The worst moments always leave wounds and duels to heal, but they are also the perfect breeding ground for ingenuity and creativity, to extract talent, with the ultimate goal of survival. The coronavirus pandemic has taken many small and medium performing arts companies ahead, which could not endure the months of activity stoppage. At the same time, it has given the impetus that the members of the Leonés Dramatic Center Association lacked to implement a project that they had been thinking about for years. Overall, what did they have to lose?
This 2021, the year of ‘vaccination’, ‘Sowing culture’ has sprung up, the first association of the arts in León with 18 city councils in the south of the province. “It is a project product of the pandemic, which has started in the worst circumstances but has also exploded out of necessity,” the president of the employer’s association, Enrique López, told this medium. “The covid forced us to stop and that makes you think. Perhaps without it this would not have gone ahead. Or yes, but within ten years. I do not know,” he adds.
Algadefe, Cabreros del Río, Castilfalé, Cimanes de la Vega, Fresno de la Vega, Fuentes de Carbajal, Gordoncillo, Gusendos de los Oteros, Izagre, Laguna de Negrillos, Matadeón de los Oteros, Pobladura de Pelayo García, San Millán de los Caballeros , Toral de los Guzmanes, Valdemora, Valderas, Villademor de la Vega and Villamañán have been the first to trust them, ‘giving’ their cultural budget to organize a stable and varied calendar of activities throughout the year to put in value the resources of an area traditionally very neglected and with little cultural relevance.
“There has always been a tendency to concentrate cultural activities in the villages in the summer months. It seems that they are made for tourists, and not! They have to be done for the people of those villages, for those who keep them alive in winter, which is very long, “emphasizes López. Better use of municipal economic resources, without costing the Councils a single euro more, is translated through Sowing Culture into a couple of activities a month in different locations in each City Council, “because something else that is usually done in the towns is to carry out the activities at the head of the municipality. Culture is a right of everyone, also of the residents of the smallest towns. And that is precisely the intention, that the population moves, gathers … Create a dynamic, a habit “. “Another custom is to organize everything on the same day and at the same time. With Sembrando Cultura we prevent that from happening. Things can be done in different towns around the same date, for example August 15, the day of the Assumption of the Virgin, but at different times and in nearby places. In this way we would promote exactly the flow we want. Knowing and recognizing different locations “.
The initiative, perfectly exportable to other parts of the province and already being studied in different areas of Bierzo and Maragatería, has created two jobs so far. “I know that it is not much but there are two people who now have jobs and not before. Little by little great things are being done and we must not forget that culture accounts for 3.2% of the national GDP, which is more than construction although it is less ‘visible’ perhaps “.
At a time when the industry seems to turn its back on León once again, with the threat of almost 400 layoffs in one of the largest companies in León, LM Windpower, culture could be a pole to promote. “We have to bet hard on what we have and we have enormous strengths. We continue to wait for a white elephant, in the form of a saving industry, which does not arrive. Only people come cashing a check that when it runs out, leaves. Why not support it. What do we have here? Those people who really make a province. Other countries with much less do more, “he says.
The future, for López, involves working more and more in a network. Sowing Culture is a small sample of this, which “does not cost more” to the City Councils but which, in return, collects “a visibility of its towns and its activities never seen before”.
Summer will be “loaded” with music, theater, dance, conferences, exhibitions, photography, cinema … For children, adults and family audiences. A program that lasts until December. At Christmas, it connects with the Magic Festival, which brings shows to almost a hundred towns thanks to the Diputación de León. “And we are already thinking about what we will do next year. We have to sow culture because something will germinate and almost everything that comes out of culture is usually good.”
Spectators have been able to enjoy, so far, the festival ‘Bajo tierra. Theater of the least ‘in the Valderas wineries the first weekend of August or the Gordoncillo Clown Festival the second. All activities, schedules and locations on your website SembrandoCultura.es