Browsing Tag



Nicolás Alba, the craftsman

logo-mecnaPatrimonio para jóvenes is a project focused on helping to discover the hideen places (in terms of art and cultural heritage) from young people, especially for foreign students. And today, her you have an expemple; Nicolas Alba’s workshop, in the midddle of the beautiful landscape of Valle de Yerri 

To meet this craftsman, not this artist ( he defined himself as a craftsman) you have to leave the motorway and drive for small and charming roads . Go slow, only slow you came come across the creativity .

En el campo

Nicolas works with iron, and the iron in his hands looks like silk, meaning softness and light. You can also find sculptures inside a box with labeled “Rain and Wind” . He also works as a scenographer, an indeed during the day of our visit Nicolas was very busy working on a new theatrical production.


His workshop is full of objects like masks, gloves, jars filled with small pieces of iron, and the sculptures big and small as well as bridges.


Built bridges, iron bridges, bridges are like a lifestyle , an attitude, a behavior. We all need to create ways of communications with others, discover means to avoid isolation, fear, unbridgeable steps.

Nicolas, a very shy man, is full of sensitivity and during our visit a new bridge was built, one of friendly conversation, empathy, and the joy of discovering this kind of spark and light inside the creative moment. That’s not forgetting that a “creative moment” only appears after the darkness of many hours of work which sometimes seem sterile , even sad .


The informal chat and questions from the team was great. Everybody was interested about how an idea arrives, what happens if people don’t like a new sculpture shown in an exhibition, or if someone understand it with a very different meaning or point of view from which it was created.


At the end of the visit we shared a very Spanish typical food: “Tortilla de patata” or spanish omelette. It was not a very long visit and not very far from Pamplona, but it was a deep experience of communication, creativity and friendship.

Please don’t forget to check out Nicolas’s website and the one of the Valle de Yerri. See you soon!


Don’t tell me what you see, but what you feel

Today, we’re traveling to a city close to Navarra, Logroño,  (La Rioja ) notice, with ñ, a Spanish letter you don’t have in English and sounds like “nya”. Logroño is well worth the visit. In some streets you can enjoy the cute Museum of La Rioja, The Cathedral, and the cultural center, Amos Salvador, once a cigar factory. And more, in this area of the city you can try delicious “tapas” or “pinchos” with the wine for which this region and its wineries is famous all over the world.

Some time ago, people who work in the Educational department of The Art Institute of Chicago provided me with some very useful material: “Tips for Leading Discussions About Art” and with it, I prepared this activity at the Museum of La Rioja.

En la puerta del museo

After giving students time to loo, I asked about their feelings in front of a painting, not to describe what they see. We did this with two different Spanish paintings. “Divine Light”, an oil on canvas by Lorenzo Aguirre Sánchez. And “The Toilette” by Federico Godoy.

At this point I have to say is very difficult for young people to express themselves , they have a kind of fear of ridicule.

LUz Divina


Looking at “Divine Light”, the oldest in the group gave the first answer. “It gives me a sensation of sadness, of prayer, of loneliness, reflection…” they say. In the end everybody talked.

“Why do you have this feeling?”

“Because of the colour, the disposition of characters, the room itself.”

Some of them say this painting reminded them some paintings of Edward Hopper

Then we looked at Federico Godoy’s “The Toilette” a scene of beauty and joy inside a popular house.

Deatlle de una pintura

What some people said here is that they feel more peaceful because of the colours, and because the characters are inside their own houses, in their spaces and yards where they live everyday, not in hospitals, orphanages, or jails.

We also visited the medieval rooms where the restorer Teresa Calvo answered questions from the team about problems with wood sculpture. Some of the boys who were biology students asked about the problem of fungi and woodworms

En las salas


Then we had free time for watching videos in the areas they were most interested.

After that, we visited the “Dali Sueña los caprichos de Goya” exhibit, which means: “Dali’s Dreams About Whims of Goya” about great artists in Spain, with Goya as a precursor of contemporary art.

Amós Salvador

Here you have the link of this, though it is only available in Spanish.

It was about 13.00 a good time for tapas in Spain. We were all having so much fun that we forgot to take pictures of the team enjoying the food. But in any case here are some picture of the tapas. Remember Calle del Laurel and streets around it if you come to Logroño!



And to end the amazing day, we visited the old castle of Clavijo, even though there are only ruins, they are as incredible as the landscape you can see from the top.


This was a great excursion you can try if you come to La Rioja.

Welcome to Spain and thanks for following Patrimonio Para Jóvenes.


Communication with and from Museums

logo-mecnaIt was close Christmastime when I received an e -mail from The museum of Navarra, the one I’ve put here at the beginning of the post offering us the opportunity to visit The Annunciation to the Shepherds a Gothic painting transported from a Church in Olite, a village close to Pamplona, Navarra.

