I had Open Day in Poblenou marked in my calendar for over a month. So when the day finally came, I put on my best sneakers and headed out to the Urban District to check out what all the galleries, foundations, and unique spaces had to offer.
Artists against war
My first stop was at the Fundacio Palo Alto, where there was a transformation of the usual space in order to host an auction and exhibition “Artists Against War ”. The collection was created by influential Ukrainian artists living here in Barcelona and featured musical performances along with tables in the shade serving chips, vermouth, and other snacks. The exhibition runs from May 7 to the 27th, and the sale of the works will be 40% for the artist and 60% for the purchase of medical equipment. It was an honor to be in the presence of such incredible talent and for such a great cause. For my first exhibit of the day, not a bad start at all.
From the sidewalk, a large iron gate was open and I could hear guitar strings beckoning me in. When I first turned the corner into the garden area, it felt like a separate world from the street I had just walked off of. Attendees were seated in chairs sipping their drinks enjoying the music, and some were purchasing art and shirts from the artists lined up along the edge of the performance area.
Under the tree canopies, kids were coloring a copy of one of the art pieces being auctioned. I enjoyed the performance from the sidelines for a bit, and then wandered into the airy open door gallery room, where the pieces were on display. Each was striking in its own way, and the collection as a whole asks the viewer to consider opposites: the masculine and feminine, fragility and strength and the dichotomy of nudity in the face of war with the values we know as freedom, tolerance, and humanity. In the words of the exhibit, the crisis in Ukraine has “put these values into question overnight.”
Carrer de Pujadas
After Palo Alto, I headed towards Carrer de Pujadas where the lineup was strong. First I popped into MORYARTY, a charming poster store featuring vintage prints and plants. The entryway was full of foliage, and large glass french doors welcomed visitors inside the shop where posters lined the walls and for every 20 Euros there was a complimentary beer on tap. The music playing was groovy and everyone seemed excited to be there. It’s a great spot with posters of art featured all over the world and I may have even made a small purchase myself.
A couple doors down, I ate lunch at ValKiria which was packed with people speaking all sorts of languages. I ate a vegetable rice dish, and afterwards walked into the Valkiria Hub Space, an event space that had an art room for the day. Tapestries with paint hung in the room, with shapes and blotches reminiscent of the Rorschach test.
Later I walked down another block into the L’Idem Barcelona, a college for students in the creative arts. Students were selling their original prints, and a short student-produced animated film was on display for visitors. It was a great sneak peek inside the life of a student, and made me reconsider the degree I’m working on back home in the US. After all, who wouldn’t want to have their figurine sculptures on display?
On my last leg of the sunny afternoon I came across La Plataforma, a smaller space packed with a bumping DJ booth and people enjoying the beer and art. The exhibition was called “Construcciones analógicas”, and featured large installations with monitors, and two massive prints part of a piece titled “5 Minutes Late,” photos depicting a character escaping a fire of self consumption. The exhibit will stay until June 5th, and it’s worth checking out while exploring the Poblenou Urban District.
For those worried about missing out on the festivities, most of these places will be hosting these exhibits for the next month or so. The Poblenou area was somewhat more unfamiliar to me, but after Open Day, it became clear that the neighborhood is teeming with creativity and talent and it certainly has not seen the last of me.
By Leah Pratley
About the author
Hello! I’m a student at the University of Oregon studying abroad in Barcelona for 8 weeks. I’m excited to be here and contribute to Frikifish, which allows me to explore the city and all of the incredible art it has to offer. I enjoy reading, writing, going to museums, and the beach. That being said, I couldn’t picture a better place than Barcelona. Hope you enjoy following along with me!