Discovering the street art scene in Spain. What will 2020 be like?

photo of the actual street art scene

The art movement spreads all over the country. Festivals, fairs and different activities represent the street art scene in Spain.

These are some of the most notorious projects:

  • Contorno Urbano, Catalunya
  • Asalto, Zaragoza
  • Galería Urbana, Salamanca
  • Menidas do Canedo, Ferrol
  • Madrid street art project

Contorno Urbano: shaping Barcelona’s street art scene

Contorno urbano foundation
Pedestrian walking in front of the artwork created for 12+1

Firstly, we woud find a project established in Catalunya.

Contorno urbano is a non-profit organization dedicated to street art and graffiti promotion. Was it the first one in Spain? Yes, working mostly in the surrounding cities of Barcelona. They try to create a close relationship between urban art and the host communities.

For example, they develop different area studies. Contorno Urbano also works in the promotion & preservation of  street art. Similarly to other projects, their actions focus on the cities and its people.

They define this term of urban creativity as the combination between art and cities, considering the communities needs of space and empowerment.

What approach does Contorno Urbano put in action?

Contorno Urbano festival
Both color and black & white were used in this mural.

There are three key factors in Contorno Urbano’s action plan:

  • First of all, they improve public spaces. Thus they enhance people’s lives
  • The empowerment and representation of the actual people who inhabit the areas where urban art can take place. This is one of the reasons why this non-profit doesn’t only work in Barcelona, but also in surrounding areas which don’t have much tourist attention.
  • Adapting art to new trends. It’s the people who choose the artists. Should public art “imposed” by the government? If that happens, there is no real context nor connection with its environment.

What sort of activities do they organize?

Street art scene in Catalunya
Urban art decoration painted by Cristina Lina. Credit: Contorno Urbano

The street art scene in Catalunya area is very active. Contorno Urbano offers activities organized for the neighbors! 

12+1 is the most iconic one. These art & cultural promoters started it in one location. As a result of its success, it spreaded to many other ones. 

The festival consists of one wall which becomes an outdoor gallery. For a year (12 months) 12 artists leave their print, each one for a month.

This means that the neighbors observe a new artwork every month. At the end of the 12 months there’s a collective show where you can see all the participants’ art, including their studio artworks. 

The original location occupied a wall in Hospitalet de Llobregat. Contorno Urbano claims that over 7000 people walk daily over this location. In other words, there is a way for people to enjoy the city’s art.

This successful art festival now takes place in three other cities, including Barcelona.

Asalto, street art scene attack.

Bhurton is an artist born and raised in Huesca
Mural created by a young local talent. His name is Bhurton

Second project is Asalto, an art organization based in Zaragoza. It works in the production of cultural events. As a result, they create a constant creative flux in urban spaces.

What are the goals that they established?

Picture from Contorno Urbano at Alfamen
Imagine visiting a small town like this and observe the best street art scene?

This organization aims to create art in new spaces through:

  • A dialogue with its people,
  • The promotion and access to culture,
  • Exploration of different local identities. 

How will they achieve these goals? For instance, by creating a series of cultural events. Artists do not only paint murals in open and big spaces, but they also organize educational activities for all audiences.

Asalto  Festival and other initiatives.

Beautiful street art decoration
Photography is closely related to urban art. Are you into it?

Asalto Festival is probably their most successful achievement. This International Urban Art Festival started in 2005, and so far it is still running.

In addition to being the oldest urban art festival in Spain, it has brought together a very impressive collection of worldwide artists.

Every year, multiple discipline’s representatives take part in this cultural event. It is held in the historical centre of Zaragoza, Aragon’s capital city.

The festival is articulated in three main axes, among others. For example:

  • Art in the streets, free, accessible to everybody.
  • Spaces in between and out of use. Turning places into a different element through art.
  • People’s participation. This Festival works towards people’s involvement. They want everybody participating.

Asalto organizes a wide number of initiatives, such as the street art project Barrioh!, which takes place in a small neighborhood in Huesca.

Above all, they organize workshops and educational programs, as well as specific interventions in other cities.

Galería Urbana. The best street art scene in Salamanca.

Mural painted in a facade
Mural painted by Argentinian artist Milu Corroch.

Thirdly, we would find Salamanca, which is not only famous for its historic architecture, but also for its street art scene.

Galería Urbana is a project born in conjunction. It is represented by an art-collective duo called Lemarte and ZOES, a neighbors’ association in Barrio del Oeste, an outskirts’ area called.

