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A true cultural hub, Medellín is regarded by many as Colombia’s fastest-growing and most transformed city. The city has a legacy of artistic excellence, but the modern inhabitants are taking this even further by creating socially driven art initiatives that have been positively impacting the local communities over the past decades. We at Impulse have recently been investigating new and exciting projects that are flourishing in the City of Eternal Spring, tucked away in the Aburrá Valley. In this week’s blog, we’ll share the stories behind these various developments and show you why Medellín is Colombia’s most artistically flourishing city.
Art is an agent of change, often with an untapped ability to transform. Artistic developments and projects are thriving in some of the most vulnerable neighborhoods and communities of Medellín.
The creative scene of Medellín takes inspiration from a combination of the nation’s history and modern conceptions of art to create a contemporary style that is informed by the past. Medellín has a highly modern and self-sufficient art scene that is continuing to expand every day. Medellín’s Museum of Modern Art (MAMM) focuses on being a living space by exhibiting urban and contemporary works and hosting cultural events.
One of, if not the most, well- renowned artists of Colombia is none other than Fernando Botero. Medellín’s city center resembles an open air museum with a myriad of Botero statutes dispersed throughout the parks and plazas. Botero’s style is immediately recognized for abstract depictions of Colombian people and everyday life.
Another area of Medellín ripe with street art is the well-known neighborhood of Comuna 13. The residents of this sector are shining examples of the transformative power of artistic endeavors, and community strength.
Street Art exemplifies the stories of the city’s inhabitants. It is a chance for the people to express their viewpoints, tales and rich histories. The streets of Medellín are brought to life with the ubiquity of the street art throughout the city, with the bright colors and designs reflecting the spirit of its people.
Painting allows for the expression of one’s self and lends a window inside the spirit and mind of another person. This is the case of the team over at Casa Loma who run a cultural center focused on the art of painting, with a specific focus on graffiti, which is reflective of the bright and colorful character of Colombians. The organization offer workshops for children and youngsters in street art, photography, dance, and music production that allow for greater access to and engagement with the arts.
The power of storytelling supports the transformation of marginalized communities to triumph over violence and poverty. Music is another way through which the folks over at the Afrotour are advancing their story. Engage with the now famed neighborhood of Comuna 13 in Medellín.
Formerly labeled impracticable and unsafe for all visitors, the region of the city has been transformed through community efforts into a thriving barrio, brought alive by the stunning works of street art that cover the buildings like decorative wallpaper. The area is further home to ‘live terraces’ where they host concerts, musical guests and dance performances on top of the houses, truly bringing to life our lively Colombian spirit in all corners of Medellín.
Colombia has a rich and intricate literary scene that is reflective of our history. There are a couple of initiatives around Medellín supporting the provision of books and libraries to increase community access to such facilities, especially for the youth.
Sueños de Papel is a local initiative working on bringing greater accessibility to books to the youth of disadvantaged communities in their creation of a community library in the La Cruz neighborhood. Reading is an invaluable skill that is sometimes hindered by the lack of accessibility to literature in certain communities. Sueños de Papel is working hard to change these missing spots in their community. The provision of books of various themes, from artistic activities to creative writing, journalism and feminist literature, all allows for the advancement of comprehension skills and the healthy expression of feelings and the development of a creative mind.
Through the use of literature and art, Sueños de Papel allows the youth of their area to access the tools to initiate and continue lasting change in their community.
Dance is one of Colombia’s trademarks, with a myriad of various styles inherent to our nation and a wild passion flowing through our veins. Dance itself is one of the most unifying and liberating artforms. We need not share a common language to bond with another through a good ole’ boogie. We Colombians are a lively and rhythmic group, you’ll always have a teacher nearby, willing to guide you through the steps of one of our many dance styles.
Beyond its use as a way to let loose when out on the town, dance is being employed in Medellín by actual certified dance teachers as an agent for social impact and community unification.
Son Batá in Comuna 13 and Union Latina in Marique Central of Comuna 4, are two organizations using the spirit of dance and music to provide brighter futures to the youth of their community. It was through dance that people pushed through the troubled times of the nation’s past. Dance lets us live in euphoric bliss at any moment and teaches us to operate as a community, bonding individuals from all walks of life and of all differing opinions.
The center operating Mangle, pride themselves on the unifying effect of Capoeira, which unites groups and breaks through obstacles of language, geographic origin, and ideology. Through music, we are one. This is an idea for which the organization’s founder, Lina Tobon, is a strong proponent. Through her organization of the Centro Cultural de Moravia, Lina seeks to bring a certain harmony to her community, an idea shared by all these initiatives
Moravia is another Medellín-based neighborhood that is undergoing constant change. Community members have been rapidly transforming the area to create a vibrant community space.
The space operates out of a transformed garbage tip that has been converted into a now flourishing garden, bursting with color and vivid passion that are reflective of the spirit of the owners. The area is now Medellín’s biggest flower garden and a shining example of the reinvigoration of formerly marginalized spaces for community good. Make sure not to miss it when visiting.
Art humanizes and expresses experiences of its creators, it is this ability to tell stories and convey a meaning that provides it a transformative power. All of these artistic projects are perfect examples of how art can transform communities for the better and contribute to the development of a thriving cultural capital. Contact our team over at IMPULSE to find out how we can assist in organizing visits and fulfilling travel experiences with many of these innovative artistic projects and to find out more about Medellín.
Links to the various projects:
Casa Loma Centro Cultural Facebook
Sueños de Papel
Mangle Centro Cultural
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