Tiny Spanish Village Turns Sculpture Park

The small village of Genalguacil has become a unique sculpture pak Photo via: Diputacion de Malaga

Much before the Guggenheim Bilbao or the forthcoming Pompidou offshoot (“The Centre Pompidou Pops Up in Málaga“), the Spanish town of Genalguacil was already using contemporary art is a means to attract tourism and revenue, reports the New York Times. The atmosphere is certainly low-key. In this southern village of only 552 inhabitants, there are no grand buildings designed by starchitects nor blockbuster exhibitions with household names.

What they do have, instead, is a biennial art festival, in which a dozen of artists are invited to do a fully-funded residency in exchange for leaving the resulting artworks on permanent display in the village. With 12 editions under its belt, the Encuentros de Arte festival is turning Genalguacil into a real sculpture park.

Participants are mostly emerging local artist and the festival has proved to be a good platform for some, which managed to get their first institutional shows after the experience. The last edition, which took place last summer, was the most ambitious to date, with a total budget of $129,000 (€100,000).

An exhibition of 18 wood carvings by Picasso (whose native town was Málaga, only a 100 km west of Genalguacil) ran simultaneously, boosting visitor figures. The carvings were shown in the village’s Museum of Contemporary Art, a huge 3-story building constructed in 2004—before Spain’s housing bubble burst—ostensibly with the purpose of showing artworks from the festival that are not suitable to be displayed outdoors.

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