Illustration by Fernando Mamsilla
Walking through the grungy backstreets between Sant Antoni and Rambla del Raval, it’s easy to pass by the graffitied shutter of this old shop-front without looking twice. After all, it’s not every day that an 80-year-old grocer’s shop opens its doors to reveal a pint-sized cultural centre, dedicated to encouraging creativity in the community.
Proveeduría Cultural El Colmado was set up as a not-for-profit organisation in early 2008, and celebrates its second birthday this month. It’s the baby of a group of like-minded artistic types, whose shared motto became the life force of the project: “El mundo se mueve si tú te mueves en él” (“The world moves if you move within it”).
This former shop has been lovingly restored, and has grown into a living, breathing space where poetry readings blend with kids’ activities and music workshops. With room for just 35 people, intimate is the key word in this venue. Booking ahead is always advisable, especially for the popular folk concerts and film screenings.
Curled up in a battered armchair, sipping a beer by lamplight, you may well be transported back to the living room of your student digs. Whether that’s a good thing or not is up to you, but somehow this seems to be the perfect setting for all types of artistic expression. And with the warm, laid-back atmosphere, it’s perhaps not surprising that El Colmado encourages those watching to let down their guard and release their artistic side out, too. You can find everything from puppet-making workshops and story-telling sessions to writing groups and clowning classes. All you have to decide is how you want to express yourself.
El Colmado | La Cera 35 | Metro: Sant Antoni (L2) | Tel. 93 441 9912 | www.el-colmado.org