Fanzara’s fantastic street art

by Deborah Cater
Street art scene in Fanzara. Image by Berna i Puri Puri y Berna on Flickr.com under creative commons license Image by

It’s not just in the Spanish cities that you’ll find a wealth of street art. The village of Fanzara, Castellón is an ‘open air museum’ of fantastic urban art. InSpain’s mini-series on street art looks at Madrid, Málaga and Fanzara.

After the village of Fanzara, population less than 300 inhabitants, was pulled apart following the possibility of a landfill close by, two men decided on a project to bring everyone together again.

Street art as a healer

Fanzara street art. Image by Manel on Flickr.com under creative commons license

They decided to use artists as intermediaries between the factions. “We thought that with a bit of luck, one or two urban artists would come and paint a mural, but we never imagined it would reach the point where we’re living in a huge open-air art gallery,” says Javier Lopez told El Pais in 2015.

The artist would sleep on somebody’s couch and eat home cooked food, but it would be appreciated. The “adopt an artist” programme got underway and people volunteered to host a visiting painter.

The town board came up with a small budget. Word spread quickly and the number of artists interested grew to 20. A key to thing to remember is the average age of the villagers was over 70.

That was in 2014.

MIAU in Fanzara

street art cat MIAU

The whole wall mural collection is known as MIAU, or Museo Inacabado de Arte Urbano (Unfinished Museum of Urban Art).

“MIAU is urban art, but it is also an alternative way of creating community and recovering the local memory and pride; it is a powerful tool to transmit values.”  – Joan Feliu. UJI University of Castellón, as quoted on the MIAU website.

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Fanzara on the art map

Image by Manel on Flickr.com under creative commons license

As a result, Fanzara in Castellon, is now firmly on the street art lover’s map. There are more than 150 murals decorating the village’s buildings, created by more then 70 artists.

Sadly, the 2021 festival is cancelled due to the continuing pandemic situation. Though, MIAU is encouraging people to visit in small numbers. Below is from the MIAU Facebook page.

“Taking into account the features of our social project, in which guest artists live together for a whole week with neighbours of the village and, also appreciating the pandemic situation that is not yet controlled, we believe it would be unwise to perform the festival, since during those days, Fanzara, a very small town, ends up hosting hundreds of people who often focus on scheduled acts.

For all these reasons, we have decided to cancel the festival and, while we regret having to make this decision, we believe that not taking risks right now is best for everyone.

However, we invite you to continue visiting our museum village, enjoying our murals, as well as to participate in those targeted activities of a smallest capacity that we will be doing for the rest of the year.”

Good news is they are planning for the 2022 festival.

Image by Manel on Flickr.com under creative commons licenseImage by Manel on Flickr.com under creative commons license

Discover Málaga’s and Madrid’s urban art scene.

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