Bilbao Art District is a public-private initiative with the objective of promoting the activity carried out from the city’s artistic and cultural fabric as a strategic element in its development and projection towards the future.

It aims to be a project that is inspiring, open, inclusive and which unlocks potential for the city as a whole, considering Bilbao as a unique artistic district and the entire metropolis as a creative ecosystem. Without breaking from promoting the multiplicity of its artistic facilities and institutions, it aspires to transcend the nature of a setting where art is consumed to become a stakeholder that drives recognition of the new role of artistic creation in contemporary society through its social and cultural value, its innovating potential, and its capacity for generating development, thought, wealth and employment.

It works with the sector throughout the year to achieve the aforementioned objectives, but in May and October, specifically, it develops a special programme for the public and the sector as a whole in the city.

This initiative arose in 2013 driven and coordinated by Bilbao Ekintza, municipal company of Bilbao City Council, in which the Provincial Council of Biscay and the rest of the stakeholders of the visual arts in the city participate and collaborate, such as museums, galleries, production spaces, and so on.

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From art district to creative city:

This shift from the art district model towards a new framework of action, integral to unlocking the creative potential of the city as a whole, is a necessary occurrence because we are capable of modifying the limited and traditional perception of the artistic sector, and because there is a new awareness of the contrasting wealth of the multiple creative activities that the city itself generates, both in and outside conventional circuits.

From scenario city to stakeholder city:

We assume the importance of cultural tourism, but we cannot limit ourselves to a city offering as a place for mere consumption. It involves going beyond this vision of the city as a setting and driving its role as an agency, activating it as a space that is lived in, as a creative ecosystem.

From them to us:

sectoral promotion programmes start out, habitually, from a traditional analysis outline divided into two areas: expert knowledge and destination sector, that is, they respond to the logic of acting for them; in contrast, with this initiative we want us to be present throughout. This project must be able to promote and assume the debate generated by the sector itself, opening channels of involvement and co-participation.

From the event to the line of continuity:

We don’t want this initiative to be limited to some specific dates and events.  On the contrary, these must be the materialisation of an underlying current that affords these meaning and reference as a result of a continuous effort throughout the year, which creates links, communication networks, and involvement in the city as a whole, producing contexts for thinking differently.

Digitalisation as a sector-consolidating platform:

Attending both to the promotion of creation based on the artistic object linked to the traditional artistic market, and to that other emerging market that abandons the object as an element of mediation, the objective is to support the transfer of this cultural and creative production into the context of the new digitally interconnected society, and articulate relationship dynamics between the virtual and the in situ as drivers of the community-creating process.

Internationalisation of Bilbao as a reference in the new concept of artistic creation:

The intention is to incorporate the strategy of Bilbao Art District into the dynamics of online working being developed by national and international programmes and centres of reference, specialised in the re-conceptualisation of artistic and cultural production, generating experience exchanges and establishing contacts. Taking into account the influence of this work in the design of new sectoral policies, this relationship and exchange constitute an opportunity to afford value-added and visibility both to specific actions programmed by Bilbao Art District and Bilbao and its artistic creation.

From creative to creator:

We want Bilbao to move away from conceptual labels and project itself internationally, achieving a differential image, replacing the concept of Bilbao creative city, and moving towards the idea of Bilbao creator city. This idea would take on the importance of the role of artistic creation thanks to its capacity to generate development, thought, wealth and employment, but it would go further, drawing attention to the fact that creation also affects social and cultural value.

Bilbao Art District day to day: it’s no longer enough to see in order to create; we have to create in order to see.