The arts can drive economic renewal

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The arts can drive economic renewal

detailThis could be anywhere in the world. Often artists are economic pioneers; moving into undesirable places, often, eventually forced out as a result of the success they wrought. Hope that doesn’t happen here, but if the product is organic, hopefully everyone rises. Economic renewal should be for all concerned.

Sitio Eriazo is a collective whose goal is to recover and reuse empty, abandoned, spaces in Valparaiso, Chile which have become dumps while attracting vermin and delinquents. The members of the group are recent graduates from theater, art and architecture schools.The group rely is self-motivated,  and they rely on mutual support within a non-hierarchical organisation; they work to recover and make available to the community the urban fabric of their city.

Valparaiso was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003;

The colonial city of Valparaíso presents an excellent example of late 19th-century urban and architectural development in Latin America. In its natural amphitheater-like setting, the city is characterized by a vernacular urban fabric that clings to the hillsides that are dotted with a great variety of church spires. It contrasts with the geometrical layout of the sea-side plain. The city has well preserved its interesting early industrial infrastructures, such as the numerous elevators on the steep hillsides.

In 2012 Sitio Eriazo began by recovering a site which was converted into a space for arts, crafts, urban agriculture, theater, carpentry, circus, painting, gardening, and other self-sustaining activities. Sitio Eriazo recycles waste  to generate tools and create art They look to help build new ways of working and learning which will better people’s relationship to the environment.

The objectives of Sitio Eriazo can be summed up as:

  • To recover Valparaiso’s heritage and make it available to the community.
  • To promote arts and crafts as tools for work and learning.
  • Generate meeting and reflection spaces for the neighborhood.
  • To promote art and cultural activities through open workshops.
  • Develop self-sustaining construction techniques through recycling.
  • Develop self-awareness of the local identity of places together with the community.

Now, they are on to Ecuador!

wideSitio Eriazo invited the Scarcity and Creativity Studio to help it to consolidate its activities on their Ecuadorian site. Before the project begun, Sitio Eriazo cleared the site, and secured it by building provisional closures in its four points of access from the street, and had built temporary facilities to work from. Sitio Eriazo looks to create the site:

A flexible events space, to accommodate theater, circus, and music performances. At present up to 100 people attend Sitio Eriazo’s performances. Cooking facilities to prepare and serve food to those attending the organised events. The events which Sitio Eriazo organizes are free, but they do charge for food. At present they have built an adobe pizza oven and BBQ grill which they use for all the cooking. Space for workshops, which will be the places where arts and crafts are taught and where the community can come to realize their projects. Toilets for those attending the events. A vegetable garden, where Sitio Eriazo can plant vegetables and herbs to be used in the kitchen.

The Wave: Public Performance Space. Pretty cool.

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