Located at the foot of the Apuan Alps in northern Tuscany, Carrara (pop. 64,000) is known throughout the world for its white marble quarries. Used since the time of Ancient Rome, the prestigious marble of Carrara has appeared in many famous works of art and has been crafted by the likes Michelangelo, Canova, Bernini and the contemporary artists, Cattelan and Fabre. Although the marble industry remains the backbone of the local creative economy and historic identity, in order to reduce the impact on human labour and on the natural environment, the city is currently rethinking the supply chain through innovative extraction, processing and sculpting techniques.
Carrara boasts a rich cultural offering of crafts and folk art as well as holding 10 international events each year, including the Carrara International Biennale. Dedicated to sculpture, over the years this festival has hosted a number of prominent gures including Pablo Picasso, Joan Mirò, Henry Moore and Ossip Zadkine. Currently, the city is also undertaking a large number of initiatives focused on generating innovative and sustainable approaches within the crafts sector. The revival of the Start- up Arena Award in 2018 grants nancial support to creative projects best re-using off-cuts marble, and the International Fair Carrara Marmotec offers training activities on the use of state-of-art technologies for stone processing.
The Municipality of Carrara demonstrates a strong commitment to strengthening and promoting the role of culture and creativity by engaging both the public and private sector, as well as civil society. This includes participatory projects aiming to vitalise public spaces for the use of cultural activities. Community-based action reflects the vision of Carrara to foster inclusive and sustainable urban planning, as well as intercultural and intergenerational dialogue.
As a Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art, Carrara envisages:
- renewing the commitment towards the Studi Aperti (Open Workshops) initiative, offering young artists and the general public the opportunity to learn from master marble-workers, as well as expanding the programme to other Creative Cities, thus promoting new creative ways of integrating the marble industry with other artistic forms;
- extending the International Forum of Young Marble Sculptor to other UNESCO Creative Cities, with the objective of embedding culture in the education of young creators;
- intensifying and consolidating the cooperation with the region province of Guangdong, China, especially in the sector of marble craft;
- reinforcing the already existing international cooperation with Egypt, notably by designing a speci c project with the Creative City of Aswan to share best practices and foster capacity building; and
- co-designing with the Creative City of Dakar a cross-cutting initiative combining media arts with crafts and folk art.