On many occasions, people who are in a situation of vulnerability just need someone to show them the path they have to travel to escape this situation. One way that has proven its effectiveness is to come into contact with art, since creative processes empower people and generate collectivity. Precisely with this premise as a flag, the program Art for Change of the La Caixa Foundation It aims to equip the most disadvantaged population with the appropriate tools to participate in culture and, at the same time, seize the opportunity to leave behind social instability.
Every year, Art for Change selects initiatives from cultural entities and artists who develop their projects involving the participation of groups in vulnerable situations or people from the same environment or neighborhood, “with the aim of promoting processes of social transformation,” according to sources from the organization.
In total, since it began its activity in 2007, the program has supported 421 projects throughout Spain and, for the year that begins, the La Caixa Foundation will allocate a total of 399,320 euros to 19 new projects related to the plastic arts, photography, video, music, literature, theater, dance and the circus.
On this occasion, the projects will have a double handicap as happened in the previous call due to the health crisis: “In the current context of pandemic, art and culture have been reaffirmed as fundamental elements for well-being and social cohesion, so that Art for Change it makes even more sense, if possible ”, highlighted Gloria Andreu, head of the program.
In the last call, 19 projects were also selected from a sample of 224 proposals submitted. This shows both the interest on the part of associations and NGOs, as well as the thoroughness of the selection process. This involves passing a first artistic evaluation and, later, a technical-social evaluation. The objective is that the initiatives serve to promote the personal development of the participants, act as an element of social inclusion and, in addition, reinforce concepts such as identity and self-confidence. Thus, the proposals selected in 2021 will be carried out in the provinces of Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Granada, Córdoba, Castellón, León and Badajoz, and more than 1,400 people in vulnerable situations will participate in them.
Among the projects with the highest acceptance is Far from the hectic reality, consisting of the launch of a documentary play and the making of a feature film with homeless people, all of them living together in the Monastery of the Immaculate Conception in Loeches (Madrid).
In addition, Dance the dance without seeing it is another of the initiatives that has aroused the most interest: it is, in this case, a proposal that will promote the access of people with visual disabilities to the creation and staging of contemporary dance pieces. Finally, it has also been widely accepted Listen to change, listen to change, a musical project to create soundscapes based on the cultural diversity of the Lavapiés neighborhood of Madrid.
The success of previous editions
Some of the proposals that are already part of the history of Art for Change they still receive praise from the public and their participants. It is the case of Refugee dreams, a participatory photography project that began in 2016, aimed at young migrants or asylum seekers, in which each of the authors received a camera. The objective was to develop his creative process and, in this way, give visibility to a total of 1,500 snapshots thanks to an outdoor exhibition.
Another project related to refugees, this time in Madrid, also had an excellent reception a year later. A lair with light focused on giving a voice to these migrants so that they could make their problems visible. For this, dance and theater workshops were developed, mixing professional actors and actresses with people at risk of social exclusion, at the same time that the representation of a written text was developed that had song and dance as protagonists.
Already in 2018 and in the field of literature, Young divers @ s it was erected as a collective creation process using fictional narrative to address issues related to gender identity and traditional sexual roles. The participants were able to enjoy the literary experience while explaining who they are and how they feel, directly addressing the situations of discrimination they have suffered and how they face sexual diversity.
In the last pre-pandemic year it got underway, again thanks to Art for Change, the radio soap opera They wanted arms and we got people. In this work, the protagonists are different women who work in domestic jobs. The script was developed collaboratively through different sessions that resulted in a podcast and a play staged by the authors of the text themselves.
Finally, in 2020, one of the star projects arrived from Córdoba. Aural Kitchen It served to bring visually impaired people closer to artistic practice, through gastronomic integration and sensory exploration. The participants created sound recipes, that is, musical compositions that emerged from the sounds captured during the preparation of different dishes.