On a recent trip to Sicily, I was able to visit Favara, a small town just outside of Agrigento. The town itself does not attract much tourism, but I went to visit American artist/curator, Lisa Wade, who has recently relocated to Favara to fulfill her creative projects, and to see two contemporary art projects based in the city: Farm Cultural Park, and Favara Urban Network (FUN…to be highlighted in an upcoming post).
Farm Cultural Park is a redevelopment project in a city suffering from socio-economic downfall, commonly seen in similar towns around Sicily and other areas of Italy where the youth has moved on to bigger cities that offer more opportunities. The project, established in June 2010, is the concept and development originally begun by a local notary, Andrea Bartoli and his wife, lawyer Florinda Saieva:
We are trying to build a better piece of the world, a small community committed to invent new ways of thinking and living.
And why not revitalize your local environment to make it a better place to live for everyone, instead of abandoning a historic village? And how best to do it than with cultural activities that draw curious crowds from as far as Palermo and Catania, as well as international artists, and local neighbors! In fact, I asked some elderly women that are neighbors of the complex, practically living within the Farm, and they love the young excitement it brings. In a culture of living outside of your home, in the piazze, in courtyards, in the streets, and on the balconies, calling across the way to your neighbor, Farm introduces freshness into their otherwise slow lives.
The goal is create a community-based recovery of Favara’s historic center celebrating its Sicilian tradition while combining it with contemporary activities, and transforming the area into an international tourist attraction near Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples (only about 15 minutes away by car). Already, hundreds of people flock to their well-organized and marketed events and almost 15k people follow them on Facebook.
Farm Cultural Park is located within the Cortile Bentivenga which encompasses 7 small courtyards, located in the historic center of Favara, where much of the area is in dire need of some TLC, but some pioneers are investing in rebuilding some of the rubble with restoration projects of great potential, as shown by the creators of Farm. The project was inspired by Morocco’s main square in Marrakech, the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, and the Camden Market in London.
The complex boasts a variety of public spaces in an “arabic matrix” where clever surprises and discoveries are made: 3 art galleries, a center for contemporary architecture, an artist residence space for artists, designers, architects, and curators, a school specializing in avant-garde hotellerie, a graphic and web design center, a library, gardens, a cafe and kitchen, a Moet corner bar, a concept store, vintage “Second Life” shop, and numerous other spaces for installations, conferences, workshops, presentations, performances, parties, musical events, linguistic and educational programs, and even bike rentals.
Farm Cultural Park has already become an important and successful cultural district for artists, tourists, and residents of all ages to enjoy recreation that is redefining the area in an important way. An innovative and inspirational project, it has become a model for other related organizations that have sprouted up: Favara Urban Network (FUN) and a new young artist project in Modica Alta, Borgo degli Artisti.
Farm Cultural Park
Cortile Bentivegna – Sette Cortili, Favara (Agrigento) – Sicily
Tel +39.0922.34534 – +39.320.1793171
Opening hours : Tuesday to Sunday 5pm-midnight
Day off: Monday