by Julie Espinosa
Banks in Spain actively promote the arts and this is something you can take advantage of. Perhaps in an effort to improve their image as mean and filthy rich, Spanish banks work actively on social responsibility — from constructing old folks’ centers to promoting energy conservation or other social causes.
This obra social and obra cultural (social and cultural work) extends to restoration of old buildings and sponsorship of temporary art exhibits–often publicly showcasing art from the bank’s permanent collection.
Whether banks should have these considerable collections–thousands of artistic works or what some call the people’s cultural heritage–is another question.
During my time in Spain, I have seen really great exhibits of Chagall, Latin American art, and retablos, all made possible by banks, and all for free.
Check listings of art exhibits from banks and other institutions in the weekly publication la Guía del Ocio (1€ at newsstands) under “Exposiciones” or at their site here. Also, the following banks have a strong presence in Madrid and permanent exhibit spaces:
- Caja Madrid: La Casa Encendida at Ronda Valencia, 2, Metro: Embajadores
- BBVA: Palacio del Marqués de Salamanca at C/ Salustiano Olozaga s/n, Metro: Banco de España
- La Caixa: CosmoCaixa (science center) at C/ Pintor Velázquez, s/n, Metro Ligero: Marqués de la Valdevia
See map below for the BBVA and Casa Encendida: