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OUR PEOPLEFirst, people. Everyday, people from Agra do Orzán, Ventorrillo, Mariñeiros, Peruleiro, A Silva or Vismavisit Ágora.All of them are part of our library. Locals, the same as those arrived yesterday or the day before. Thosereflecting in their eyes memories of Gramela or Visma and those bringing images from Dakar,Montevideo, Marraketch or Malabo, prepared to share them with those of us whishing to see and hear.Those who came from Costa da Morte and those arrived from Senegal’s shore. Those who moved withinthe city, and those who came from the countryside...Teens and elder, girls and boys. Wrinkled people whose face and hands have been carved by time,newborn toddlers with their soft skin. All of us coexist within this green wind territory, a working-classland, open to the Atlantic oceans and their paths.We are localsWhere we are now, under this Ágora of words, flowers grew once, and streams of subterranean waterran, and thus were we told. And that is how we want it today, we want the voices and memories ofthose who live and have lived here run like a river: that of Mr. Paco, the one from Silva’s Nieves deAlarcon, Lecho’s from Mariñeiros, the one of Ms. Carmen partying in Cuba street...they are our treasure,our memories, our identity, and the pillar to start building our future. Many of them came fromBergantiños many years ago. Others are local. Who cares...Men and women together have been essential here in the everyday life as well as in the changesaround, collectively working for the common welfare of citizens. People like Xosé Ramón Calvete, fromSan Pedro Neighbour’s Association; Rosa María Barreiro and Carlos Suárez from Agra do OrzánNeighbour’s Association or Ana María Rodríguez (Peruleiro-Mariñeiros Neighbour’s Association). Thosecollectives they conform are key elements in the daily life of the neibourghoods sorrounding Ágora.Round trip.Within Galicia, we are more than used to migrate all around the world, and we are more than conciousof the personal and human wound that it provokes, the family distance, all the uncertainty facing a newlife to be built. Such model of migration we experienced is the current one we live in now: the firstarrived, call upon the following, people they know, their families, their neighbours.Most of the foreign population here are African (most of them from Senegal and Marroco, but also fromGuinea, Camerun and other places) and Southamerican (mainly from Urugay, Colombia and Argentina)They have to learn our languages (Galician, Spanish...) to be understood, look for work, look for a placeto sleep...but this means efforts, sadness or intolerance. A new beginning is never easy. That is why, ontheir arrival, they join together in collectives supporting each other (namely Aseser Teranga fromSenegal) and different other asssociations working for diversity and social justice (NGOs like Viraventos,Equus Zebra, Xabier Pita, Asociación Sen Papeis, Tierra de hombres, Cáritas...)We, as the Ágora Library, want to support all these people and collectives.
LIFE PLACESUrban densityDuring decades, this zone has been punished by massive construction and lack ofgovernmental care, but still it has been proud of itself. Still solidary, active, andcapable of making its voice be heard. That is the way Agra do Orzán is, the core ofAgora’s sphere of influence.Such an uncontrolled, chaotic urban model, plenty of high buildings and suffocatingdensities, has been the constant for a living here, and still is today.Demarcated by two avenues – namely Nelle and Outeiro – and Barcelona street as themost vivid street, all the public space depends on the comercial activity of Conchiñas,Vila de Negreira and Barcelona street itself. But now is pending Observatorio’s reformto turn it into a public space.During late 70s and earliy 80s Ventorrillo started to conform as it is, mainly a greenresidential area, filled with public spaces and collective equipments, but built indifferent quality materials. Ventorrillo area can be considered the naturalcontinuation of Agra. It has two specific areas characterized by their marked sense ofidentity: Katanga and Mariñeiros. The name of Katanga refers to the war on Congo inearly 70s. They are linear buildings parallel to the Ronda de Outeiro. Mariñeiros, a.k.a.the Casas de Franco, were built during the 50s and are connected directly to fishingand the sea commerce.Despite the unavoidable past of time, both Katanga and Mariñeiros still have a strongfeeling of identity and old neighbourhood spirit which makes them really interestinginside the Agra area.Despite its chaotic and violent urban planning, Agra do Orzan managed to copesuccesfully with the massive migratory movements around; first, coming from ruralareas within Galiza, then those who came from America and Africa. Locals welcomedthe foreign population resulting in a new identity with its own distinguishing featuresto defend and value.Rural survivalWhile Agra and Ventorrillo represent high poulation density and uncontrolled urbanplanning, the small places of Silva, Cances and San Pedro de Visma, survive as theremains of the rural spaces within the city, coexisting among the coasts and massiveconstructions and roads that suffocate their territory.
