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Argentina: The Cultural Shed of Piedrabuena Neighborhood

Categories: Feature, Interview, Video

Rising Voices note: This continues our series [1] highlighting projects that previously applied for an RV microgrant, but continue to use citizen media to tell the stories of their community.

In Villa Lugano [2], located on the outskirts of the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, there is a neighborhood called Piedrabuena, which has become a hub for community engagement with the arts, music, and citizen media. At the center of this neighborhood comprised of 2,100 households and approximately 20,000 residents, sits the Galpón Cultural Piedrabuenarte [es] [3] (or the Piedrabuenarte Cultural Shed). At one time, this Shed was used to store sets and other items from the famous Colón Theater [4]. And once the Shed became unoccupied, some artists living in the neighborhood imagined that it could become the foundation of a thriving cultural community for the children, teenagers, and adults of Piedrabuena.

Piedrabuenarte Cultural Shed [5]

Piedrabuenarte Cultural Shed

Beginning in 2006, the Shed started to offer workshops in diverse subjects such as drawing, photography, theater, drumming, and even the construction of musical instruments from recycled materials. The Shed is open for individuals or groups in the neighborhood, as well as from outside, to come and share their knowledge and expertise with area residents. The Shed is also where artists plan the murals that decorate the ground floor of the neighborhood housing blocks.

The activities that take place inside and around the Shed are well-known around the neighborhood, since it has become a regular meeting place throughout the year. In addition, news about upcoming workshops and events is often spread by word of mouth, but increasingly also through the use of social network sites such as Facebook [6]. However, the group's leaders believe that more people should know about the activities taking place, which provides a different perspective on how the neighborhood is often portrayed in the media. Through the use of a YouTube channel called Piedrabuenarte TV [7], regular episodes depict some of these activities, and shows what life is like in the neighborhood on a daily basis. These videos also reach former residents that now live abroad allowing them connection with their neighbors.

There are plans to work more closely with the youth in the neighborhood, showing them how they can use the cameras on their mobile phones to contribute to the YouTube channel. This would allow for additional perspectives on the diverse Piedrabuena neighborhood. In the following video, two of the founding members of the Shed, Juan “Pepi” Garachico and Lucian Garramuño, talk about what the Shed means to the residents and how they use citizen media to tell the stories of Piedrabuena.