The opening of the first exhibition of painting held in the new Colombian city of Medellín was on July 20, 1892. It was organized by critic and artist Samuel Velásquez (1865–1942), and Emiliano Mejía (1864–1937), a painter and photographer who had studied in Paris. The exhibition took place in the country house of Don Juan Uribe, which was rented out to two foreign tenants—Belgian Louis Valcke and German Hans Jaedicke—who in turn lent it to the exhibition organizers. The show held there featured over 150 paintings; known participants in the exhibition include Francisco Antonio Cano (1865–1935), Mariano Montoya, Jorge Ángel, Miss Inés Jaramillo Vieira, Samuel Velásquez, and others that history has forgotten.
Cano settled in Medellín around 1885 because a war made it impossible for him to reach Bogotá where he wanted to study printmaking. He undertook a number of different projects, among them teaching a handful of students and making gravestones. The letter he wrote on the exhibition has considerable documentary value since it attests to the place of the arts in the city at the time, as well as the causes for what Cano calls the “meager development” of the arts in Medellín. To his own surprise, Cano was awarded prizes in painting, printmaking, and sculpture at the exhibition held in 1892.