HISTORY // PURPOSE
The Guapamacátaro Hacienda was built in the late 1800’s and is located in the culturally rich Purepecha region of Mexico (northern Michocán state), 1.5 hours East from Morelia and 2.5 hours West from Mexico City. Nearby towns include Maravatío, Tlalpujahua and El Oro. It has been a family ranch for 4 generations, and an active hub for the cultural and agricultural production of the area. The facilities, set on rural farmland, are comprised of living quarters for up to 10 people, several studios, large common areas and ample outdoor space.
The project was launched in 2006 by Mexican artist and curator Alicia Marván, with the objective to communicate and implement sustainable alternatives for development, utilizing art and ecology as tools. Its conceptual framework includes ecology in a broad sense, not limited to its common association with the preservation of the natural environment. All components of the local ecosystem (human, natural and artificial) and their relationship to each other are subject of inquiry, creativity and growth.
CONTEXT // RELEVANCE
In Mexico, many rural zones like Guapamacátaro lack cultural opportunities. This phenomenon is due to a complex web of factors such as the priority to fulfill basic needs, economic migration, globalization and lack of support from the public and private sectors. Consequently, this deficiency contributes to severe social issues including alcoholism, violence, repression and learning disabilities. At the same time, many rural zones in México present a high level of ecologic degradation, due primarily to poor education.
Our program addresses these two very important issues. Through education and community organizing, we are creating a more sustainable network of people, technology and resources. Our programming involves local people of all ages in an array of cultural activities: workshops, round tables, exhibitions, performances and screenings. Subjects have included various art techniques, aesthetic appreciation, resource management, organic agriculture and craft making with natural and recycled materials. Already, these new activities are generating a great amount of positive change in society.