Secretaría de Educación Pública

Top choice public art

in Centro Histórico
Image by jackbolla / Shutterstock
Image by jackbolla / Shutterstock

To the casual observer this little-visited government building holds nothing of interest but those in the know flock here to gaze at the 120 murals tucked away on site. The two front courtyards of the Secretaría de Educación Pública (Secretariat of Education) are lined with fresco panels painted by Diego Rivera in the 1920s.

Murales de Diego Rivera

Together the courtyards form a tableau of ‘the very life of the people,’ in the artist’s words. Each one is thematically distinct: the one on the east end deals with labor, industry and agriculture, while the interior one depicts traditions and festivals. On the latter’s top level is a series on proletarian and agrarian revolution, underneath a continuous red banner emblazoned with a Mexican corrido (folk song). A likeness of Frida Kahlo appears in the first panel as an arsenal worker. 

Uniquely, the murals are open-air and not in a museum, but along the passageways lining the working offices of the education department, which means you are likely to ponder the murals all to yourself and can get up close to see every detailed brushstroke.

Tickets and information

The murals are free to visit but you will need to show a photo ID to enter. The paintings are labelled in both Spanish and English, but since this is a working government site and not a museum, there aren't any other explanatory materials. Guided tours are available if you'd like a full breakdown of the murals' composition.  No onsite amenities are available to the public.