New cultural center for San Joaquin community in Santiago

The US$2 million center provides more than 1,200 square meters of arts space for residents of the borough, with a 420-seat theater, music hall, visual arts gallery, painting rooms and dance workshops, along with a recording studio.

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There’s more for culture-lovers to look forward to in Santiago with the opening of a new arts center on Nov. 25 in the Chilean capital’s municipality of San Joaquin.

The center is the latest in the country’s Cultural Centers Program run by Chile’s Council for National Culture and the Arts (CNCA). With the aim of bringing high quality cultural centers to communities of more than 50,000 inhabitants across the country, the program has already opened centers in the cities of Puerto Montt, Valdivia and Rancagua, as well as several other municipalities of Santiago.

The inauguration of the San Joaquin center was attended by Culture Minister Luciano Cruz-Coke and the mayor of San Joaquin, Sergio Echeverría, and has been welcomed by the municipality.

“Before, we had to wait for spring and summer to hold outdoor cultural events, because if we held them in winter we had to invest in tents, lighting and technical equipment,” said Mayor Echeverría in Chilean newspaper El Mercurio. “This has changed completely with our new cultural center, which is for us a source of great satisfaction and pride.”

Along with more shows and live performances for the general public, the center will be a boon to the more than 70 cultural organizations in San Joaquin. It will also support its annual multicultural festival, the popular Carnaval Latinoamericano San Antonio de Padua, which will now be held at the site.

“This performing arts space is one of the largest built by the Cultural Centers Program” said Juan Lund, the head of Infrastructure for the CNCA. “Its performance facilities and acoustics will become a benchmark.” Lund highlighted the center’s stagecraft and visual arts education areas, audio-visual facilities and handicrafts spaces.

A Chilean music gala held Friday Nov. 26 was among the first events to be hosted by the new center, featuring local bands, well-known groups Congreso and Inti Illimani, and a tango show.