A cultural revolution in Torre del Mar

The popular 'Espanglish' language exchange on the terrace at Tr3s Puertas.
The popular 'Espanglish' language exchange on the terrace at Tr3s Puertas. / Tr3s puertas
  • Tr3s Puertas is an association where anyone can share creative ideas, languages and more

Tr3s Puertas, a contemporary and international cultural association, is exactly what Torre del Mar needs. At a time of exciting cultural developments for this small seaside town, a place where anyone can feel welcome, international artists can express themselves and residents and visitors can practise languages at a weekly 'Spanglish' exchange, the association is filling a creative gap.

Tr3s Puertas, on Avenida Andalucía opposite the Las Yucas café, is the brainchild of local artist, Alberto Tarsicio. Alberto inherited the building from his family, who used run a restaurant there.

Coming from a family of artists - his uncle is the sculptor Francisco Martín, who is famous for his statues of Chanquete and King Alfonso in Nerja and the peeing dog on the Paseo de Larios in Torre del Mar - it is not surprising that he wanted to turn the house into a creative space.

A family of artists

Alberto started Tr3s Puertas in 2014. Having spent two years living and working as an artist in Paris and being well connected in the world of art in Spain, Alberto started to invite visiting painters, sculptors and performers to use the building in Torre del Mar as a studio and residence.

He decided to establish the place as an association, and set about finding people to form a board. Enter Enrique Bernal, Gema Martinéz and Anette Wang. Enrique and Gema live in Torre del Mar and are both familiar to the creative industries.

After many years working in journalism, Gema is now a calligraphy artist and co-owns EBBI - a bilingual book company with her partner Enrique, who also runs his own online multimedia company.

Anette is originally from Oslo in Norway and worked in the complementary worlds of media and art back home as well as in London. She is the only foreign person on the board, which she says “is a great honour”. The Vélez-Málaga resident joined the board in spring 2016 having first met Alberto at a party and then gone to see an exhibition at Tr3s Puertas.

“I was so happy to be invited,” she says.

Language exchange

Since Tr3s Puertas started, the former restaurant has seen over 60 projects, including artists from Sweden, New York, Spain, among other countries, live music, dance and, since May this year, the weekly 'intercambio' language exchange. Enrique, who speaks fluent English, saw an opportunity and a gap.

“Language and cultural exchange are part of the essence of the centre,” explains Enrique. “We have lots of foreign artists as well as lots of foreign residents in Torre del Mar who are interested in art.”

The language exchange, known as 'Espanglish', takes place every Friday from 7 to 9pm and has grown to be hugely popular, often attracting more than 40 people.

“We have had British people, Polish, Danish, French, Belgian, Russian and even a Japanese girl who lives here,” boasts Enrique. Although the lingua francas are English and Spanish at the moment, the board members hope that eventually they will be able to offer more language combinations in the future.

Tr3s Puertas has an exciting year coming up. There is so much going on which isn't just about art in terms of paintings, music and sculpture, but Enrique, Alberto and Anette believe that the creative industries cover a much wider scope and that is how they want to see their projects develop. It is a space where cultures can mix, ideas can be shared and art can be shown, performed or even consumed; they sell a craft beer which Enrique brews and, at a recent Halloween party, one creative Tr3s Puertas associate made piña colada jelly eyeballs to go in the tinto de verano! “It's about inspiring innovation,” confirms Anette.

Awards and funding

Tr3s Puertas is waiting to hear if it has been nominated for an award for a dance project that was held there earlier this year. While Alberto doesn't know much about the possible nomination at the moment, it is enough to say that in its short life, the cultural association is already getting recognition.

The team has recently put together an application to a private foundation which funds creative projects and they are waiting to hear if they have been successful.

From 22 December the next stage of the Una Revolución project, which has already seen work by the likes of Maria Koolen Hellmin from Sweden, will open with work by Alberto along with workshops, concerts and more.

After Alberto, Frans Koolen followed by Javier Rueda will finish 'Una Revolución - four artists - two countries - one year'.

Alberto is from a family of artists and lived and worked in Paris before founding Tr3s Puertas

Anette is an art historian and journalist from Oslo, Norway. She has lived in Vélez-Málaga for five years

Enrique is co-founder of EBBI bilingual books and saw Tr3s Puertas as the ideal place for a language exchange