WOOL: The oldest urban art festival in Portugal.

And it won’t be just any edition: in 2021, WOOL celebrates a decade of existence.

The WOOL | Covilhã Urban Art is a direct result of two passions (the Urban Art and the city of Covilhã), shared by an informal group of citizens who, in 2011, dreamed and designed this project, having then submitted it to the financial support of the Portuguese General Directorate for the Arts. The aim was to decentralize Culture and present the first festival of this type of Contemporary Art ever held on Portuguese soil, introducing them as tools capable of promoting, undeniably and desirably, the social, cultural, economic and/or touristic transformations in a particular community and territory, specifically in the Portuguese Interior Region, while aspiring to its growing cohesion and sustainability.

Celebrating ten years in 2021, it is possible to observe the numerous parallel actions that WOOL develops with the community, in new geographies and formats, aimed at different (and even unusual) age groups, confirming the value of Urban Art as an instrument of construction, rehabilitation and enhancement of the fundamental values of citizenship.

After one decade, it is also possible to confirm WOOL’s distinctive and unique role in the promotion and projection of Portuguese Urban Art, inside and outside our borders. The project was responsible for curating the delegations of Portuguese artists who were, for the first time, part of recognized international projects such as Tour Paris 13 (Paris, 2013) and Djerbahood (Tunisia, 2014). As a national project, WOOL was also invited by Google to illustrate and enhance the launch of the Google Art Project / Google Arts & Culture in the Portuguese territory (2015).

As the mission of decentralizing culture, social and territorial inclusion and cohesion through Art and Culture will never be completed, but in constant renovation, WOOL joined NEST | Tourism Innovation Center in the development of the Talk2me Platform. The platform allows each visitor to talk directly and at any time (with full digital security) with the 36 art installations that inhabit the historic center of Covilhã, which is achieved through bot messenger technology and the reading of a QR Code.

For the organization, this new way of discovering WOOL is a desirable update to the initial goals of the Festival, which aimed to ‘occupy’ the streets of Covilhã with Art, making it accessible to everyone, democratizing it, and promoting an awakening of the community’s interest in Culture, as well as a desirable transformation of the entire region.

Taking responsibility for the terminus of one decade of operations, as well as the beginning of another one, WOOL presents a new identity authored by the studio Naïf, which invites us to think the brand through a “unique and identifying symbol, capable of representing both the last 10 years and its future editions. A representative symbol of WOOL, narrating to us the elements that provide it with character: Covilhã, the snow, the Serra da Estrela, Art and paint, wool, dynamism, meeting, and sharing”, which is also explained in the festival’s manifesto.

This 2021 celebration also features a diverse and complete schedule, distributed in space and time, with more than 40 initiatives taking place from June 26th to July 4th, among the artistic residencies already in progress (photography and drawing), from which stand out: the sound making of the centenary film “Covilhã Industrial, Pitoresca e seus arredores” (Artur Costa de Macedo, 1921) by First Breath After Coma, an art intervention by Colectivo Licuado (Uruguay) that celebrates the 140th anniversary of the First Scientific Expedition to Serra da Estrela (Lisbon Geography Society, 1881) and the launch of the book WOOL | 2011-2021, which will incorporate the history of these 10 years through scientific texts written by personalities in the areas of Art, Architecture and Tourism, as well as artists’ testimonies.

Sources:

Echoboomer News

Jornal Público