Faced with criticism and complaints about the cultural development of the city, Melvin Hoyos, director of Culture of the City Council of Buenos Aires, considers it necessary to go back and reflect on the progress made.
When you assumed the cultural management of Guayaquil, what did you find?
Well, in the year ’92, when León Febres-Cordero assumed the mayoralty, we came from ten years of darkness. There was a Julio Hall that had been declared desert, a Municipal Museum that had become a place to search for gold items to disappear and a Municipal Library from which 17,000 books had disappeared.
The cultural development went very slowly because there were no budgets or official positions that allowed the permanence of cultural initiatives. The only alternatives that remained were private.
The collections were incomplete?
Yes. Even Medardo Angel Silva’s glasses were missing from the museum, which were not worth anything, but they had been fused by the frame. But there were other incongruities, such as, for example, the members of the PRE (who run the mayor’s office) did not like the art of Quito, so they took all the religious images, put them in a winery with breaks and more than 150 colonial works, they ruined The reconstruction of the infrastructure took us until 1998 and only then did we begin to propose cultural programs as such.
What were the first changes to be carried out in these entities?
The renovation of the Library and the digitalization of its archives, so much that then it could only be compared with the best libraries in America. We developed an editorial program in which works by emblematic authors of the city were edited. In the museum a 180 degree change was made in the conception of the history of the city and a sample was implemented that exhibited the worst and best moments of our town. The chamber orchestra was also founded and free didactic concerts were offered.
It has been said, however, that the Directorate has not kept up with contemporary artistic expressions …
It’s a misconception. In the mayor’s office of Jaime Nebot, new programs were implemented. The mayor, for example, was the first to suggest that the editorial program be expanded to no longer cover only history, but contemporary authors … The Directorate also created the Festival of Outdoor Arts, which covers a large number of artistic expressions.
Parallel we implemented Musimuestras and Teatromuestras, which collect contemporary artistic expressions and young artists … Today Guayaquil has a great cultural offer. Thanks to us, entities that also had to help develop the culture have flourished and the people who benefit are the people.
However, there are several young artists who criticize the management of the Direction regarding issues such as the Julio Salon and FAAL itself …
These criticisms began with a small group of artists who tried to position in the July Salon expressions of art in which there was explicit sex, rape, etc. There were claims, claims that up to now are maintained because they want to insert these expressions in the Museum.
What is pending?
We have received offers of donations from important collections, such as Rosa Amelia Alvarado fans, Carlos Wong albums, which we hope will be used to create museums. We will also continue to strengthen the programs we already have. (I)