Late one Tuesday night, an old music teacher approached a group of young people at started a conversation.
“I’m so glad you’re here. You’re bring creative life back to this place. We used to be the artistic heart of Barcelona, but now the creatives have all gone to Gracia or somewhere else. Moved out because of gentrification. I live in the flat overlooking the square and I’m so happy to see you bring art back to the street. Take this.” She handed over an old canvas, walked across the square and disappeared into the shadows of an adjacent building. I looked over to the two Australian musicians to see what they’d do with the canvas, before pouring paint on the crate I’d just looted from a nearby skip.
We were in Plaza George Orwell, and this was one of my first experiences at the weekly Every Tuesday event, organised by our classmate Jing. But what is it and how did it start?
The idea was inspired by Jing’s concerns about sustainability. Every Tuesday the residents of Raval and el Barrio Gotico leave their trash out for binmen to collect. Old furniture, wooden boards, disused lamps, and lonely mannequins litter the corners of these historic districts.
This chaotic assortment of broken things gave birth to an idea: if there is so much trash just left lying about, why don’t we use it to create art?
Over the past few months this has been a regular Tuesday night fixture. A diverse range of people scurry around the back alleys collecting the finest trash that Barcelona has to offer and bring it to the square with the sole purpose of making art. The “event” is about creating a community that connects people together. No limitations are placed on the material people use or the music they play. Some people like to paint, play music, dance or sing. Others cut out words from discarded books and magazines and combine them into poems, while a few come to just sit there and enjoy life. All are welcome.
Jing explains the events have always been about inclusivity. Every Tuesday is about reaching out to those who are interested in the events and want to join in, but are afraid that they can’t be artists because they didn’t study art. It is about trying to erase the idea that there is some invisible line separating them from “the creatives”.
Creativity does not have to be expressed through art or music or anything. Anyone can be creative. If some is doing accounting, they can be creative in their own path. Everyone has the potential to be creative, and Jing’s events have always been about creating a safe space in which people can express themselves.
While we’ve come to the end of our time in Barcelona, maybe next year’s cohort will carry the flame, and who knows? Maybe this will inspire you to do something just a little different. After all, it’s better than staying in.