Mexico-based collective Guapamacátaro Center for Art and Ecology, which has been up and running since 2006, is a perfect example of the opportunities for community-building, environmentalism, and artistry. Founded by artist Alicia Marván, the organization invites artists, scientists, architects, and social and environmental activists to come to a rural community in the Purepecha region of Michoacan, Mexico – a place that is in a unique place isolated enough to be close to nature, but also close enough to the realities of socioeconomic issues that it must address them. Think a modern Walden Pond, just with more actual people (I love Thoreau, but the guy was so self-involved).
The Center, which rehabilitated an abandoned farm in the region to use as a basecamp, is similarly attempting rehabilitate the local culture and community through art programs, artisanship, and basic environmental services. Programs by artists span from installing a community garden, to a documentary video encouraging locals to reflect on their water usage, to museum-y site-specific art installations – which I think is so exciting. The center shows the potential for artists to really help build a cultural community in a place that is lacking due to economic hardships, while also developing their own art practice. And they’re doing wonders for the perception of environmental artists as self-involved hippies.
Here’s some of the art that’s come out of the Center:Photographs by Lorena Endara, part of a series documenting local artisans. Karla Hernando Flores‘ Los Guapos Restaurant, a program incorporating art, nutrition, and community building. Riverbed installation by Daniel Cristobal
Pics courtesy of Guapamacataro.org and LorenaEndara.com