We are many the artists, curators, cultural workers, creator collectives, and visitors that, since 2007, have taken an active part of LABoral Centro de Arte as professionals, residents, or simply as public, enjoying its cutting edge program around art and digital cultures.
Its constant wager on addressing the complexities of contemporary art practices, its commitment with the entanglement of art with other technological, scientific, and social disciplines, and its enthusiasm for fostering the dialogue among diverse agents have made LABoral Centro de Arte into a national and international cultural landmark. Since its beginnings, the Centre has been promoting the generation of active networks of artists, cultural workers, and publics both locally and internationally.
LABoral is a publicly funded way in (and out) of knowledge and culture into the region of Asturias, where these kinds of opportunities, unfortunately, are not abundant.
During the last weeks, and following what has become a recurrent tendency, we have witnessed an augment of local press communications regarding various worrying movements in the centre, such as the non-renewal of its artistic and managing direction [ 1 ], the flight of its already reduced collaborators and private trustees [ 1 ], and diverse speculations around future alternative uses [ 1 ] that distort LABoral‘s foundational mission and disrupt its current functioning, already in a precarious equilibrium due to the questionable administration of recent years.
These continuous pressures have been exacerbated by unclear communications and a total lack of transparency from the Government of the Principality of Asturias itself, the lead administrator for the Centre.
Moreover, these are not isolated events, and LABoral Centro de Arte sums up to a long list of cultural centres in Spain that, far from being institutionally supported, suffer from constant political mismanagement and malpractice, and a chronic disrespect for culture. The cases of Medialab Prado [ 1 ] in Madrid, the C3A in Córdoba or the CDAN [ 1 ] in Huesca, clearly resonate among many others.
The undersigning artists, cultural workers, and citizens cannot stand idly to this new setback that compromises the survival of LABoral Centro de Arte and impoverishes even more the cultural and social tissue of Asturias, especially in the post-pandemic context that has plunged many of us into precariousness.
For all these reasons, we hereby claim:
- Clarity and transparency about the organizational and economic future of the centre, as well as the expected effects of these changes on its program.
- That the board of trustees is made up of up to 50% of professionals from the cultural sector, whose knowledge is essential to make rigorous and informed decisions about the course and activities of the Centre.
- Due to the resignations of the board of private trustees, the funding for exhibition, production and awards for local artists and creatives has been dramatically reduced. We therefore request the governing bodies a sufficient budget allocation to guarantee the worthwhile continuity of these programs that keep the local production ahead.
- That artistic coherence and freedom be respected in the programming in all its lines of development, and that the centre is not assigned to initiatives that have little or nothing to do with the development of its foundational themes.
- That the physical integrity of the centre is cared for, providing sufficient technical and human resources, in decent working conditions, so that the spaces are usable and not abandoned to neglect.
- That channels of direct participation be established with users of the centre and collaborators, so that dialogue is agile and helps to ensure that simple and necessary proposals for the artistic community and citizens can be really listened to and put into practice.
- In short, that LABoral Centro de Arte be protected and given long-term sustainability, regardless of the political sign of the competent administrations, helping the Centre to preserve its constantly evolving nature, without political interference or suffering the pressure of political circumstances.