The District Casas Culturales (Cultural Houses) of Barranquilla are spaces spread across the city where people can go to take part in classes in different artistic areas. The local government implemented this program 19 years ago, and the main goal has been getting people involved in the arts, and strengthening culture in the city’s communities through social education.
Throughout Barranquilla, there are some seventy-eight Casa Culturales. To find the one nearest you, you can either call the Culture Secretary’s office at 3705772 or 3708653, or click here. Most classes take place on weekends, but there are some offered during the week as well. Plus, there are no cost or age restrictions; these events are open to all!
There are numerous courses available. You can learn to create foam decorations, you can take guitar lessons, or, if your heart so desires, you can even learn acting, dancing, and painting. There are literally hundreds of possible activities you can take part in. Each course runs for about a year and upon completion, students receive a certificate.
The Secretary of Culture has another project too, where people from the age of 14 can take art lessons through District Art Schools (Escuelas Distritales de Arte). This project is biannual and the inscription process and requirements are different from those of the Cultural Houses. One of the requisites is that you be at least a 9th grader or that you have a high school diploma. According to Greys Tesillo, a 29 year-old, 3rd semester student, a School of Art is a space where young people can spend their free time doing something productive. She says that by working at the school, she found a way to spread the arts to others, and also a way to earn money by playing her clarinet on city buses.
Greys Tesillo playing clarinet on a city bus in Barranquilla. Video Credit: Carlos Andres Guerra