Who said that there was no cultural life in Monterrey???!!! Well, let’s be honest: it was probably the case 30 years ago…But as I mentioned it in the introduction of the city, Monterrey is changing, dynamically evolving, searching for its identity. And cultural events, spaces, ideas, concepts are multiplying.
We can thus encounter Conarte in Monterrey, the council for culture and art in the city, which aims to promote artistic expression and supports the enrichment of culture. The institution is composed of different divisions such as La Casa de la Cultura or El Centro de los Artes. But today I decided to talk to you about the Conarte Library/Book Store which is part of the Mueso Estatal de las Culturas Populares. Direction the Barrio Antiguo (“old downtown”) in the city center of Monterrey!
First impression: it is small, really small. I had the opportunity to get some pictures on internet and I am a bit disappointed…This is not the architectural marvel that I expected. But quickly my positive mind and my eternal curiosity overtake my first impression. I am alone, so I have the space only for me! The woman who is in charge of the place invites me to have a look on books, sit down and take my time. This is a simple thing but this is the beauty of this strange space: take a book and sit down in a low light atmosphere, under a dome (which totally envelops you) of books from the state of Nuevo Leon. Because this is the purpose of this place: honor and recognize the local writers in every “genre”: novel, poesy, theater,…
The 90 m2 site was designed by the architecture company Anagrama in 2015, under the direction of the architect Roberto Treviño, and faced the challenge to respect the original architecture of La Casa de las Culturas from the 18th century which is registered at the National Institute of Anthropology and History. This is why all the elements of the library are removable.
The project cost 500 000 pesos which is the equivalent of 24 550 € and was financed by the National Council for Art and Culture.
Are we in a library? Are we in a book store? Difficult to say. Probably both. I like the idea to be in a mixed place, a place where I can buy a book but also sit down and read quietly, isolated from the heat and the noise of the city. And I especially like the idea of promoting the “cultura regia” (local culture).
I thus discovered the poet Gloria Collado, born in 1940 in the neighbor state of Tamaulipas and who studied and lived in Monterrey. I was not surprised to find different poets, I was however surprised to discover a woman writer from this time in Mexico and who also traveled in Europe. I decided to buy her book as a birthday gift for my father-in-law who he is himself a writer from Nuevo Leon.
Who said that there was no cultural life in Monterrey?