2019 International Festival of Live Arts Loja Ecuador

International Festival of Live Arts Loja Ecuador street scene
Street scene of popular pavement drawing event from FiavL's "Off" schedule.    Photo by Valeria

The First International Festival of Live Arts Loja - Festival Internacional de Artes Vivas de Loja (FiavL) - took place four years ago in 2016. The “live” part of the live arts concept in the festival’s name expresses direct, live contact between the public and artists. “Living arts” encompass many forms including theater, dance, clowns and mimes, theatrical circus, and other innovative performing art forms that defy categorization.

Loja has long been considered the “cuna de artistas” or cradle of artists, cultivating writers and intellectuals who created much of Ecuador’s representative art. Most notably, Loja is the home of Benjamín Carrión, founder of Ecuador’s Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana (CCE) which is like the Ecuadorian national endowment of the arts.

In the early part of the 20th century, a confluence of writers, artists and leaders, such as President Isidro Ayora, Miguel Riofrío, Pablo Palacio, Matilde Hidalgo de Procel, Ángel Felicísimo Rojas, Salvador Bustamante Celi, Bernardo Valdivieso, Emiliano Ortega, Segundo Cueva Celi, and Eduardo Kingman, contributed mightily to the city’s national and international cultural reputation. Virtually all of the main streets and important buildings in the city are named for artists. Loja is also considered the music capital of Ecuador, having composed, published, and recorded more works than any other locale in the country. Loja is also well situated to support the festival because of its many cultural and academic institutions that are generative of an ongoing cultural life among the population. It is a city where art is lived in a uniquely intense way.

The inauguration of the Live Arts Festival in Loja coincided with the opening of the Benjamín Carrión National Theater, with seating for 900 and state-of-the-art technology including one of the only two elevated orchestra pits in South America. The government of Ecuador built the performing arts facility at a cost of 20 million dollars. The city and national governments, with the opening of the Carrion concert hall and the festival, aspire to make Loja a center of national and international performing arts. During the Festival, all of Loja will be mobilized, including a large schedule of parallel activities presented free to the public offering a variety of shows, recitals, and gastronomic events.

Besides its stellar cultural history, the city of Loja has many physical and geographic attributes that lend it well to this large-scale event, such as public squares, historic buildings, parks, and museums that are interesting tourist attractions. In addition, there are destinations near Loja such as Vilcabamba, reputed to be “the valley of longevity,” the cathedral Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Swan in Cisne; and Podocarpus National Park with its rich flora and fauna; and a unique petrified forest.

In the words of this year’s festival director, Patricio Vallejo Aristizábal, the International Festival of Live Arts in Loja reminds us that anywhere in the world that we find dance, music, theater, circus, painting, sculpture, and art collections, we find art as a universal language expressing feelings of joy, sadness, love, or anger. We all feel the same way.

This year, the festival in Loja runs from November 15 - 24.  The “IN” schedule of national and international performances, along with ticket information, is available at FIAVL 2019’s website. If you would like an “OFF” schedule of the live art festival’s free events, send an email to Jona at lifeinloja@gmail.com


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