(This is a self-guided tour. So far there are no guided street art tours in Tenerife.)
Santa Cruz de Tenerife has been my home town for 6 years. Let me show you a good self-guided tour for the street art lover. Click on the map, make it bigger, then check the Art Tour layer. click on the various markers on the map to find additional information
You can have breakfast on one of the cafes on Calle Imeldo Seris, across from the Teatro Guimerá as you plot your tour. Try the last one run by an Italian or the one above run by a Belgian: both are friendly places. Your goal is to get into Espacio Cultural El Tanque (their poor website says T-F 17:00-20:00, S 11:00-14:00, but that’s if you’re lucky). As the city reclaimed land from the refinery, a group of citizens pushed to keep a tank standing and convert it. Unfortunately after profligate spending, the city reduced the budget 90%. But it’s an breathtakingly eery experience to stand on the inside of an oil tank.
From there, you can walk to the auditorium. Behind it on the concrete blocks, you’ll find the “100 faces” of the auditorium, painted by a Bulgarian. He continues to paint musicians and others on the rocks along the Santa Cruz coast.
You can head along the bike path until you see the only legal graffiti wall that I know of in Tenerife. From here, you can hit the TEA. It’s hit or miss, but I’ve seen some amazing exhibitions here. There are usually about 4 or 5 exhibition spaces open. The library here is open 24/7 and always packed.
Now walk up the street to the bridge and check out the arches. This is the highlight of the “Sumergete en Santa Cruz” project sponsored by Cepsa. Tired? You can have lunch in Noria neighborhood (last decade, the nightlife shifted from Avenida las Anagas to La Noria, a decision of the mayor during that time), or at La Hierbita restaurant in the hippest few blocks of town. This area is changing fast.
Then see if any doors are open at La Recova next to Teatro Guimerá. There are often expositions that open at 10:00. On one side, there’s a city workspace run by a Belgian for many years. You need to have a good portfolio to get in there and work on a project. The place has lots of amazing antique machines that this guy brought with him and actually knows how to maintain. One of the exposition doors shows the results of people working in this space.
Now check out the map and thread your way through more murals, some sponsored by Cepsa, the owner of the refinery. Iker Muro runs the program, so his style dominates the street art in Santa Cruz (as opposed to Feoflip’s domination in La Laguna). In between, you’ll have to stop at the Circulo de Bellas Artes: this place was almost killed by bad management, but after a new director started in 2015, it has revived. Usually, there’s an open exhibit, and a great mural upstairs in the theatre.
Keep going until you get to El Toscal, the neighborhood in need. So much potential and beautiful old buildings, but it seems the urban planning project is stuck forever. Once you’re done wandering, you can head back to Parque Garcia Sanabria and Ramblas, and check out the 1973 sculpture festival — there are about 30 of them, including Henry Moore. Take a break and have a beer at Strasse Park, upstairs or downstairs. Next door is a city-run gallery with local art that might be open.
Now finally, you need to see if Los Lavaderos is open. The space is beautiful, where the neighborhood used to do their laundry. Then walk back behind it into the barranco. I love walking in and along the barrancos. From there, you see evidence of how the island eked out its existence before tourism came. A guy here is among many who still have carrier pigeons, a great form of communication before cell phones came along.
Here are some options to end your day:
- EquipoPara: Gonzalo is the cutting edge of Santa Cruz. He makes the town feel like a big city. His place always has something going on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. At the least, grab a gin and tonic here. Gonzalo let me put up a pair of solar-lit eyes in the windows.
- Teatro Victoria: this small theatre often has dance performances.
- Cine Victor: the last remaining single-space theatre for movies.
2018 PS: A new wall just went up behind Los Gladiolos school near Parque La Granja, with about a dozen works by fine arts students. Very impressive, I may have to re-route this tour.