This collaboration seems to be the perfect combination. Lemarte gives the artistic insight, whilst ZOES gives that social function touch. We believe that in order to become a successful project, it is necessary to add this component.

One united power taking advantage of the space.

Blue hands with white lines
Metal shutters are decorated every year in Salamanca.

There exists a common aspect present in the art promotion. Each corner of any given city deserves the attention of the cultural industry to make its inhabitants proud of their neighborhood.

Spanish cities have a strong concept of “Barrio” (neighborhood). It is probably one of the most important aspects of Spaniards’ daily lives. In other words, this vital need of barrio is constantly referenced in artists’ works.

Barrio del Oeste is a 15 minutes walk distance from the historical centre.

It’s thanks to this initiative that not only visitors, but also people from Salamanca are rediscovering their own city. As a result, the area gets positive attention, and maybe you’ll end up eating in those amazing Tapas bars in the adjacent streets.

Galería Urbana, the street art Festival.

Photography of the street art scene in Salamanca
Detailed picture taken by R2hox. Source: Flickr

Galeria Urbana is an outdoors event that has taken place for nearly 9 years.

The main element of this festival is the location where it takes place. The place chosen is an area which features a large number of garage doors and metal shutters. This makes Salamanca feature an open air museum!

Similarly to what happens with other festivals, submissions are opened to participate in the event. Artists who want to take part in the current year’s edition have two chances to do so: young/ nouvelle artists whose maximum age is 30 years old, and another category for more consecrated creators.

Meninas de Canido, An urban art festival about ‘court ladies’.

Meanwhile, we could find a really cool route created by contemporary artist Eduardo Hermida in the northern part of A Coruña, Galicia . He is an arts teacher born in Ferrol.

The story of how this cultural task was born is quite intriguing. Eduardo Hermida decided one day to give life to the facade of a grey building in his neighborhood. Consequently, he painted his own version of what is now a giant art icon in Spanish art history: A Menina (court lady)

This word may ring a bell if you visited Madrid’s Prado Museum to check Velazquez’s most famous painting, Las Meninas .

Canido, a neighborhood in need of some colour (and good vibes)

Street art scene in Galicia
Mural created by Spanish street art artist Sfhir, 2018

This area has always been hometown to many working class families. Its people used to work in the fishing & naval industries. Ferrol’s community suffered an economic recession related to the production of shipyards.

A lot of people lost their jobs, and had to deal with a sadness feeling for a long time. However it brought tourism to the city.

The street art in Galicia represented by many Meninas. They are all over the city!

Stret art painting in Galicia
You can expect to step with an urban art wall in every corner.

This small artistic gesture, founded by Mr. Hermido, has become a nationally known festival. It brings together artists and neighbors for a big art party. It recently became a festival, since the early additions were collaboration projects between artists.

From Eduardo’s first Menina painted in 2008, now there are over 20 of them painted all over Ferrol’s old town. 

Madrid’s street art scene

Okudart in Metro Madrid
An art project curated at Paco de Lucía metro station

Last but not least, we could find Madrid Street Art Project . An independent cultural association created in 2012. They are clearly aligned with urban art and the promotion of local talent.

They started with some ideas & very important aspects in mind. For instance:

  • To produce projects and activities related with street art,
  • Educating all sorts of audiences about the street art scene, and its artists,
  • Widely extend and support street art in public spaces.

What is MSAP’s course of action?

Chalk paint in Madrid

Above all, these art curators and cultural promoters, based in Madrid, are interested in how the urban landscapes could be related to street art. As a consequence of their studies, art which takes place in the streets could serve as an open place to empower different ways of thinking.

Among their goals is to improve public spaces through art and culture. 

3 Street art festivals that you should check in Madrid

Street art tour in Madrid
Street art tour in Madrid

There’s three big festivals which take place in the most alternative and lively parts of the Spanish capital:

  • C.A.L.L.E in Lavapiés: a street art festival organized in collaboration with Lavapiés business association. This festival will celebrate its 7th edition in 2020, and it invites artists not only from the area, but also from other Spanish regions.
  • Pinta Malasaña: it takes place in Malasaña. It has been celebrated for 4 years in a row, and each edition counts with over 100 artists decorating public spaces.

Besides these two yearly appointments, Madrid Street Art Project is also responsible for Muros Tabacalera, as well as other similar initiatives in Madrid outskirt areas.

Our opinion on the street art scene in Spain.

The Spanish street art scene has a lot of options for all sorts of artists and audiences. One thing is for sure: Our artists and art promoters are unstoppable!

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