The proposal was interesting but in my opinion the mail itself was boring, without giving any hope of young people having fun. So I took account of the mail itself during our visit. Before talking about Gothic art we had a chat about communication with Museums.

Do you have any idea about this kind of information, these e-mails from the Museum of Navarra? Nobody knows….

How would you like the museum to keep in touch with you?

No idea… They would love some attention, but they don’t know how to go about getting it….

Have any of you visited any museums’ websites within the last month?

Probably not very likely.

Have you seen, for example the new website of the Prado Museum?

I doubt it.

Do any of you have an idea about any museum in the social networks? One girl might know a little something of the Jaca Museum perhaps… she won a prize some years ago and can remember something….

So, everybody has the feeling of lack of communication with museums and their collections, but no one can think about a proposal to the institutions… Take notice….

Museo de Navarra y TIC

After this little chat, we talked about the medieval mural paintings, the way in which they are brought from their original homes to museums… so at this point, we remembered our visit to Jaca and the Romanesque paintings of Bagues, to see the video, click here.

Compare, remember, explore, associate content and paintings, make a connection with the tour we did in past years…

MuseoNavarra-Ante pinturas de la capilla Virgen del Campanal PPJ-2

Then we talked about the painting we went to the museum to visit. Theme, technique, colors, drawings, characters, conservation and so on. Our group was very surprised thinking about how churches looked centuries ago with all these colours and paintings on their walls.

MuseoNavarra-Ante pinturas de Artaiz

The whole team had the delightful experience of enjoying a museum without speeding through it, without visiting everything or almost, resulting in hating art and body aches.

It is urgent that we find a way to engage the youth when talking about museums. This is especially important here in Spain, where the whole country is an example of history and art. I’ve written about it here more than once, check it the website Spain is culture

Perhaps in not very big museums and not big cities such as Madrid or Barcelona, we need some kind of fresh air, changes in the way we talk about the exhibitions and collections at the museums.

What about some idea from projects such as Museum Hack ? It is much more than a matter of money for exploring new ways; In my opinion, it has to do with attitude, imagination, and the concern and will to reach new audiences.

Captura de pantalla 2016-02-21 a la(s) 08.17.36

So we had a great day, discovering Gothic mural painting and chatting about communication with and from Museums.



A photo workshop at Pamplona Cathedral

logo-mecna“Stone, Wood and Precious Metal “ was the title of this workshop, focused on Gothic Art in the Cathedral. Some weeks ago, the Culture department of the Government of Navarra published a research monograph about the Gothic in this region. So here is our tribute and appreciation.

For the session I‘ve chosen some masterpieces with two criteria: one being the importance of the masterpiece itself and the other the grade of difficulty in taking the picture. (I had to keep in mind that none of the young people on the team had much photography experience).First we visited the tomb of Carlos III the Noble King and his wife, Leonor; the faces, the vestments, ornaments and the special tearful entourage on the bottom of the tomb. The session was conducted by Professor Juan Cañada, who explained the lighting of this place and how to deal with lights, shadows and colours.

Almudena ante sepulcro

After trying with that, we went to the altarpiece of St. Thomas, made of wood and with poly-chrome painting. Full frame, detail, and difficulties with perspective and brightness were some points explained here.

Fotografiando el retablo

We also shot small details and it was enchanting when each one of us discovered the elegance and preciosity of each character on the altarpiece. Individual faces, clothing, landscape and colours were discovered again for each camera with the unique point of view of each person. Here you have some of mine.

Detalle del retablo de Santo Tomás

Speaking of the cloister, I must say that the cloister of Pamplona’s Cathedral needs a post just for itself. Its importance in the History of Gothic of Art has not been taken for granted and can not be visited in a rush.
So we took pictures only in some parts. As a “Puerta del Amparo” a representation of the death of the Virgin Mary with apostles, angels… a tympanum full of colour and people was in some ways easy to be shot.

Todos ante la puerta del Amparo

In some ways… but not in my experience, I took a very bad one, so here you have a picture of this tympanum from Panoramio

Tímpano de la puerta del amparo

The next point was the Barbazana Chapel where one of the most interesting things is its vault . Here the problem had nothing to do with light but with distance . We also put attention on the corbels .

Bóveda cap barbazana


To finish this session we went into the Exhibition “Occidens” only to visit a small piece but great in terms of beauty: the stunning silversmith reliquary of Saint Sepulcher. A piece we suggested that the museum direction move from its place of exhibition. It deserved to be better seen by the visitors. Another place with different light would be much appreciated. Here you have the picture we took and a picture from a picture where you can appreciate the filigree on the hair of the angel.

Relicario del Sto Sepulcro

Cabeza de angel

If you come to the Cathedral of Pamplona walk, take your time and enjoy! We are waiting for you!


