To preserve several collapsed buildings in the semi-abandoned town of Favara, a young couple bought several derelict buildings in the area and renovated them into a culture centre, with some support from technicians, architects, artists and volunteers. It’s a totally bottom-up initiative with an aim to promote the cultural and tourist development of Favara through the recovery of its historic centre by renovation and art. It includes the renovation of a range of historic buildings to create a modern art gallery and a children’s museum, commercial spaces with cafes, as well as office space for local businesses, and coworking spaces. Over the years, Farm Cultural Park has become an Independent cultural centre that hosts a series of art exhibitions as well as cultural and educational events, turning the area and the city into a popular tourist attraction .
This neighborhood had a population of between 600 and 700 people in the 40s. Between 60 and 70, with the economic boom in the city, residents begin to leave the neighborhood to move to newly built residential areas. Little by little the Bentivegna Courtyard empties and in the 90s it presented itself as a degradated and abandoned area as well as a den for dealers and drug addicts.
Before 2010, the city of Favara had suffered from high rate of unemployment and criminality . Buildings in the city had obvious signs of degradation and abandonment, and in 2010, the collapes of one building resulted in a tragic event with two girls losing their life .
Farm Cultural Park was born with the aim of recovering the semi-abandoned historic center of Favara and transforming it into the second tourist attraction in the province of Agrigento (in Italy) through cultural and artistic innovation . They do this by renovating a range of historic buildings to create a modern art gallery and a children’s museum, commercial spaces with cafes, as well as an office space for local businesses, coworking space, with a shared kitchen and a garden .
The key players are the founders of initiative – Andrea Bartoli and Florinda Saleva – who invested time and money in restoring the centre of Favara and create an open-air art gallery. Another crucial group of actors include a range of artists who help transform the public space by experimenting different types of creative residency within the town. The residents of Favara are protagonists of this initiative who contribute in welcoming visitors and artists, making the place pleasant and comfortable. There is a group known as FUN (Favara Urban Network), made up of young volunteers who contribute in animating the town centre.In addition, some of the founder’s friends joined them in financing the town centre restoration .
The initiative collaborates with the Académie Royal of Fine Arts in Brussels, with the University of Architecture in Palermo, with the NABA in Milan, with the Polytechnic of Viana do Castelo and the MABAC of Venice and Paris, make this place a forge for the dissemination of art and visual culture .
The initative is for profit and has been funded through private investments from the founders Andrea Bartoli and Florinda Saleva as well as private donations [1; 3]. The initiative generates revenue by providing art/cultural exhibitions and events, renting commercial and co-working space, as well as hosting education activities for local residents and visitors. This revenue is then reinvested into organisational activities .
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Farm Cultual Park official website, https://www.farmculturalpark.com/, accessed August 2022
FARM ENG.pdf – Participatory Governance in Culture, https://participatory-governance-in-culture.net/files/mXkWZOARBsgP73hXKiI61vVJE0xYmMF4/documents/FARM%20ENG.pdf, accessed August 2022
Farm Cultural Park : An Experience of Social Innovation in the Recovery of the Historical Centre of Favara, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316001817_Farm_Cultural_Park_An_Experience_of_Social_Innovation_in_the_Recovery_of_the_Historical_Centre_of_Favara, accessed August 2022
Make my City Better! by FARM CULTURAL PARK, https://www.socialchallenges.eu/en-GB/city/35/Challenges/44, accessed August 2022
#peripheries: Culture-led urban regeneration in Sicily: The story of Farm Cultural Park and Favara | Italy, https://culture360.asef.org/magazine/peripheries-culture-led-urban-regeneration-sicily-story-farm-cultural-park-and-favara-italy/, accessed August 2022
Farm Cultural Park – Favara BY CAMILLE VILAIN, https://humancities.eu/casestudies/farm-cultural-park-favara/, accessed August 2022