Cuenca’s rich crafts tradition draws tourists and provides a livelihood for thousands

By Sylvan Hardy Writing for the German magazine Der Spiegel in 2009, travel writer and art critic Otto Kirchner extolled the richness of Cuenca’s tradition of arts and crafts. “Whether its ceramics, leather goods, jewelry, tapestry, painting or sculpture, the quality and variety of the work is exceptional. I found it to be every bit […]

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Ecuadorian art: A tradition of ancient themes and modern conflict offers a treasure trove of choices for art collectors

By Sylvan Hardy One of the great pleasures that many Ecuador expats discover in their adopted country is art collecting. Even those who were not collectors back home take up the habit, smitten by the quality, variety, and sheer emotional force of the talent in this small Andean country. There’s another inducement: good Ecuadorian art is remarkably […]

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Cuenca’s ‘Open Studios Art Walk’ is looking for artists and art lovers

Meet Cara Venn. Before moving to Ecuador in March 2014, Cara lived in India for five years where she sponsored the Art 4 Kids, India! program that taught over 150 Tibetan and Indian children. After relocating to her new home in Cuenca, she decided to offer a community venue for intercultural creative expression and launched […]

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The guitar makers of San Bartolomé, east of Cuenca, maintain a generations-old musical tradition in the high Andes

By David Morrill No one knows exactly when the guitar-making tradition began in San Bartolomé, a picturesque village 20 miles east of Cuenca. Everyone agrees, however, that it dates to the Spanish colonial era at least 200 years ago, and many of the area’s guitar makers can trace their own family businesses back 100 years […]

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Under attack from the local arts community, the Cuenca International Art Bienal considers major changes ahead of 2016 edition

Cuenca’s International Art Bienal is reviewing its mission and says it needs to do a better job of engaging the public. Many local artists criticized the 2014 event for its focus on installation art and pointed to poor attendance as a reason to make changes. Cristóbal Zapata has been named Bienal director by the Bienal […]

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New expat-owned art gallery focuses on emerging, unrepresented artists; Galeria Ombligo’s first exhibit opens Thursday

One of the first things that expats Sally Lincoln and Al Jennings noticed when they moved to Cuenca was the high quality of work produced by the city’s artists. Since both have had long careers in the arts in the U.S., they also noticed that there was a serious shortage of gallery space for young […]

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The Museum of Aboriginal Culture on Calle Larga represents one man’s passion for archeology

Cuenca´s  Museo de las Culturas Aborigenes, or Museum of Aboriginal Culture, is not your typical roadside attraction. Despite the fact that it is relatively small and privately owned, many consider it one of Ecuador's best archeology museums. Operated by La Fundacion Cultural Cordero, the museum displays the private collection of Juan Cordero Iñiguez, historian, professor, […]

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Cuenca’s new graffiti ordinance puts the emphasis on creating outlets for young artists, not on punishment

More art, less graffiti. That’s the goal of Cuenca’s new graffiti ordinance, passed by the cantonal council last year, and both graffiti artists and and government officials agree that the new program is off to a good start. Martin Arevalo, a spokesman for a loose coalition of 18 groups of graffiti artists who have turned […]

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Cuenca gift shops are the next best thing to Otavalo, offering a treasure trove of local arts and crafts

The famous indigenous outdoor market in the town of Otavalo, a two-hour drive north of Quito, is one of the best places to buy Andean art, crafts, textiles and indigenous jewelry in Ecuador. But if you're visiting Ecuador and your trip is limited to Cuenca and environs, you'll find plenty of places to partake in […]

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Art Cuenca brings artists and art lovers together; second annual Art Gala promises to be the ‘event of the year’

When Sonia Punin established Art Cuenca in late 2011, her goal was simple. “I wanted to bring artists and art lovers together in Cuenca,” she says. Although Cuenca enjoys a reputation as Ecuador’s arts capital, Punin saw a problem. “Even though we have several artists with international reputations, and many others who struggle to get […]

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