San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Museum invites public to paint on walls

If you’ve ever had the desire to paint on a wall and leave your mark, here is your opportunity. The Juan Santamaría Museum in Alajuela, northwest of San José, invites the public to paint a piece of a mural as part of its El Mural de Todos (Everyone’s Mural) project.

“Most museum exhibits say ‘Do not touch,’” said Priscilla Alfaro, director of education and cultural promotion for the museum. “Here, people can participate in creating an exhibit.”

There will be eight panels in all, each measuring 2 by 1.6 meters. Scenes will include Alajuela’s Central Park, with the front of the museum in view, and other city and historical scenes. The project will continue through December, after which the panels will be donated to area schools.

Created by Alajuela artist Mario Murillo, the designs are planned so that 60 people can paint a panel in a kind of paint-by-number fashion, using acrylic paints on palettes. Murillo supervises the painting, Alfaro said. Each panel will take about three weeks to complete.

Painting times are Wednesdays and Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. These times coincide with other museum activities, so the public can enjoy a guided tour on Wednesday or Saturday or the Theater at Noon performance program on Thursday along with a painting session.

“Anyone can paint, children and adults,” Alfaro said. “One of the first to add a touch of color was Culture Minister Manuel Obregón.”

The painting area is just inside the front door. Admission is free. The museum is across from the north side of the Central Park in Alajuela. For information, call 2441-4775 or 2442-1838, or visit

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