Urban space is free, unplanned and open. On the contrary, therural structure is characterized by being single-family, with gardens and courtyards,with no sidewalks and adapted to the territory. Thus, urban growth swallows up ruralareas and involve clear transformations for their inhabitants and territory.There is a change on the natural landscape, but, above all, there is a change in habits.It modifies the names of places changing them into commercial new ones, and keepingaside the traditional ones, thus changing the collective memory: Gramela, Barral,Caldemoreiras, Loureiro, ... It also modifies social habits, doors now need to be closedas part of the population is just population but not inhabitants of the area. The sameway, traditional fests come to be mere celebrations instead of a ceremony of sharingspace and experiences.Whitin this context, social ties are modified and generational gaps mark the differencebetween the elder sphere and that of their grandsons and daughters.Looking at the maps, we can see Oza Council, as it was independent from Coruña until1912. It was demarked by the Casa de Máquinas and Mondelos river bridge, coveringthe whole suburbs of the town from Visma to Santa María de Oza.Both Campo da Burra and Parque do Observatorio are spaces in conflict. Neighbours’intentions collide with urban planning when dealing with their future. They are anatural green lung as well as the vantage point of the Agra regarding the city. Thusthe intention of the population around is to transform them into a natural space andopen park to be used by them and having into account the massive construction inthe area.One of the major features of Agra do Orzán when talking about its urban landscape isits inner patios. They are empty, quiet spaces, carefully cared by their owners. Theyare meant to be transformed in connected spaces for the public use.San Pedro de Visma has a strong rural and sailor tradition. Nowadays, this is beingviolently modified by means of an invasive building plan that dismiss its specificfeatures.COMMERCE AND WORKRETAILSCodeco staff shop, Chaplin cinemas, the opening of supermarkets, Queijo video store,the Zara shop in Barcelona st., all the pubs and bars...these are recurrent images of thepast when neighbours talk about old times and commerce in the area. But nowstrategies have to be rebuilt. When locales talk about he evolution of the commercearound the y always mention the evolution they suffered during the years.
There are lost of references neighbors mention when dealingwith this subject: from traditional grocery stores to the first supermarkets andcomercial galleries and of course, the evolution of Barcelona st. including itstransformation into a walkway turning thus into the commercial core of the area andits later decline as bigger malls appeared in the city. It was times when the streets Villade Negreira and Conchiñas were crowded with people, contrary to the current state ofaffairs.However, and despite the changes experienced, comercial activity was tradionally oneof the most important aspects in terms of economic welfare. In fact, it still keepsimortance and relevance nowadays. Today the area is clearly multicultural, plenty ofcall centers,all 1€ shops, food shops, different specific shops and offers oriented to thedifferent nationalities inhabiting the area. This kind of commerce has helped torevitalise degraded areas as well as to keep many small business opened.There are three commercial organizations in the area: Conchiñas,Barcelona st. and Agra del Orzán, working for the detection of needingsand how to solve them, as well as improving the small commerce aroundthe zone.PAST AND PRESENT JOBSCurrent Agra del Orzán population is the result of different waves of migration withinGalicia and outside it. This brings the area a clear and very characteristic multiculturalapproach.There are few urban spaces to meet except for Barcelona st. and Conchiñas market.There cohexist migrants retorned from America, Chinese population working onrestaurants or small gift shops Colombian and Morocco population ruling ethnicalbusiness to solve its partners necessities and of course open to those of the locals (hairsaloons, grocery stores, call centers, bazars...). There is also a great presence of thedescendants of those coming once from Carballo or Malpica.Such a diversity have changed the rules for job stratification that existed previouslyregarding the specific population of an area. To talk about areas like Mariñeiros meantto talk about men going to the sea from the Portiño and women selling fish in LugoMarket, the same that should take part later in the beginning of Amancio Ortegasbusiness.Agra del Orzan area had also a lot to do on the starting of the refinery and Bens/ AGrela industrial state as well as the comercial development in Barcelona st. due tomake it a walkway.
