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Quito: Space for Contemporary Art

Quito: Space for Contemporary Art

Posted by Juan Gavasa on October 10, 2014

Since it's founding in 2011, the Contemporary Art Center (CAC) in Quito has served as Ecuador's premiere space for the contemporary art in Ecuador. Through workshops, forums and events free and open to the public, CAC has made its mission to heighten involvement and spark community interest in contemporary art.

While its history as a space for the arts is a short one, the building was constructed in 1900 under President Eloy Alfaro, where it served as a hospital for a fort held in Quito and later on as a cuartel. By 1979, the building had been abandoned, during which time it was illegally occupied by various families.

Gledys Aresias, a mediator at CAC, described this period for TeleSUR. He said, “Many families were living here, and they were families that had their businesses, mechanic shops, small bakers, and a few gardens where they would sell plants with healing properties. So many families were living here. Until in 2006 the restoration fund in Quito, known as Fonsal, decided to rehabilitate the building, they kicked out the families, and the building was re-inaugurated in 2008 for the bicentenary celebration in Quito.”

Having undergone extensive renovations, the building eventually became the site of the CAC, which is part of the Foundations for Museums in Quito. With an extensive floor plan illuminated by natural light, CAC features an auditorium, educational classrooms for workshops, and rooms featuring the various exhibitions passing through, featuring renowned national and international artists such as Tomas Ochoa and Vik Muñiz.

“We do not have a permanent collection, but shows that are changing all the time. And in these changes we have the capacity to access another public. So our strategy is to have activities like forums, workshops, clinics, laboratories that permit that people can become interested and so that they can have a different type of contact, a contact that is participatory with contemporary art,” said Maria Dolores Ortiz, the head of educational initiatives at CAC.

A community garden is open to residents living near the museum, and it's open daily for school groups to come learn and interact with contemporary artwork.

On community participation, she went on to say, “We have also had continuous work with the neighborhood, which is the San Juan neighborhood, and they participate, they even come here sometimes to have their neighborhood meetings. So in this way we are all the time looking for ways to put ourselves out there and listen to what are the necessities of the community, and how to create this link with contemporary art, from our context.”

Drawing, painting, photography, dance and cinema are some of the workshops open to the public to explore.

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