When we forget about cultural and historical heritage

logo-mecnaPerhaps one of the problems in Spain regarding cultural, artistic and historical heritage is its profusion. But… is it possible or positive to say that a country has too much history? Probably not.

The problem is how to manage all these things we have. How should it be restored? When and what? In Spain we have bridges, castles, walls… in danger of disappearing for ever. Why? Because there is not enough time, or money, or no way to do so…

On the other hand, you have beautiful places to enjoy, they seem as if they were made for a wonderful film… or tale; in fact, they are part of the tale of Spain’s History. Check out the web Spain is Culture …

But when a ruin, some interesting place has made it until today, the government gives aid in order to take care of that place but … nobody knows it?

Todos ante la entradaJPG

Well, I can’t say “nobody”, but almost when talking about the “Despoblado de Rada”, the uninhabited place of Rada; a fortress just on the top of a cliff. The ruins are very well explained in a brochure that you are provided when buying the ticket, (2 euros, only 2 euros and only one if you are more than ten people). You can also enjoy the view of a beautiful landscape. You can imagine what life was like for people during the old times, there on the top. This visit is easy when you have nice weather. During our excursion we discussed how to better promote and communicate heritage, because culture doesn’t always imply expensive. Sometimes it seems like it doesn’t exist.

Close to this place, there is the charming hermitage of the Virgen del Soto. An example of popular and rural Baroque Art. This is not the most important example of this type art, but it is certainly intriguing and has great effect of theatricality.

Vista de la Cúpula de la Virgen del Soto JPG

Scenes from the Old an New Testament are represented on the top, with a beautiful dome. The sculpture of the Virgin Mary is very interesting. But what really attracted everybody’s attention was the representation of allegories such as Envy: a lady with snakes for hair, meaning that an envious person has terrible thoughts that harm all their relationships. The allegories of Peace and Devotion were also represented in contrast with vice.

Exterior de la virgen del soto

Around this hermitage there is a nice park to enjoy especially in spring .

Visit Spain, join us , and… have a nice day!


Heritage and oversight

  logo-mecnaSorrounding the city of Pamplona (Navarra, Spain), there is a superb landscape, it is easy to arrive just for a walk during the morning or afternoon, places for relaxing, doing physical exercise , take photos and learn about art and heritage as well.

This is what we did some days ago, with a beautiful temperature even for being the middle of November.

With students and young professionals from Mexico, Dominican Republic, Iran, and the cities of Burgos and Pamplona, we visited the small and cute rural churches of San Vicente of Larumbe, St Esteban of Eusa, and St Mary of Gazólaz. All of them have in common that they have an atrium. And more, are classified as “BIC” “Bien de interés cultural” the highest protection for heritage in Spain

Grupo en el pórtico de San Esteban, interior

Cultural Look through the Romanesque or Gotic ( in the case of St Vicente) windows at the landscape give a magic sensation, as if you are in the right location for a film, or as if you are transported to another time.

The visit to the three churches was focused not only on the history of Art but also on a reflection about restoration and about some difficulties we have in countries such as Spain, with a huge range of artistic heritage.

Is it possible to restore everything? How can we know when and why it is necessary? And what about after their restoration? What kind of actions, in terms of marketing or education program should be put into practice in order to not forget these places?

Fachada norte-depués de las obras

We appreciated the beauty of the atrium of St Vicente just restored, in a great contrast with the interior of the church damage on its walls because of humidity.

El pórtico y fachada sur-después de las obras

The quaint, magical, and touching interior of San Esteban… or the interesting designs and representations at St Mary of Gazólaz.The inversion in restoration –We also visited some weeks ago the medieval bridge of Aoiz, another village of Navarra) is very welcoming, but then if nothing more is done, it is a waste of time and money and the oversight is one of the most dangerous elements for historical patrimony

Puerta entreabierta vista desde el coro (1)

So it was a day full of activities: Alvaro who travelled from Burgos took nice pictures, all of us enjoyed the places, the landscape and even we came across a little donkey! An animal not very easy to find at nowadays.

Alvaro y el burro

In the end, with the team from Burgos we went to El Gaucho   with the most delicious pintxos in Pamplona. Cuisine is also an important part of cultural heritage!!!!

Los pinchos del Gaucho





The story of a grafitti

When this project Patrimonio para jovenes began some years ago, I never would have imagined we would sponsor street art, like the graffiti I have the great pleasure to show all of you here today.

