La Fábrica in Lanjarón after the renovation.
La Fábrica in Lanjarón after the renovation. / G. L.

A space for creative expression in a former olive mill

  • Members and volunteers started preparing La Fábrica after the first lockdown and the inaugural exhibition opened on 5 March

The Alpujarra Artists' Network has opened a new creative space in the town of Lanjarón in the Alpujarra area of Granada province.

President of the network, Gareth Lister, is the person behind the idea, which he says he had during the first lockdown in spring 2020. "I talked about the idea of finding a space for us but everything seemed impossible," he explains.

While he admits he had the original idea, he "soon had a lot of support" from other members of the association.

In summer last year Gareth heard of a former olive mill which had been unused since being abandoned in 2008 by the children of the original owners who were uninterested in carrying on the family business.

"When we went to see the building it looked like someone had just walked out and locked the door. There were half drunk bottles of wine lying around, rats, pigeons and 13 years of accumulated filth."


Gareth, along with other members of the association and volunteers, started to clean up the space and they were still working when the second lockdown came in autumn. The artist admits that "inertia had set in by that point" and that everyone involved was "less motivated" than in the first lockdown.

However, a boost came when in December the network became a formal association, which galvanised them into action and the space, known as La Fábrica (the factory) officially opened on 5 March this year.

They are onto the second monthly exhibition and they have started with a limited number of concerts.

Members of the public can visit by arrangement. At the moment only Granada-based residents can use the space, but Gareth is hoping that it will attract people from further afield once travel restrictions are lifted.

"We want to attract more members because that is how we are planning to fund the space and the work that we need to do it," he told SUR in English.

Anyone can become a member and membership is just 30 euros a year, or visitors can pay a day membership rate of 2.50 euros.

At the moment they have around 90 members from a range of different countries including Spain and the UK. "The focus is on integration. We want it to be a real cultural melting point," Gareth points out. He adds, "We want to attract people from all types of creative backgrounds, from painters to filmmakers, dancers and performance artists."

So far work has been focused on the main entrance area to the former mill, which houses a garden-like area with plants and trees as well as a bar area and exhibition space.

Phase two, Gareth says, will involve opening up what would have been the main part of the mill; a four-storey space which will hopefully become a performance and concert venue as well as more exhibition space.

The plan is to have that area ready by June, when the association, along with everyone else, hopes travel restrictions will have lifted.