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Romantic Portugal - Chapter 2 - Street Art and Wool

As the temperatures here in Amsterdam are dropping, my memories of warm and vibrant Centre of Portugal are overwhelming. When I dream of the place to escape to as soon as possible, I find myself thinking at least once a day about our trip this spring organised by Turismo De Portugal Centro and Consulate of Portugal in Den Haag in collaboration with Lara Seixo Rodrigues of Mistaker Maker, Platform for Artistic Intervention.

The trip took us from Porto to Lisbon, crossing the hidden treasures of the Centre of Portugal - lesser known towns, local cuisine, an unexpected street art route and, of course, the breathtaking nature. We stopped at ESTAU, AVEIRO, FIGUEIRA DA FOZ, REBULIÇO, VISEU, UNDÃO.

However, it was Covilhã that stole my heart. First of all, Lara and her family comes from this small town traditionally associated with Wool craftsmanship. Therefore it was only natural that the first and most continuous collection my Mistake Maker team is located here. Secondly, the town is filled with old and contemporary architecture, it boasts magnificent bridge Ponte do Paul, has yammy food and wines and WOOL!

The first edition of the festival took place around 2011, being the direct result of two great passions, one for Graffiti / Street Art and other for Covilhã and its history closely related with the textile industry, WOOL | Covilhã Urban Art, 2011, is the first event with these characteristics in Portugal under a specific and unique format and modus operandi, aiming to introduce these new expressions of Contemporary Art as tools capable of great social, cultural, economic and urban transformations in a community.

Today it is possible to observe a huge number of parallel actions in new geographies* and formats targeting different (and unusual) age groups, confirming the value of Urban Art as a tool for rehabilitation (and recovery) of citizenship.

This year, new artworks were added during the June 2018 edition.

More information on the route and line up of artists can be found here:

There is also a film that was produced in 2017 at the end of which we hear the Fado song performed by the biggest Fado singer of all times - Amália Rodrigues _ Covilhã Cidade Neve (Covilhã Snow City).

You can find the map of all the interventions that were made under WOOL name (Figueira da Foz and Fundão included) here.

And here is the map of wool interventions in Covilhã, that we visited during our tour.

We visited the local factory from the past which has just undergone the gentrification and is operating as a creative space with artist residencies reviving the old manual ecological techniques.

Lara has also shared with us the product of the "quality label EFFE 2017-2018 _ WOOL | Covilhã Urban Art is now part of the EFFE festival community, facilitated by the European Festivals Association, which consists of festivals that stand for artistic quality and have a significant impact on the local, national and international level. "Your festival received the following feedback from the International Jury and Hub Experts: It is considered by experts a thoughtful approach to the region's industrial heritage: celebrates it on giving it a new meaning and a new value in a post-industrial context. Although still working on a small scale, this festival has already shown artistic and community-involvement potential. However, experts suggest further development for European and international engagement."

/// LATA 65 | Urban Art Workshop for Seniors

Is an initiative for the elderly within the urban art, in its genesis developed by Cowork Lisboa in partnership with Wool – Covilhã Urban Art Festival. LATA 65 65 is assumed as a project that aims to: - to bring the less young closer to a form of artistic expression usually associated with younger ones; - to prove that concepts such as ACTIVE AGEING and intergenerational solidarity make more sense every day; - to demonstrate that Urban Art has the POWER TO FOMENT, TO PROMOTE AND TO VALUE the DEMOCRATIZATION OF the ACCESS to the Contemporary ART; - to demonstrate that age is just a number. It is presented as a workshop taught in totally relaxed working environments, ideal for learning a variety of intervention techniques used in the streets and working directly with some of the best urban artists today.

After the first workshop and other following actions, the team confirmed that:

- it is possible and DESIRABLE to AWAKEN, MOTIVATE and EXCITE the elderly through Urban Art;

- it is desirable to present to these generations NEW ACTIVITIES, NEW TECHNIQUES associated with youth, as a way to escape and to break routines, GENERATING QUALITY, JOVIALITY and WELL-BEING in their lives.

We stayed in a lovely Puralã - Wool Valley Hotel & Spa****. A totally renewed hotel with a new name evoking the identity of Covilhã, namely the wool industry that has always defined the spirit of the place. Located at the main entrance of the city of Covilhã next to the University Hospital and the Health Sciences’ Faculty.

You can find out more about the activities of MISTAKER MAKER here:

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