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RARA: a home for the "odd" artists

Encarna Cortés, Pedro Alarcón, Juanjo Fuentes, Verónica Ruth  Frías, Fran Carneros, Marcos  Barrientos and Cyro García, in  the lounge at RARA.
Encarna Cortés, Pedro Alarcón, Juanjo Fuentes, Verónica Ruth Frías, Fran Carneros, Marcos Barrientos and Cyro García, in the lounge at RARA. / A. J. López
  • Creators Verónica Ruth Frías and Cyro García have just opened a residence for artists in Villanueva del Rosario

  • The residence has launched a collective exhibition designed by Pedro Alarcón and Juanjo Fuentes as guest artist

People in the village say it was a convent at first, then became part of the Guardia Civil station and, later, the house of one of the mayors. The street (Calle Carrera) gets its name from the races that take place during the local fairs and it was to this street, whose stone seems to blend with the mist on this autumn evening, that Verónica Ruth Frías and Cyro García came more than a decade ago.

This is where they created their home, their daughters were born and, after five years of works on this property, they bought another house nearby. That was to carry out a project they had been dreaming of for years, but in the end they created it in their first house, which is now known as RARA, a residence for artists in the heart of Villanueva del Rosario.

"We have always wanted to take art to places it doesn't normally reach, away from the traditional circuits. People here often say we are odd, which is 'raro' in Spanish, so that's why we have named the project that, playing with the initials of 'Residencia Artística', says Cyro.

The first exhibition is now open: it is a collective display designed by Pedro Alarcón with Juanjo Fuentes as guest artist.

"The first objective is to create a link with the village. We want artists to come, carry out their projects and move on, as they do in other places. We want to do this with the freedom of having our own place and doing things our own way," says Verónica Ruth Frías.

Pedro Alarcón has used that freedom in 'Interiorismos', the inaugural exhibition at RARA.

"I wanted to talk about what I do through the works of art, to reflect upon this idea of interior design as a discipline which is dedicated to creating ambiences, something very close to what I am searching for at Casa Sostoa and also here," he says.

Young talent

To do this, he has worked with an interesting selection of young artists: Marcos Barrientos, Fernando Bayona, Fran Carneros, Encarna Cortés, Vanessa Morata, Ana Pavón and Isabel Rosado.

"It is really interesting to see this convergance between established artists and young creators who are only just starting out," says Verónica Ruth about the residence's first exhibition. The idea is that young artists apply to participate, and for those behind the project to issue invitations to better-known creators from Spain and abroad.

The latter, and the assistance available in different countries for exchange programmes, might help to relieve some of the financial pressure on them in the medium term.

"We are aware that the first stage of this project is going to be a bit of a strain personally, financially and on the family, but it's what we want to do," says Verónica. So, why do it?

It is Alarcón who answers on her behalf, and quite forcibly: "You're doing it because you can't not do it. Like me. This is how we need to live."

They are the "odd" artists, and now they have a new place to come together and create.