M is for Modern Arts, Mercado Central, & Museums

MODERN ART MASTERS: Get to know Ecuador’s vibrant contemporary art scene. Internationally recognized, for example are Manuel Rendon, who brought the Constructionist Movement from Europe to influence such fine arts as Enrique Tabara, Oswaldo Vitieri and Anibal Villacis. At the same time, the 20th century saw the rise of the Indigenista Movement, pioneered by Camilo Egas and well-known painter Eduardo KingmanOswaldo Guayasamin is the country’s most famous indigenista painter, and Quito is the best place to see the most complete collection of his work at Casa Museo Guayasamin, housed in his former home. The Centro de Arte Contemporaneo, housed in a former military hospital, is one of the main places to see contemporary art in the city. Up and coming artists are exhibited here, along with concerts and performances.

MERCADO CENTRAL in the old city invites foreigner to learn to shop like a local. The three-floor market showcases the best in fresh produce, fish, meat and flowers. Come here to dine-around in two food courts dishing up some of the tastiest and most affordable dishes in Quito: enjoy home flavors of traditional soups, sausages and seafood.

MUSEUM MUSTS: Located in Old Town is the superb Museo Casa del Alabado, housing thousands of pre-Columbian artifacts, beautifully curated and displayed; the Casa de la Cultura complex houses the Museo Nacional del Banco Central, with a rich collection illustrating  the evolution of Ecuador—human and natural, as well as its art, with displays ranging from pre-Columbian gold masks to contemporary modern artists; Museo de la Ciudad with a beautiful chapel, excavated catacombs and housed in a meticulously restored old building; Museo de Arte Colonial, home to impressive collection from the 16th-19th centuries, housed in a beautiful colonial mansion.  On a smaller scale, enjoy the excellent Mindalae Museum featuring 6 themed showrooms, focused on shamanism, Andean world view, clothing, ceramics, natural fibers and Amazonian lifestyles.

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