Chile’s bright and colorful capital, Santiago, may not have the same legacy or history of many European cities, but when visiting this spectacular city in Latin America you will soon discover that Chile’s art scene is revealing itself with its emerging talent and incredible masterpieces that are definitely worth seeing if you are someone who appreciates good art.
From decadent museums, extravagant galleries, and incredible street art – the capital boasts creativity and traditional culture, with so many top things to do in Santiago. With the combination of European and Latin American influence, Chile Art has a very authentic vibe that can only be experienced in real-life.
Street art is the most talked-about artform in Chile, and is the sole reason why National Geographic has designated the capital, Santiago, among the “Must-Sees” in 2018. They described it as the “outside galleries of urban art”. If this sounds up your alley, keep reading to learn why you will fall in love with Chile’s Art Scene.
• Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
The Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts is conveniently located in the Bellas Artes neighborhood of Santiago, and is one of the main centers that houses Chilean art and some other art from well-known South American artists. It is one of the oldest and finest art museums in South America, and it is absolutely stunning – as well as free – to see.
Dating back to 1910, the current building – “The Palace of Fine Arts” – honors the first centennial of the independence of Chile. The entrance of the museum is located along José Miguel de La Barra Street which passes through Parque Forestal.
• Museo de Arte Contemporáneo
The Santiago Museum of Contemporary Art is also one of the most important museums that can be found in the capital as it is run by the University of Chile Faculty of Arts. It was created way back in 1947, and since 2005 the museum has had two separate locations namely MAC Quinta Normal Park, and MAC
The first museum is located behind the Bellas Artes Museum in Parque and has a statue in front sculpted by Fernando Botero, a Colombian artist. The second museum is located within Quinta Normal Park, and is more a French-style building. Both of the locations include art collections by some of the country’s best-known artists like Roberto Matta, Nemesio Antúnez and Matilde Pérez.
• La Chascona
This is not your usual museum, but rather three houses which were owned by a Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda. It is located in the bohemian Barrio Bellavista neighborhood in Santiago, and it is said that it was Neruda’s only Santiago home.
La Chascona is a reflection of Neruda’s peculiar lifestyle, especially showcasing his love for the ocean. He first started working on the house in 1953, for his secret lover – Matilde Urrutia. Her wild curly hair was the inspiration of the house’s name after all; “chascona” is a Spanish word of Quechua origin that translates to “wild mane of hair”.
• Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino
The Chilean Museum of Pre-Colombian Art is located in the centre of the capital, and it is dedicated to the study and display of pre-Colombian artworks and artifacts from Central and South America. It was founded in 1981 by Chilean architect Sergo Larrain Garcia-Moreno.
Sergo collected many antiquities and sought out a place to preserve his private collection of pre-Colombian artefacts that he had acquired over the course of fifty years. Here you can find pieces as old as 10 000 years expanding from nearly one hundred different cultural groups. This museum provides a genuine insight into Central and South America’s ancient civilizations.
• Plop! Galería
This beautiful, eccentric bookstore and gallery is located in the Bellas Artes neighborhood of Santiago. Here you will stumble on some unique local treasures, find special souvenirs made by local artists and buy books, comics, illustrations and more.
Plop! Galería was a creative idea founded by a group of Chilean journalists, designers and illustrators. The idea was to create a communal space for local artists to showcase their art in the different forms mentioned, and to share Chilean art to the many visitors who stop here from all over the globe.
• Centro Experimental Perrera Arte
This unique art gallery is an art space and cultural center in permanent transformation that has been allowing local artists to push the boundaries of art and exploration for over 20 years. It includes various forms of art such as visual art, cinema, dance, cuisine, architecture, theater, music, and more.
It is an experimental art space that regularly offers exhibitions, shows, and hosts a diverse list of cultural events, particularly performance art. You can find this interesting space in the Parque de los Reyes, on the south bank of the Mapocho river in the old industrial center of Santiago.
• Galeria Isabel Aninat
This is Santiago’s oldest art gallery, and it is home to Chilean and international contemporary art. As the name states, the founder was Isabel Aninat, a woman who studied philosophy and aesthetics. This explains exactly why the gallery is so aesthetically pleasing.
The gallery boasts three exhibition spaces – one of them located outdoors. It offers freedom and flexibility to established and emerging artists, which give opportunities to see the real and authentic influence of the art pieces. Her project is inspired by investigations related to social, political, and problematic contingent realties.
– Street Art
• Barrio Franklin
This neighborhood in the southern part of the Chilean capital is one of the newest street art sectors. The different colors light up the streets and it is hard not to stop and appreciate the raw talent that emerges from these simple pieces.
Try to find the famous flea market, “Mercado Persa Biobo”, which is in the historical commercial neighborhood, for some great examples. Also, we recommend visiting “Mercado Persa Víctor Manuel” where the documentary “Chile Style” was filmed.
• Brasil and Yungay, Downtown Art
These two neighborhoods, located west from downtown Santiago, offer cultural spaces, numerous restaurants and cafés, and of course – an array of incredible street art. Walking down these streets you will see colonial and modern buildings, as well as hundreds of different sized murals painted on the walls.
The structures of Barrio Brasil and Yungay have remained intact and are protected by Chile’s Department of National Monuments, which leaves viewers with incredible art pieces straight from the street. Some of the most interesting and compelling murals can be seen here.
• Bandera Street
Some important historic buildings such as the Stock Exchange, the old National Congress and the Pre-Colombian Art Museum can be found in Bandera Street. In 2017 this area has been transformed into a pedestrian walk, and now visitors can stroll down the oasis of color in the middle of the capital.
Dasic Fernández, the artist in charge, teamed up with architects and designers to create 3300 square meters of mural painted on the ground in an area of 437 yards, bringing together three distinct spaces: the social connection space (equipped with park benches and tables), the sustainable space (with rental bikes and creative gardens), and the patrimonial space (mainly used for expeditions).
– Explore Santiago and other cities with Kuoda
Visiting the capital of Chile, Santiago, is something we highly recommend if you appreciate art, good food and shopping. It is such a huge and diverse country, thanks to its unique geography – there are many different cities to explore, and we recommend Five Bucket List Destinations in Chile.
We at Kuoda understand that arranging a cohesive trip like this one in Chile, can be quite overwhelming. Especially if you have a busy schedule, and you do not have the time to research and explore the different traveling options and transportations.
Kuoda specializes in luxury travel in Chile, and we can arrange a perfectly planned itinerary for your trip. We can assure you a smooth journey, as it is our goal to provide you with everything that you require to promise a memorable journey for you and your family. Get in contact with us today and talk to one of our trip designers to talk more about your personal needs.