On La Paz’ streets it is increasingly common to look at diverse artistic expressions. There are more wall paintings, either more sculptures, or monuments, and there is also a group of poets who called themselves “Acción Poética” (Poetic Action), whose task is to assault public spaces writing down their verses on the walls.
At El Alto, a sparkling city of aymara migrants with a population of one million inhabitants, the situation is very different. Nonetheless, from now on it will have the Free Art Gallery, the first open space that will exhibit large-scale artwork and that may be the beginning of a change in this great community located 15 minutes from La Paz.
With both a new architecture and artistic style for El Alto, this square is opened at the Nuevos Horizontes neighborhood. The artwork constitutes the corollary of the Arte Joven initiative, that began as a contest in order to give an opportunity to the young artists.
Arte Joven was conceived as a contest to award economic incentives to the young painters and sculpturs, as well as training in workshops with artists of international trajectory. But furthermore, the 8 winning artworks, (out of the 340 that were presented) were resized on large-scale, four sculptures and four paintings, and were placed in the gallery for permanent exhibition.
The World Bank’s team in Bolivia adopted the Arte Joven organisation as a participatory activity, and to promote the joint work, and along with the municipal government of El Alto and the company I3, the work began. In August 2012, during a working and solidarity journey a symbolic beginning was given to this endeavor, when not only the inhabitants of Nuevos Horizontes but the World Bank’s personnel together and united, with shovels, picks, and wheelbarrows cleaned up the debris of the place.
For Faris Hadad-Zervos, the World Bank’s representantive in Bolivia who led the team, “the experience of sharing a working journey with neighbors and our families was a lesson of solidarity and fellowship, but above all this, it has made us feel very useful”.