Skip to main content

'Artbnb'? Spanish village offers free accommodation for sculptures

By Barry Neild, CNN
July 29, 2014 -- Updated 0726 GMT (1526 HKT)
Every year Genalguacil, in southern Spain's Andalucia, invites artists to stay for free in exchange for an example of their work. Every year Genalguacil, in southern Spain's Andalucia, invites artists to stay for free in exchange for an example of their work.
HIDE CAPTION
Spanish town where artists stay free
Mule fountain
Cats on a hot tiled roof
'Leap into the Void'
'Roots'
'Proximity and Distance'
'Plains Heads'
Biggest festival yet
Whitewashed buildings
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Spanish village of Genalguacil offers free two-week stays to artists in exchange for their work
  • Biennial art festival celebrating its 12th edition this year
  • Village's streets and museum now host dozens of contemporary works

(CNN) -- As vacation deals go this one isn't bad.

The beautiful southern Spanish village of Genalguacil is offering free accommodation for more than two weeks during the summer peak season.

There's a catch of course.

The offer is open only to artists who must produce sculptures or other work during their stay, and bequeath at least one to the village.

Call it "Artbnb."

Long before Airbnb began undercutting hotels with cheap deals in other people's homes, this sleepy Andalucian community came up with it's own version.

The biennial "art encounters" festival was dreamed up in the 1990s by a local mayor hunting for ways to turn Genalguacil from a dead-end village to a genuine tourist destination.

Artists are offered cottages or other accommodation and all the materials they need to produce their work.

MORE: Spain's 7 natural wonders

Ambitious art festival

It seems to have paid off. The Andalucian village's immaculate streets of whitewashed houses -- and its contemporary art museum -- are now filled with dozens of works of art.

And the idea has reportedly inspired proposals for a similar project in Canada.

This August, to celebrate the festival's 20th anniversary, Genalguacil is hosting its most ambitious edition to date, with 10 selected artists receiving a stipend of €1,000 ($1,340) on top of their board and lodgings.

Among those selected this year is Eugenio Merino, a controversial artist whose latest exhibitions have included mannequins of dead leaders -- including Spain's General Francisco Franco -- stuffed inside refrigerators, and one of President George W. Bush in the shape of a punch bag.

This year's festival runs from July 31 to August 14.

MORE: Spanish castle to host 'Game of Thrones'

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1056 GMT (1856 HKT)
Nonprofit Ethical Traveler has released its annual list of the developing countries doing the most to promote human rights and preserve their environments.
December 11, 2014 -- Updated 1036 GMT (1836 HKT)
These waterfront watering holes have killer ocean views, creative drinks and the mahalo vibe we demand.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 2038 GMT (0438 HKT)
Can't wait to book your ticket to Indianapolis and Oakland? The venerable guidebook is right there with you
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 0625 GMT (1425 HKT)
By helicopter, snowmobile and big-wheel truck across some of the world's most volatile landscapes.
December 9, 2014 -- Updated 2142 GMT (0542 HKT)
Construction begins on a new Singapore airport complex that could make delays and layovers a pleasure.
December 9, 2014 -- Updated 1441 GMT (2241 HKT)
Inflight chatterboxes are annoying but they're not the worst violators of onboard etiquette, according to an Expedia study.
December 8, 2014 -- Updated 2232 GMT (0632 HKT)
These statues are awe-inspiring even for the strongest of non-believers.
December 5, 2014 -- Updated 1659 GMT (0059 HKT)
The Palace of the Parliament, built by former Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
25 years after the death of Romania's communist dictator, tourism is helping heal old wounds.
December 5, 2014 -- Updated 1152 GMT (1952 HKT)
Photo sharing website names the top 10 destinations for geo-tagged snapshots.
December 3, 2014 -- Updated 1005 GMT (1805 HKT)
New York may be a paradise of Zagat-rated, Michelin-starred restaurants, but some of its best food can be found on the streets.
December 2, 2014 -- Updated 0601 GMT (1401 HKT)
Guide Lebo behind the wheel of Chobe Game Lodge's first electric game viewing vehicle, at Chobe National Park in Botswana.
Chobe Game Lodge in Botswana ups the eco stakes with what it claims is world's first battery-powered safari fleet.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0118 GMT (0918 HKT)
The interior of the Formosa Boulevard Mass Rapid Transit Station in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
These quirky and beautiful subway stops make standing cheek-to-cheek with 45 strangers almost seem fun.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
A scene from a desert safari in Dubai
Luxury vintage Land Rover tours explore Bedouin backwaters without bashing up precious dunes.
ADVERTISEMENT