Ventorrillo was from its beginning, the most midclass zone, mixing a lot of differentjobs in it.Conchiñas MarketBuilt in the mid 70s, it had more that 5000 square floors metres dividend in threelevels. It was rebuilt in the first decade of XXI Century.A place for retails.The low value of commercial plot in relation to other areas in the city as well as its locatión beetween the two main roads in Coruña and the high density of populationinhabiting the area, make Agra del Orzan a place clearly influenced in its growth bysmall commerce.Barcelona Street was in Vogue during the 90s. Making it a walkway helped to create avery dinamic place in terms of commerce. It is still today the main place for meetingand relation for those who inhabit the area.SCHOOLS FOR A BETTER FUTURESchools aroundCEIP Raquel CamachoThis school was innagurated the year 1969-1970 and has been the witness of thetransformations around it. Nowadays it focusses mainly in values like social harmonyand social respect . It also develops an specific project to promote the use of newtechnologies with the project Abalar.CEIP María BarbeitoMaría Barbeito was built in 1977, when the Ventorrillo area began to grow. This publiccenter tries to promote ethical values and tries to bring a comprehensive andcustomized formation on all kind of skills and moral values from the personal andfamiliar, to the profesional and social spheres. This is done by using open anddemocratic attitudes to help gender equality and to avoid any kind of discrimination.This is an example of a school clearly connected with Galician tradition and culture, butrespectful and open to any other culture.CEIP San Pedro de VismaThis school was opened in 1989. It is a plurilingual center deeply connected with therural area that surrounds it as it takes advantage of it in many ways. Focussed onsocial coexistence, new technologies and reading promotion. Visma´s school hasspecific programs like A horta escolar or Radio SPV.
Secondary SchoolsIES Rafael DiesteRafael Dieste Secondary school started to work in 1989 receiving students from Agrado Orzán and other areas of the city. Apart from being selected as Bilingual School inthe year 2010-2011, it still develops the provincial project Sección Bilingüe. It alsocarries on an important program together with many social and cultural oprganizationsof the area.IES AgraLocated just beside Ágora, Agra Secondary School is one of the main educationalreferences of the area and it is characterized by the multicultural nature of itsstudents. It also has mediation teams and is going take part on the Abalar project, tohelp to promote the use of new technologies in the center.IES Salvador de MadariagaSalvador de madariaga Secondary School is a public center whose main objective is thecomprehensive formation of its students in many different areas like Science, Morals,Arts, Phisics and Scoacial aspects.It follows the current tendency of teaching, focussing on personal development,respect and coexistence and basic rights.The center mixes both Obligatory and Postobligatory Secondary education. Bothsecondary courses are taught in the center, as well as the second course of PCPI andpostobligatory secondary education night-shift.The current building was inaugurated September 23, 1947.Other centersBesides the public centers, ther also exist different private centers thatcomplement the current educational offer.To name but a few, we shall mention private centers like Tomás Barros – whichactually is the only private center offering the whole courses regarding Socio-CulturalServices to the comunity –; as well as academies like Aula Nosa, and children schoolslike Picariños or Pequerrechos.Who was s/he?María Barbeito (A Coruña, 1880-1970). She was a very well know and innovativeGalician teacher with firm social convictions on progress and social equality. As head of
