Cutting edge art project unites community in Chile’s capital

Residents of Santiago Centro will host international artists as they construct urban art charged with capturing the essence of the city.

A unique art project promises to engage an entire community in Santiago this November, as artists from around the world will work with students and residents on a project that seeks to distill the spirit of the city’s oldest barrios.
Nine international artists and Chilean artist Iván Navarro will live with residents from the barrios of Yungay, Brazil, and República, as they use materials from the urban environment to construct installations that will later be showcased at Santiago’s Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (MAC).
Agenda Santiago is a collaborative initiative between MAC and Centro de Arte Caja de Burgos (CAB) in Spain. Santiago is the sight of the inaugural project, but plans are in place to take it to Spain and eventually Washington D.C.
“This is one of the few art projects to bring international artists to Santiago, and it’s very refreshing,” Navarro, who currently lives in New York City, told ThisisChile. “I think it is going to be really exciting for people in the communities to see artists getting inspired by the neighborhoods they walk through every day.”
Navarro said the location was a natural choice as it represents the historical center of Santiago, with much of the architecture in the area remaining unchanged since the turn of the twentieth century.
“There is this blend of neo-classical and modern architecture in the area which you won’t find anywhere else in the city,” Navarro said. “It has such an urban feel and it is ideal for this type of project.”
Both residents and art students from across Santiago will be encouraged to interact with the artists as they construct their pieces, and the remit is to get as experimental and creative as possible.
“I think the contributing artists are going to be impressed with how active and alive the art community is in Santiago,” Navarro said. “The interesting thing is that because the buyers market is not that big in Chile, artists really do function with a high level of freedom. They are generally making pieces for the sake of art, not to be sold, and this encourages a lot of experimentation.”
The nine artists joining Navarro for Agenda Santiago are: Narda Alvarado from Bolivia,  Marcos Chaves from Brazil, Geert Goiris from Belgium, Merio Koizumi from Japan, Julia Oschatz from Germany, Lucy Skaer from the U.K., and Gonzalo Puch, Javier Arce and Mateo Maté from Spain.
The project will be on display at MAC, Quinta Normal, from November 30 to January 27. Opening hours are 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. General entry to the museum is US$1.20 (CLP 600).
For more information visit the museum’s website.