- Its inaugural exhibitions having come to an end, the Fundación Botín presented a positive report on how Botín Centre’s first few months had gone, and issued its thanks for the response it has drawn since opening.
- Now summer is over, the Fundación will focus on achieving Botín Centre’s long-term goals: contributing to the personal development of all Cantabrians and wealth creation in the region, and establishing its artistic programme on the international stage.
- Since its doors opened, 7,314 people have participated in the centre’s training activities, and the first school visits have taken place; a university course on the development of creativity via the arts (with over 100 pre-enrolments) has been launched; and in October and November two new courses will be held on arts, emotions and creativity for adults and families.
The chief executive of the Fundación Botín, Íñigo Sáenz de Miera, highlighted in this morning’s press conference the exceptional response of Cantabrian society to Botín Centre since its opening on 23 June, confirming that they were “very grateful”. “These three months of activity have witnessed the achievement of one of this project’s key objectives: Establishing Botín Centre, in its location between the city centre and its bay, as an art and culture-based meeting place in Santander. We are very pleased with how everything is going; it’s good to have a good start, but it’s the long-term that really matters”.
During the event, which also featured the participation of Botín Centre’s executive director, Fátima Sánchez, and artistic director, Benjamin Weil, Sáenz of Miera recalled that for Botín Centre long-term success means contributing to generating social development, by harnessing the potential of the arts to awaken creativity, a goal – that of generating development – shared with the Government of Cantabria and Santander City Council, with whom the Fundación Botín has collaborated actively prior to the advent of Botín Centre.
In these three months of activity, 103,787 people have attended exhibitions and participated in Botín Centre activities. Moreover, 792,608 have come along to find out about the most important project the Fundación Botín has ever undertaken.
To date, 110,224 Passes have been issued. These are cards entitling the citizens of Cantabria to free and unrestricted access to the exhibitions. Likewise, the new art centre can already draw on the support of 6,011 Friends.
The Fundación Botín also took the opportunity to thank all the companies who have sponsored Botín Centre so far – the Ramón Areces Fundación, ‘La Caixa’ Banking Foundation, the Fundación Mutua Madrileña, Viesgo, Orange Spain, the Fundación Prosegur, Vocento, Diario Montañés, Unidad Editorial, JC Decaux and Prisa – for their contribution to the construction of a more creative society via the arts. Thus, in Sáenz of Miera’s words, “along with all of them, the Fundación Botín shares an interest in reinforcing and driving forward social, cultural and economic revitalization in Cantabria”. Thanks were also extended to the strategic partners who collaborated with Botín Centre to develop the Carsten Höller show: Inelcom and Colección Olor Visual.
EXHIBITIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Since it opened, 96,473 people have passed through Botín Centre’s exhibition rooms to attain first-hand knowledge of the centre’s inaugural exhibitions programme: Carsten Höller’s first show in Spain (“Y”, which ran from 23 June until 10 September); the most significant exhibition of Goya’s drawings in our country, jointly organised with the Museo del Prado (“Agility and Audacity. Goya’s drawings”, which closed last Sunday), and “Art at the turn of the century”, an initial presentation of the Fundación Botín Collection, which will be modified, with new works being unveiled throughout 2018.
Regarding visitor numbers for the exhibitions, it is worth highlighting the fact that 42.93% were citizens of Cantabria, while 48.34% were from the rest of Spain, and 8.73% were from abroad.
The finishing touch was brought to the inaugural exhibitions programme by the most wide-ranging programme of training and cultural activities of recent years. A compendium of 85 initiatives in the first three months related to the visual arts, music, cinema, theatre, dance and literature, for which the common denominator was quality and creativity. A total of 7,314 people took part in this programme, of which approximately 2,500 enjoyed the experience-visits and mediator-visits in this initial quarter of activity. The latter were the visitors who became more deeply acquainted both with Botín Centre and with its artistic programming. Guided itineraries to discover the details of the building designed by Renzo Piano, the experience-based proposals to get deeper into Höller’s work and journeys to the heart of art via a theatre-based focus on Goya’s drawings elicited a great response. Tickets always ran out.
