with all the requisite fanfare and dignitaries, was November 26.  Alas, I missed it!  However, the courtyard provided the setting for several performances during the Instrumenta Oaxaca 2011, a 2-week long chamber music festival that ran from November 3rd to the 18th; two of which I attended.  I was dazzled by the setting (and the acoustics weren’t bad, either) and was especially gratified that the library, which the seating faced, presented a prominent and dramatic architectural feature.

Written on the wall of the building housing a small collection from the BS: Biblioteca Infantil (Children’s Library), a quote from Dostoyevsky (of all people):  Los libros son mi aliento, mi vida y mi futuro.  In English:  Books are my breath, my life and my future.

For more (in English) about the Centro Académico y Cultural San Pablo, see Norma Hawthorne’s article, Oaxaca Center Promotes Indigenous Language and Culture, Opens November 26, 2011.

Update:  Read how this cultural and historical gem, lost in plain sight.

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