MANZANA DE LA RIVERA: THE HISTORY BEHIND PINTA SUD'S VENUE
The Manzana de la Rivera –where the second edition of Pinta SUD | Asunción will take place from August 7 to 13, 2023– is a place of deep historical and cultural significance in the heart of Asunción, Paraguay.
The Manzana de la Rivera is a priceless urban ensemble, representing various historical moments in Asunción since colonial times. The nine restored houses, together with the García Lorca Hall, portray the urban-architectural evolution of the city.
Commemorating 30 years since its opening, this Cultural Center of the City was fundamental in the recovery of the Historic Center of the city and in the professionalization of the conservation of the urban heritage.
During the dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner, the buildings of La Manzana fell into neglect due to the strict security protocol around the Government Palace. In that context, in the late 1970s, an attempt was made to convert it into a French chateau, which implied the demolition of the buildings. But thanks to intense citizen pressure and the architecture students who promoted the "Save the Block in front of the Government Palace" campaign, this initiative was stopped. Because of that, the process of protecting the cultural heritage could begin.
Once the military regime was dismantled in 1989, the management to enable the space of La Manzana de la Rivera was a challenge taken on by the artist, architect and manager Carlos Colombino, who would later become its first director. He played a key role in acquiring technical and financial support.
Since 2013, the Cultural Center of the City bears the name of Carlos Colombino, its manager and first director, and has been consolidated as a referential site for the dissemination and development of cultural and recreational activities in Asunción. The complex of buildings is a testimony to the importance of preserving and valuing the city's cultural heritage for present and future generations.
In an interview with Arte al Día, Félix Toranzos, visual artist and director of La Manzana de la Rivera, explains: "La Manzana is like a great treasure map. Every corner has its patrimonial and historical value, emotions are discovered at every moment. It is not only essential but also vital to preserve it. In the Manzana we have great opportunities to value the cultural heritage".
Today, La Manzana de la Rivera has become a vibrant meeting space for the community of Asunción, where culture and art merge to enrich the identity and heritage of the city.
"Since I returned to the Manzana, but this time as director, I have thought about creating programs that could interest foreign visitors, and also the citizens who use the Manzana's spaces. The presence of an event like Pinta Sud | ASU, positions La Manzana in the center of cultural activities both nationally and internationally. The Manzana is becoming more and more interesting for the citizens".