About the project

Lugar Común is located in Pueblo Nuevo, a neighborhood in the outskirts of Oaxaca, Mexico, that was formed by a migration wave in the 90s. Since $1 per hour is the average wage, families need to have several members working on more than one job in order to survive. Consequently, public activities, art, and culture are considered luxuries. In this context, Lugar Común has proposed and materialized the following local actions:

1) Building a hall for meetings, workshops, talks and film screenings with help from volunteers.
2) Implementing ‘guelaguetzas’ (a model to create local and trans-territorial community bonds through open reciprocity), ‘mayordomías’ (the development of communal solutions to individual problems), and a ‘moneylender service’ (Lugar Común lends money while borrowers pay the interests working there).
3) Setting up a communal orchard. We are currently designing a model for exchanging produced vegetables.

Thanks to our artistic background we have been able to create a fertile ground for building imaginative proposals, based on context and experience. In the next two years, we expect to have reached the seven neighborhoods that surround Lugar Común, working mainly through the concepts of collaboration and open reciprocity. We create value and responsible social transformation with new forms of relating to ourselves, to each other and to the personal economy.

We work with a network of educational institutions and local initiatives such as: Doen Foundation, Comités de Vida Vecinal, Universidad de las Américas, Escuela de Artes Visuales, ‘La Esmeralda’, Universidad Iberoamericana, UABJO, ecoconstructores and Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes.


About the artist

Coordinated by a group of neighbors and artists Jaime Ruiz and Mónica Castillo, the project aims to trigger imagination on grassroots projects related to economics, nutrition and education. Through ArtEdu and Doen Foundation’s grants, we have had sixty events and a thousand participants. Our network involves a wide range of actors, like the sixty volunteers that participated in the hall’s construction or the ten institutions that brought about the last art student’s residency.