Major port city and capital of the state of Paraíba, João Pessoa (pop. 900,000) is known as the ‘Sun Gate’, being located at the most eastern point of Brazil. João Pessoa is the main regional trade centre for crafts production, including pottery, embroidery and crochet. In recent years, a brand-new range of organic cotton with brown shades has been discovered in the city enabling the production of a unique fabric. Crafts in João Pessoa have been carried by the 5,000 craftsmen families mainly living in the rural areas of the city.
João Pessoa hosts the major regional fair dedicated to crafts, Salão de Artesanato da Paraíba (Paraíba Crafts Fair). Welcoming over 8,000 participants to the city, this event is themed in support of ‘Cultural Roots of a People’. As a flagship event in João Pessoa’s calendar, the fair promotes local artisans and aims to establish a strong link between craftsmen, communities and local cultural identity. Established in 2017, the Rota dos Ateliês (Road of Workshops) offers an alternative approach to promoting artisans works through interactive workshops.
The Municipality has implemented a series of programmes to further develop the craft sector. The João Pessoa Artisans Programme aims to support all activities of the craft production chain through direct actions in the communities, while the Paraibano Crafts Programme (PAP) seeks to promote the development of Paraíba’s crafts in order to gain national and international recognition. The city has redoubled efforts to improve the living conditions of artisans, as well as to preserve and promote regional cultural identity through knowledge transfer and capacity-building processes to new generations of craftsmen.
As a Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art, João Pessoa envisages:
- setting-up a Design and Innovation Laboratory for Crafts and Small Enterprises, providing technical assistance for artisan groups and communities;
- mapping cultural singularities through a survey which methodology and results will be shared with other UCCN cities;
- creating employment for vulnerable and marginalised groups in the crafts labour market through the Social Crafts Factory initiatives;
- engaging other Creative Cities of Crafts and Folk Art to participate in the International Exhibition of Crafts (January 2018) while broadening the market and creating new international cooperation and exchange;
- implementing Knowledge and Flavours of Brazil Northeast, a transversal project aiming to promote traditional gastronomy, design and crafts; and
- developing a Forum of Municipal Secretariats for Urban Planning with other Creative Cities to plan joint-initiatives for supporting creative economies and maximizing resources and results sharing.