Cult of the Week: Fanzara, Unfinished Museum of Urban Art


Unfinished Museum of Urban Art

  Fanzara, a village deep in the mountains of East Spain, on between Valencia and Barcelona, surrounded by orange and olive trees, and crossed by a river that has overflown occasionally elsewhere;  inhabited by 330, mostly traditional pensioners, has become the first Unfinished Museum of Urban Art, although rough similarities can be found in New York and Berlin.

  The contrast of modern daring graffiti painted on a base of rural buildings welcomes the increasing amount of visitors.  At the open air contemporary graffiti gallery, described by The Guardian as a “Cultural Triumph”, you can enjoy during a morning or afternoon colourful stroll, dozens of graffiti, sculptures, installations, murals and quotes of the traditional and particular vocabulary of the town; starting at one bar, and finishing at the other.

 The collective does not exist as a closed group, as they invite artists from all around Spain and Europe.  The artists, though, must involve the residents in the creative process.  The first time, a couple of Septembers ago, around 24 artists were invited for a long weekend, with the offer of freely expressing their art, a bed at one of the neighbours and meals for the weekend.

  Graffiti artists paint your house if you put yourself forwards.  However, if you want to choose the design, a fee applies.  Perhaps slightly unsure to begin with, there are more and more neighbours lifting their barriers and putting their walls forward, “adopting” the artist for the weekend.

  MIAU (meow!) stands for Museo Inacabado de Arte Urbano (Unfinished Museum of Urban Art),  of which a cat is the representative mascot.  Unfinished, as murals would need to be repainted as the weather leaves its mark.  Besides, new competitions are planned every year, so new additions are expected.  It’s a growing project, as with expanding popularity, both nationally and internationally, more and more artists are expressing their interest in being part of the project.  The third edition of the festival will take place next July.  So, get in touch if you want to exhibit your art.  Miau Fanzara

  The art festival, with its exhibitions, workshops, films and splash of creativity, competes with a much more traditional and typical festival mid October, “las Fiestas”, kind of like a village fest, that lasts 5 days, although it used to be 10, and with much more drinking.  There are processions, church events, orchestras that go on until early hours, community meals, children games, fire works, lots and lots of fire crackers, and bullfighting were the local boys show how macho they are according to how close they get to the big bulls or slimmer cows.  Medieval Fairs, as in the rest of the province, have also had a success in recent years. They are similar to the British ones except, perhaps, no falconry is usually involved.


Fanzara map

Fanzara town map




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