I got lost the first time that I tried to find RAI Art, a cozy cultural center hidden behind an easy-to-miss door in Barcelona’s Born neighborhood. However, once you can locate it, you will be charmed by the small theater, library, and bar that host events related to all types of arts- such as music, poetry, dance, and theater. You are sure to find any type of cultural event that will strike your fancy at this versatile space!
Founded in 1993 and housed in its current location since 2003, RAI Art is a cultural revitalization project that seeks social transformation through art. The space in which it is now located historically belonged to La Asociación Coral Germanor Barcelonina, an association founded in 1913 dedicated to, amongst other things, community involvement in football, chess, and dominoes- and later, trying to keep alive these activities amidst the fall of Barcelona to Francoism. Today within RAI Art they like to showcase photos and memorabilia from this era.
Current Uses of the Three Rooms
Today, RAI art dedicates its theater to showcasing plays and cabarets as well as documentary screenings. The theater also hosts a variety of workshops, from singing to yoga to salsa.
The library is a versatile reading and meeting space but also used for small concerts in an acoustic format. The most memorable events that I have attended at RAI art were held in the library space and include a gypsy jazz concert and a Jam de Escritura, or live writing, event. The space itself is very cute and consists of a small stage, walls lined with bookshelves, and café tables for the audience to sit at.
Finally, the bar area that links the two rooms is not only a cute space to chat with fellow event attendees, but it also acts as a means of financial self-sustainability for RAI Art.
As for the future of RAI Art, its coordinator Francesco Russo tells me that the space is fighting for not only itself but other cultural centers like it in the city; it seeks to not only add artistic value to the community but also to present alternative local spaces to counteract the mass tourism that Barcelona receives.
RAI Art is located in Born at Carrer Carders 12, principal. The nearest metro is Jaume 1 (yellow line). They ask for a yearly membership of just 3 euro that helps the space to stay alive and thriving. They are open from Tuesday-Sunday.