L’Hospitalet de Llobregat could become a referencial city in the catalan horizon. It has all the ingredients to be it: strategic location -between Barcelona’s port and airport- a new financial district: the square in Europe, with hotels and conferences designed for leading brands, welcoming international events such as the Mobile World Congress; personal initiative of citizens, and a left government willing to demonstrate that economic growth may be accompanied by cultural and social engagement. Since January the city, with the advice of the philosopher Josep Ramoneda, is undergoing an unusual event: a cultural summit, called Where is L’Hospitalet, which brought together more than 70 people from the world of art and culture, and participated actively and enthusiastically in shaping the future citizens.
L’Hospitalet can become the Catalan Brooklyn? Comparison with the American city is key if the city wants to make the jump to the economy from manufacturing to innovation. The benchmark Brooklyn before teaches us that art is playing a crucial role ina post-industrial transformation: the city can not project innovation without encouraging creativity’germ: the art. That’s why I’ll try to answer the question posed considering each of five areas that, in my opinion, make up the main structure within the art world: artists, training schools, creative space, the space of diffusion and finally the integration of the work of art in society.
Firstly the artists. Hospitalet must attract more artists. But how to make the city attractive for them? First Hospitalet City Council should go to art schools of Catalonia and report on things that interest to artists: first, accurate information about L’H workshops in old factories (with prices, square meters, and groups of artists resident), and secondly, proving that artists have in Hospitalet tht possibility of spreading their projects.
If you attract good artists, Hospitalet is more likely to enter into a virtuous spiral well understood by the Anglo-Saxons: the city will fashion come galleries, bars and restaurants, art contribute to the growth of an economy of quality. Now is a good opportunity because art spaces in Barcelona have collapsed: people years ago left the Gothic Quarter, and now is the turn of Poble Nou.
This brings me to the second point. The spaces of crativity. It is necessary that the City agreed with the owners of the factories (like Can Freixas) a substantial reduction in the price of recycled and spacious workshops. In return, the council can undertake to publicize the factory in art schools. It should also require that the factories allocated spaces for the dissemination of artists’ residents. In addition, there is a worrying fact: artists lately are leaving Freixas because prices can not fall.
Diffusion spaces. It is not useful to appeal artists if they can’t display their work. Both the room and the key cultural centers of different districts should commit to give space to exhibit contemporary art by artists of the city. Brooklyn Museum has consistently proposed activities with local artists, and also involving the public with innovative approaches to social networks. All this is done in Hospitalet. Also there must be art critics and curators who coordinated contemporary art exhibitions in the city so they can have quality and notoriety beyond Hospitalet.
The integration of art in society. In Hospitalet there is no art market, easily demonstrable telling the galleries established. And the art market tends to be one of the main lubricants of artistic structure. But there is an alternative public works and buildings that have a functional target: the City Council has made it possible for art projects have presence in the city: the sculptures and paintings created in the factories could become monuments in the city. In case there is no money for production, it could offset the artist whose art has visibility. Their works could also be explained in other parts of the city, the metro, La Rambla or the markets. Also, the city’s artists can collaborate on educational projects: go to school and make murals decorate the halls, transmit creativity. This initiative would also bring social fruit, because art has a great potential of social cohesion.
Hospitalet must therefore construct a clear structure: calling artists to create enabling spaces, spaces to spread the art of creation and integration in the city. The above proposals seem feasible and inexpensive. In my opinion, the City has two strong leads that do not have private initiative: diffusing (press, television …) and finally the ability to cohesion and unity existing between the subjects.