Co-founders Ric Dragon, a United States visual artist living in Colombia for the past four years, and Pedro Crump, a Colombian composer and musician, have announced the formation of a non-profit organization dedicated to the support and growth of art and culture in Colombia. The foundation, named ArteSumapaz, is located on a former coffee plantation of 286 acres in San Bernardo, Cundinamarca.
Influenced by the Bauhaus, Black Mountain College, and other alternative arts experiments around the world, Dragon initially sought a humbler location outside of Bogotá. But according to Dragon, “when I first saw this location, it felt as though it called out to me; in fact, this magical location has really stimulated a lot of broader thinking on our mission, and the connection between nature and art.”
Crump said, “ArteSumapaz has several major endeavors in place, with several more in the conceptualization phase. Initially, we will host artists from around the world in what´s popularly referred to as Artist-In-Residencies, where those international artists will pay a small fee to live and work at the center. In turn, that revenue will help subsidize the stays of Colombian artists.”
One of the principal projects is residencies for young Colombian artists recently graduated from a university arts program. Those artists will have the opportunity to work on their own art, while spending the part of each day in workshops of an advanced nature. Dragon said, “these workshops are not traditionally pedagogical in the way that they are not about anyone with more knowledge sharing that knowledge with someone with lesser experience and knowledge. It´s more about challenges and games that will help bring the artist to new ways of thinking and seeing, and laying the groundwork for their future endeavors, while sharing with other artists.”
Crump added: “there are, of course, plans to include the performing arts – initially music and dance”.
Future plans also include the development of a sculpture park. Sculpture parks exist in many countries around the world. In the US, for example, there is Storm King, the Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens at Pepsico, and OMI, all outside of New York City; all of which have been an inspiration to Dragon. “There really isn’t anything like it in Colombia,” says Dragon, “and creating such a place has the potential of creating a cultural attraction in Colombia with national and international relevance.”
At the same time, reforestation, agriculture, and sustainability are core directions for the founders. Crump said, “It really is unthinkable in the day and age to approach a project like this without placing water conservation and sustainability at the center, especially when working with the interrelatedness of art and nature.”
The property has several key components, including portions of the camino real, waterfalls, gigantic rocks, and portions of native forest. It is located in a semi-bowl, below the municipality of San Bernardo. On a clear day, visitors can see the Nevados del Ruiz in the distance.
ArteSumapaz is a center for art and culture located in the Andean Mountains of Colombia, San Bernardo, Cundinamarca; developing national and international artist residencies, workshops, concerts, and more, in a 116 hectares (286 acres) former coffee plantation.