IL TERRENITO: a guarimbero space” is a cultural project aimed at creating a multifunctional space dedicated to the community of Amantea, a small town on the Tyrrhenian coast of Calabria.

The objectives of the project:

  • The construction of a space to host different activities and services that respond to certain needs of the territory.
  • The creation of a program of artistic and cultural activities in cooperation with local associations, involving all citizens through horizontal and inclusive co-planning methodologies.
  • The increase in the social capital and the quality of life of the inhabitants of the area, combined with the economic and financial sustainability of the project over time.

THE HISTORY OF IL TERRENITO

December 2021. The Municipality government of Amantea has been dismissed for two years now, due to Mafia infiltrations. The economy of the town is in in a serious economic disruption. There are no spaces in the area dedicated to culture and aggregation. The three cinemas that had animated the town are permanently closed. The two libraries that existed have disappeared forever. The municipal park is closed due to unavailability. The sport center, mentioned so much in various electoral programs, has never been opened. The theater now hosts the town hall, with a great sense of irony.

Amantea is the symbol of abandonment, the absence of institutions and the lack of planning. The tourism and the commerce sectors have destroyed the social fabric of the territory, leading to illegal building, policies aimed exclusively at immediate enrichment and the total absence of targeted investments on the social and cultural capital of the town. The absence of museums and libraries translates into the lack of a space dedicated to the historical and collective memory of the community.

Having worked in this area for ten years, we have always been confident in its potential and in the possibilities that could arise with the right push. In recent years, we have met theater and dance groups, which have nowhere to perform, three marching bands, forced to rehearse in abandoned warehouses, photography associations, language centers and many students who have nowhere to study, where to borrow books or watch a movie.

This is why we decided that the most sensible investment, apparently crazy, had to be to buy a space to donate to the community that has been hosting us for ten years.

Our initial idea was to buy a property to be transformed into the first House of Culture in Amantea, a space open to all citizens and aimed in particular at young people, the most in need of community spaces and the most penalized by their lack.

Therefore, we prepared a survey to understand what they really needed, addressed to people up to 25 years old, school and university students, and young workers, structured with questions that would help us understand their needs.

We collected a sample of 150 valid responses, representative of our target audience. From the questionnaire, it emerged that 92% of Amantea’s students are forced to study at home, highlighting problems such as distraction, lack of a fast connection and a personal desk. 91% of them replied that they would go to a study room or library if there were. Through proposals structured on scales of values, we found the need by many students for quiet spaces, centrally located in Amantea, with internet connection and where they can socialize with other people of their age.

70% of them expressed their desire for a library where they can also borrow books and comics. 92% of young people also expressed the desire to have a movie theater, while all those who practice artistic disciplines such as music, dance and theater (about 25% of the total) declared to be willing to use a space dedicated to rehearsals.

Starting from this information, we began to imagine the space, which would include the offices of the organization, a study / library room, with 10 desks with PC stations available for the public, a large multipurpose amplified room for rehearsals and performances. musical and theatrical, where to install a screen for projections, and a hostel to host the artists.

We began the look for the place that would host the new safe place for La Guarimba and the Amanteans, by reviewing various buildings for sale. We have come up against the paradox of a country that has undergone a construction boom and is dotted with abandoned apartments, but which, if they are for sale, have inaccessible prices.

After months of research, we came across the last building plot of Amantea, a 270m2 space located in Via Mazzini, a street parallel to the main street in the city center. With the funds raised over ten years of work, we made this investment and bought the land.

THE REGENERATION WORK

The first time we entered the land we found a degraded place, with an irregular surface, uncultivated spontaneous vegetation growing on top of the rubbish accumulated over years of neglect. The entrance consisted of an old half-demolished building skeleton and there was neither electricity nor connection to the sewer system.

The first intervention, which began in March 2022, was therefore to clean it, cutting the weeds and removing the garbage. The surface was leveled and the assessments for the construction of a small building continued.

At that point, we felt the exigence to start a community path as soon as possible to deliver that space to the citizenship. The land could immediately become an open space to create a program already for that summer, in collaboration with the cultural associations of the area.

On 7 March 2022 we organized the first meeting on Il Terrenito, which was attended by several members of the Amantean cultural world and interested people, with whom we discussed the destination of the space.

We considered the different needs: the presence of a stage large enough to host dance and theater performances, the arrangement of light points, the orientation of the chairs, tables for organizing workshops, a behind the scenes with direct access to the stage.

We have done a job that had never been done in Amantea: bringing together the various cultural realities and offering an opportunity to dialogue, join forces and undertake a common path.

The works carried out from that point were the result of this comparison: we built a 70m2 stage, installed electrical sockets and spotlights and started the construction of the bathroom and a small building that could function as a warehouse, storage for the equipment and backstage.

During these works, we also took an important step for our organization: we purchased the warehouse on the ground floor of the building adjacent to the land, where we bult the new offices of La Guarimba, with two study stations and internet connection made available to students and workers of Amantea.

The long-term project will involve the entire building, which will become the Palace of Culture, while the land will remain as an outdoor space for summer events.

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