Caldas da Rainha
About the Creative City:
Located on the west coast of Portugal, Caldas da Rainha is a city of 60,000 inhabitants, and is an important centre for ceramic production. With 500 years of heritage and two large industrial units still operating in the city, as well as around 17 workshops dedicated to this craft, ceramics have shaped not only the city’s educational infrastructures and its commercial and economic vitality, but above all its cultural life, heritage and artistic expression.
Over the last five years, the main policy guidelines implemented by the city have been outlined and materialized in the biennale MOLDA and various initiatives. The support given to artisans, designers, potters and ceramic creators, and industries involved in the activities of MOLDA have been exponentially beneficial to the city’s crafts and folk art sector. In this creative field, Caldas da Rainha seeks to find the balance between artisanship and industrial production, fueled by the highly skilled professional training and by innovation inputs of Research and Development projects established by the Caldas da Rainha School of Arts and Design – Polytechnic of Leiria (ESAD.CR). Since 2015, the city has held numerous exhibitions in support of a myriad of small workshops and important industrial units, including The Exhibition Home Product, hosted in 2017. This exposition showcased collaborations between the fine-arts and the ceramic Industry of SECLA (Portuguese producer), promoting local art to both a national and international audience.
Although the industrial sector no longer generates the level of employment it once did, representing around 13% of the urban employment, the city shows a strong economic pattern in several creative areas, among which the ceramic sector remains a predominant force. In this particular field, one can broadly define three different communities emerging from individual sets of products: the first associated more with traditional arts and crafts products; the second broadly defined as creative ceramics, that innovates and challenges the city’s ceramic tradition, by incorporating design and contemporary flare to handcrafted ceramic goods; and lastly, those for whom ceramics has become the medium of artistic expression.
As a Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art Caldas da Rainha envisages:
- creating a website for the dissemination of Research and Development project results in the area of evidence-based policies for the cultural sector, as well as best practice sharing in sustainability strategies of the ceramic craft;
- creating a concept store for the promotion of craftwork, as well as supporting the mobility of craftsmen;
- contributing to sustainable development by building an ecopoint for ceramic waste, reducing the ecological footprint of ceramic workshops and ateliers, and developing easy and adequate solutions; and
- developing a cross-cutting cultural programme at biennale MOLDA for the dissemination of craftwork.
José Rafael Belo de Matos Rebocho Antunes, Director, Art Centre of Caldas da Rainha, email@example.com