Art factories are spaces devoted to experimentation, exchange, conversation, and even mistakes and doubts, as essential parts of the creative process inherent to all artistic practices.
Art Factories is a municipal programme based on transforming old unused industrial buildings into new spaces devoted to culture and artistic expression.
Each factory is a world unto itself with its own unique personality. Despite this diversity, every facility aims to provide assistance and support for artistic creation and experimentation. They provide spaces and resources that guarantee fundamental working conditions throughout the creative process. Furthermore, they also provide the opportunity to share and exhibit finished projects, facilitating their entry into the city’s artistic and cultural scene.
The mission of these creation centres is to develop the capacity to assist and listen to each of the projects they host so a conversation can be initiated. Creative doubts are not only allowed here—they are actively encouraged. The conflict posed by this exchange established through dialogue is a necessary step of the creative process. These Art Factories therefore provide a safe space, free from the pressures of the industry, the media and the market, without ever losing sight of the rigour, thoroughness and quality of the projects they cultivate.
On one hand, the Art Factories operate in collaboration with a diverse range of cultural sectors by bringing ideas, projects and talent into the city. On the other hand, they also provide tools for artists and support their work. This way of working preserves and continues the artistic tradition that has always been characteristic of Barcelona.
Today, the Art Factories network is made up of 11 centres spread across several Barcelona neighbourhoods. In total, 30,000 m2 of old industrial buildings have been converted into spaces dedicated to artistic creation and innovation.
Despite the public ownership of all these facilities, each of them functions with a high degree of independence. Aside from Fabra i Coats, which is run directly by Institut de Cultura de Barcelona, all the Art Factories are run by an external entity related to a specific artistic field.
This project draws inspiration from other international initiatives that have emerged since the late 90s. The most obvious influence being the project surrounding Trans Europe Halles, a European network of cultural centres established by citizens and artists in old converted factories. Among the most significant are the Friche la Belle de Mai in Marseille, the Cable Factory in Helsinki and ufaFrabrik in Berlin, along with many others.