“North aisle works for gastronomy and art”

“Tourist beds are expanding in San Sebastián and it can be said that this is a very attractive moment. It feeds us,” he said. Mireia Massagemanager Chillida Leku Museumin an interview travel news.

Established in 2000 in Guipúzcoa, the Chillida Leku Museum is a space of gardens and forests where sculptor Eduardo Chillida distributes a sample of his work. “We’re looking for events that will attract that tourist,” says Massagué.

Question (Q): How would you describe the Chillida Leku Museum?

Answer (S): Perhaps the word museum falls short because if we look for the origin of the word “Leku” in Basque, it means this place. It is therefore the location of Eduardo Chillida. The museum is a space that Chillida created and began designing in the 80s as a result of her interest and artistic creativity. It has been in development for over 15 years and opened as a museum and heritage site in 2000, near his death. Next we find an area of ​​11 hectares, where we discover a field section, a forest section and the central piece, which is the main piece. Zabalaga hamletThe 16th century house is a typical Basque farmhouse that stole the heart of Eduardo Chillida. This farmhouse has been the main piece for 14 years where he worked with architect Joaquín Montero to rehabilitate and create a work of art, where he entered the interior space, leaving its essence, those stone walls, those wooden columns and creating light spaces for the exterior. .

Photo: “Chillida Leku Museum”

Photo: “Chillida Leku Museum”

Q: Has being an open site been an advantage during the pandemic?

A: We really noticed. Sometimes there is unstable weather in the Basque Country and that’s why everything is green because it rains enough and everything is bright green. Maybe years ago people found an open space in this kind of weather, which was not very convenient. Instead I think The transition with the pandemic has brought us closer to the joy of being outside and in touch with nature.. This allowed us to reinforce the discourse we gave as this natural space, as imagined by the sculptor, a sculpture forest where people can get lost. We embraced the space as a place of well-being, and it was seen that being in touch with nature and being intertwined with art also benefits our health. So yes, the reaction after the pandemic surprised us as well.

Q: What is the profile of the tourist or visitor to Chillida Leku?

A: We are very close to 8 kilometers from San Sebastián (Donostia), which has undergone a major tourist evolution in recent years. The tourist beds have expanded and continue to expand, and it can be said that this is a very attractive moment.. This feeds us. After a lower profile period, the museum reopened with a series of reforms, increasing services for visitors with a new cafe, a new shop and a new area to explore Chillida. We noticed all this in the visitor profile, which is very similar to those visiting San Sebastián and the rest of the state, if we ignore the circumstances of the pandemic. Moreover, Due to its proximity to the border, the French are the main visitors.. Although we find Anglo-Saxon people… British, British, American and Australian are some of the main visitors. Then, of course, the German people, Belgium and the Scandinavian countries, as well as the rest of Europe, are a very important people. Also, there are as many as 40 different nationalities visiting us from Latin America, and lately we see many Mexicans, Asians and Japanese taking special interest in this region. we must not forget that Northern Spain is characterized by a very important gastronomic tourism.. The Guggenheim Museum has been open for 25 years this year, so for many years art and quality have been working with the public. We are fed by this effort and this commitment here in the Basque Country. And we must not forget that there are other agencies such as Botín Center, which opened in Santander in 2017 and is 1 hour from Bilbao. We believe that this north aisle, this Cantabrian corridor has really worked for a long time thanks to gastronomy and now art.

Photo: “Chillida Leku Museum”

Photo: “Chillida Leku Museum”

Q: How will you get all these visitors to the area to find out that Chillida Leku is in Hernani? How do they promote?

A: This is a great question because it is one of the main challenges. Although the museum is the main tourist attraction for the region, our marketing budgets are tight, as are other budgets we manage. Therefore, we have to seek alliances and complicity with the industry through hotels because they are the main prescribers with all the clients they receive. Also with the tourist agency San Sebastián or BasqueTour, which is a showcase for tour operators or other markets that can make this hire. And then, from our most direct actions, we, who have that window to enjoy the outdoors more in the summer, plan a series of events outside the exhibition. Like this By organizing these events, we have the ability to attract an audience that will not come to the museum.. These include breakfast and yoga at the museum, concerts at sunset, dinners while the museum is closed, and visits. In other words, we are looking for activities that we know will attract that tourist, that visitor, and perhaps we would not be their first choice just because it is a museum. Yet we know that when they discover us it means again.

Q: What kind of relationship do you have with the authorities? Do you help them with promotion?

A: We are a private museum and of course this leaves you less windows with management because it has a lot of public spaces that give them more priority. It’s a people thing, I think institutions are made by people, and I think about how we’re working on these PR strategies to get closer to both local government and our deal, Hernani City Council, and San Sebastian. We also have a close relationship. Then we go to Guipúzcoa, the council, the Basque Government… so it’s a really complicated issue as we approach the elections and the representatives change again. Taking into account the great competition that exists in the public sphere, valuing everything that can be wagered in the area is a daily business. It is true that we are trying to create programs together to have these connections and these more open windows.

Q: It is a private institution, but a very important asset to the north… It is interesting that public administrations do not accept it as an asset 100%.

A: Opened in 2000, the museum is 22 years old and has a long history. The museum is also the result of its entire history, but as we now look at 2024, which will be Chillida’s centennial, we can say that it is a truly special moment for us. I believe more and more is a moment To justify the legacy of an artist who wanted to be in the Basque Country because it is not understood without understanding that the Chillida roots are here.

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Written by Adem

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