Published on April 14th, 2010 | by Mark Chesnut

In Santiago and Valparaíso, Graffiti and Street Murals are Vibrant Works of Art

Street art and graffiti are vibrant in the Bellavista district in Santiago de Chile.

In most parts of Chile, citizens and property owners — as in many parts of the world — frown upon graffiti and street murals. But that’s not the case in two of Chile’s most artistically interesting neighborhoods: the Casco Histórico, an architecturally fascinating historic district in the port city of Valparaíso, and Bellavista, Santiago’s Bohemian quarter, where cafes, bars, nightlife and shopping have become a magnet for the city’s creative set.

Rather than discouraging street art, many property owners in these two zonas have allowed local grafiteros and street artists to show off their talents — adding a colorful accent to classic low-rise architecture, which include quietly elegant residences and repurposed commercial venues.

In Santiago’s Bellavista district, you may not see much graffiti at Patio Bellavista, the attractive outdoor shopping and dining complex that is home to more upscale cafes, eateries, galleries and shops. But keep walking toward the Parque Metropolitano, the city park that occupies a magnificent hill topped with a statue of the Virgin Mary, and you’ll be in for a bright visual treat.

In Valparaíso, I spent this afternoon wandering the hilly streets, admiring how lively splashes of color and contemporary design encourage new ways of looking at the dramatic architecture. Here, street art — which ranges from fantastical to political in nature — is so beloved that you can buy T-shirts and magnets with some of the most noteworthy works. I haven’t been able to find a gallery that exhibits the artists work (and most of their tags, or signatures, are too vague to Google), but I’d love to discover a store that features original work by these artists. 

What I have found are two Websites where you can check out more of Chile’s graffiti artists and street muralists:

• Grafiteros Chile is a portal that highlights the work of a variety of graffiti and street artists from around the nation.

 • Organización Defensora del Arte Graffiti, the Organization for the Defense of Graffiti Art, which in March enlisted artists to create a mural in the city of Concepción, as an homage to the anonymous heroes who helped victims of the earthquake, which struck that city the hardest. 

Looking for Latin American street art and graffiti? Head to Santiago de Chile —specifically the Bellavista district.
Colorful street art and graffiti is visible on many buildings in Santiago de Chile. 
Street art makes for an open-air contemporary art gallery on the streets of Santiago de Chile.

Graffiti and colorful street art decorate the streets of Bellavista in Santiago de Chile.
Valparaiso, Chile is home to some very creative street art and graffiti. 
Latin American street art and graffiti makes good use of the hilly streets of Valparaiso, Chile. 
Fantastical creatures inhabit the street art in Valparaiso, Chile. 
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About the Author

The founder and editor of, Mark has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and manager. He's worked with some of the biggest consumer, in-flight and travel trade publishers that cover Latin America.

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