It all started with a visit last June in Burgos to the Chapel of Condestable at the Cathedral. I had the hance to meet Sergio Rodrigo and had a chat about his hobbies, as a graffiti artist… and then we ended up with this happy event. Meetings, emails, signed documents, permissions and so on have been the road to this end. Enjoy the pictures!

scaffolding 2

Sergio and Gabriel made this graffiti at the little village of Vivar del Cid , very close to the city of Burgos. You have a link with information about the Cid here

The graffiti was made by the two boys. They began last weekend but due to the rain they had to postpone the painting. They will probably finish up during these days (depending on the weather)

The wall measures 10×6 meters, so they have to use scaffolding and harnesses.

Sentados en el andamio JPG

As you can see on their website they have painted in streets of Burgos and have done some works for bars and shops. We are so happy to sponsor the boys, and from this blog we encourage them to keep working and going everyday in a higher and higher level of professional formation in order to get closer each day to becoming the great artists and getting the recognition they deserve.

Good luck boys! We hope to continue talking about you on this blog!


If museums bore you, this blog is for you

If museums bore you, if you think that visiting the old part of a city is a pain, this is your place .

Have you had bad experiences? Have you put up with dull tour guides that spit out data that’s impossible to retain and plus, it doesn’t interest you at all?

You’ve probably never gone to a museum or a set of historical monuments of a city, but nor do you want to go .”Museums” sounds like a cemetery of works of art to you and you’re not interested in cemeteries of art. Here we’ll see how little by little many museums have changed the way of spreading their collections, created websites, and become meeting points and cultural dialogue, incorprtated new technology and connect with the public through social networks.
Two smaples already in this blog are places that are so unlike with collecctions so unique such as Diocesan Museum of Jaca in Aragón and Vivanco Museum of Wine culture . But there are so much more.There are young people, as well, with creativity and an innovative spirit that have got touristic initiatives in motion revolved around artistic-historic heritage of their villages and cities. We will invite them here to tell their experiences as  an important piece of information; in not few occassions have jobs positions been generated.

At San Gregorio Ostiense

Great landscape, beautiful sights, ethnography, the Spanish baroque style and its symbology, new people from different countries… we enjoyed all this together during our trip to San Gregorio Ostiense in the region of Navarra, Spain.

San Gregorio is a Basílica built as a result of the devotion of peasants in the region to Saint Gregorio. It is said he helped the people of the country by releasing them from the disturbance of insects harmful to crops. The Church we can see today was built during the second part of 17th century and the first half of 19th century. A great façade, an interior decorated in white, blue and gold colour, we can appreciate some signs of the symbology of the baroque.

Interior San Gregorio desde el fondo jpg





Built at the top of a hill, it is a symbol of the spirituality. Inside, light at the back of the church contrasts with the light in the area of the presbytery, a light that comes from the stunning dome in a great staging of decoration and theatrical effects very common during the baroque era.

This is a very interesting place to visit, not very easy to find if you don’t know about it, it’ s not one of the sites you would come across driving on the highway. Here you have more information from the official Website of Tourism of Navarra

San Gregorio y Sorlada vista coche JPG


What also made our visit so pleasant was the people. A great team with young professionals from Peru, Mexico, Spain, Iran, Colombia and Argentina; Heritage and culture helping to create new friends. This is one of our goals in Patrimonio Para Jóvenes, to meet people while enjoying the culture of our country. If you come to Spain, don’t forget visit Navarra.



Why we jumped


At the beginning of the summer,  on twitter, Cristina Parbole,  sent out a very original invitation on twitter;  Jump around Romanesque art. I appreciate Cristina and proher radio programLa Huella Románica”  @LaHuellaRomnica even if I don’t always I agree with her opinions or manners of expressing them. I thought this idea about jumping was a brilliant one and I asked girls and boys who participate in my project of Patrimonio Para Jovenes to please jump! And they did.


Some inconvenienes: The photographs aren’t always that great. All these people are very friendly but not all of them are good photographers, and the places where they jumped are OK but not ( with perhaps the exception of San Isidoro at Leon Castilla y Leon) the most important when talking about Romanesque art. They jumped just where they could, and more; sometimes they jumped close to the Gothic or the rococo palaces, but all the same, they jumped!!


When the foreign press (especially the British one) has been written this summer  about Spain as if it were a big brothel, we want to invite everybody to join young people in Spain who study, spend their summer working as fellows in museums, tourism offices.. . just for learning more and more… there are volunteers helping in slums, summer schools and camps…Here you have them…jumping because of their joy and their will of building a better world.In Spain during the summer we have nice festivals in the middel of the peninsula in the little and hidden villages, all of you are very welcome to join us, enjoy our weather, our nights with dances, and singing, sangria and “tapas” but without losing our dignity.


The example of Magaluf is not the exemple of Spain. We have all the bad things you want say, as all the countries, no one is perfect. But we have great things to offer and show to the world. This is why we jumped, as a little symbol of joy, happiness and hope in our country and the conservation and enjoyment of its artistic heritage.Join us and jump!!!