Similarly, Botín Centre has established new spaces for new formats within the framework of programming which has featured classical music, jazz, pop, rock and electronic music for all audiences: children, families, young people and adults; and in which 3,504 people have participated.
This summer a course was held on the arts, emotions and creativity for children, the result of research undertaken with Yale University, along with dance, illustration and literature workshops; masterclasses, cinema seasons and performing arts activities completed the opening programming.
Looking to the future, and with the aim of engendering social development by harnessing the potential of the arts to awaken creativity, in the future the new art centre will reinforce the programmes for the visual arts and training with which the Fundación Botín has traditionally achieved very good results, a roadmap underpinned by three strategic axes: training, research and dissemination.
Botín Centre’s training mission is to inspire people in terms of attitude and creativity in order for them to be able to fulfil their wish to improve their own lives and surroundings. The aim is to facilitate access to and interaction with the arts for all audiences, using their enormous potential for developing emotional intelligence and creativity. Thus, along with grants and workshops led by international artists, Botín Centre works in parallel on innovative programmes in the training field, like the Master’s Degree in Social, Emotional and Creative Education, now in its seventh edition in partnership with the Faculty of Education of the University of Cantabria, or the first programme for development of creative thought via the arts for university students (C! Program), which is also run in collaboration with the University of Cantabria, and aimed at all degree courses. This innovative proposal – coordinated by the expert in creative thought, Carlos Luna – will commence in the second quarter of the 2017/2018 academic year, with a duration of 30 hours per course. At the end, students will be awarded a certificate accrediting their creative talent for taking on new professional and personal challenges, skills which are highly valued in an increasingly complex labour market.
Additionally, in the last quarter of the year there will be two further courses geared towards adults and families, respectively. Their aim is to develop participants’ emotional and creative skills by means of the arts, by following methodologies produced by research undertaken by the Fundación Botín in collaboration with Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.
Similarly, during the current academic year, Botín Centre will reinforce the ReflejArte programme, a unique educational resource for nurturing children’s creativity through art, which impacts directly on the way kids learn, and on their development. It is a pioneering training proposal on a world level developed in partnership with Yale University, one of the world’s top educational institutions, and is supported by “La Caixa” Banking Foundation, with whom Botín Centre signed a partnership agreement in June to jointly develop this programme at Botín Centre and also contribute to its expansion to all primary and secondary schools in Cantabria. To this end, Botín Centre and “La Caixa” Banking Foundation have already completed the design of this academic year’s edition of the ReflejArte programme, based around the Julie Mehretu exhibition, and have made contact with the 237 infants’ primary and secondary schools and high schools in the region to offer them the chance to participate in it via work sessions for pupils at Botín Centre’s exhibitions rooms every morning starting from 13 October.
Thus, to date and thanks to this initiative, more than 30,000 Cantabrian pupils have improved their self-esteem, empathy and emotional intelligence, as well as other social and creative skills which are key to achieving academic and lifelong success.
The research into drawing by great Spanish masters from all periods, and artistic dissemination by means of international exhibitions produced by the Fundación itself, which are the result of its research and training programmes, complete the three axes on which the organisation’s artistic programme is based. In these terms, “Julie Mehretu. A Universal History of Everything and Nothing”, will open to the general public on 12 October. It will be the most important European Julie Mehretu retrospective to date, and the exhibition which will bring to a close Botín Centre exhibitions programme in this its first year of existence.
Vicente Todolí, President of the Visual Arts Advisory Committee at Fundación Botín, and Suzanne Cotter, director of the Museu de Arte Contemporánea Serralves (Porto), the Fundación Botín’s partner in the joint organisation of the show, will be the exhibition’s curators. Internationally considered to be one of her generation’s most outstanding artists, in 2015 Mehretu led one of the visual arts workshops at Villa Iris which are run annually by the Fundación Botín.