A Glimpse of Cerro Cárcel

Where have you found the coolest repurposed spaces?

Atop Cerro Carcel, a hill in Valparaiso, sits a beautiful park. However, this place used to be a prison. The white building no longer houses prisoners, and the old yard has been transformed into a walkable garden.

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Inside, the cells have been removed to make room for practice rooms and a ropes gym. The open layout serves as a culture center. When we visited, a dance team was rehearsing their routine in the foyer while a musician tuned his guitar in one of the rooms above. We could also peek into the gym, where a coach was teaching aerial silk and hoop techniques.

Across the open lawn, there also sits a much newer building, wherein we discovered a free art gallery. This featured a small mural contest outside and works by Loro Coiron inside. He carves his artwork into giant sheets of linoleum and then uses these as a sort of stamp to “print” the final works. It’s a very distinctive style with more of a white-on-black look.

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I particularly like that he “animates” some of his characters within a single piece by duplicating them in various poses. With this, we could watch birds fly across the sky or a little girl follow a stray cat through the market.

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I also like that he seems to share in our affinity for cats; we could find one in almost every work. And I really love the banner of a cat falling, landing on its feet, and then running away.

How cool is that!

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