many schools she promoted an active school model and included Phisical andArts activities in the programs. She also promoted the active use of Galician in theschools and well as the equalitarian education regarding gender and started schoolcafeterias. Undoubtly, she was an example of a teacher devoted to the public qualityteaching.Tomás Barros (Toledo 1992 - A Coruña 1986). He was a Galician painter and writerspecially brilliant on poetry and drama. He was clearly positioned against Franco’sregime and collaborated with many artists in exile like Luís Seoane or Rafael dieste. Healso was know as an important cultural motivator, started publications like Aturuxo(1952) or Nordés (1975) and belonged to the Real Academia Galega.TRADITIONALLY SPORTMEN!Let’s talk about trawneys, football, indoor soccer, basketball, chave, boxing,skateboarding, gymnastics...The collective memories of the area keep alive andproudly talks about sport clubs, sportsmen/sportswomen and the different collectivesrelated to physical activities.Mariñeiros´people have the time of the Batallador club carved in their minds; Visma’sremember the 40s when their trawneys ruled all the competitions around. Meanwhile,Ventorrillo and Agra population remember their sport associations from the 90s aswell as their indoor soccer teams.Nowdays, there is a wide range of different sports and activities like boxing gyms –Azteca - or the traditional chave, which is one of the pillars in the lives of those inMariñeiros. But also we have to mention swimming, aerobics, Agra gym or VentorrilloF.S. football school.Sure you know a lot more around!A Coruña Basket ClubJanuary 1995, Arteixo Basketball Club signs an agreement with the Ventorrillo SportsGroup as their pavillion was being opened in the Ventorrillo. The agreement specifiedthat the team was permanently linked to the Ventorrillo Sports Association and thebasketball school from the Ventorrillo should be built. At the same time, ArteixoBasketball Club manages to play the National Basket League.In July 1996 Coruña Basket Club, previously playing the EBA league, descends anddisappears all at once. After an agreement between both directive teams, ArteixoBasket Club moves to A Coruña using Ventorrillo´s place.Thus, by mixing both Arteixo’s and Ventorrillo’s basket club, Coruña Basket Club isborn. The new structure of the club begins with a team playing the EBA league using
Ventorrillo’s place, and a second one playing the major league in Riazor Stadium. Thehead office is final set in Ventorrillo’s Neighbours Association and the directive staffmixes both previous clubs.Azteca Boxing Club is a gym specifically oriented to boxing in all its varieties: classical,non-contact, female, children, among others. This club is deeply related to spreadingthe proper values of boxing: humility, quality, perseverance and hard work. Thuscreating a charming atmosphere with a plural and positive spirit where all ages andsocial status mix.Mariñeiros Chave Club was born when a group of neighbours realized it was time tochange football for some any other sport more suitable to their age. Thirty years later,they are considered a local as well as State reference, playing the major league, theDivisión de Honor Galega.Ventorrillo Indoor Soccer ClubThis club was founded in 1982, bringing a really importante football school for kids. Itsmain aim is to keep this sport alive bearing in mind the most important local teams likeChaston or 5 Coruña.San Pedro de Visma Oarsmen ClubThis club was the leader of any regatta held in the city during the 40s. 44’s victoriesover the Centro Deportivo Santa Lucía and Liceo Monelos are very well documented inthe local archives. Visma’s trwney was “María del Carmen” which won the DiputaciónCup that very same year.Land of artistsWe are a land of artists. That is how Xurxo Souto vehemently, witty andpassionate explains once and again. Although he is originally from MonteAlto, he has already been inhabiting Ventorrillo for years. Both thequantity and variety of artistic manifestations around the area seem toconfirm Soutos words.Around Ventorrillo area we can find companies like Manicómicos, Danthea or Gurugúhall, but also language training projects like the one from Katarsis, the enterpriseAlgarabía Animación or the Sociopedagogical Galician Association. All of thempromoting different projects and working on different fileds.The sorrounding areas of Ágora have traditionally held different fests and events. TheFesta da Diversidade Cultural featured the different migrants and social collectivesaround. It is also important to highlight the Festival Artístico Paralelo 43 23 45", which
helped to promote photography, painting, esculpture, music and artistic workshipsthrough the commerces and urban spaces around.Still, it is music what dominates Agra, Silva, Ventorrillo or Visma. To name but a few,we can mention the music of Pucho Boedo, that of those verbenas still remembered bythe quality of their bands in Silva or Ventorrillo, the music of the pipers around, that ofthe Concheiros Association or Luar na Lubre’s main figure -Bieito Romero- playing thepipe through Ventorrillos paths... But also updated proposals like Álvaro Muras jazz-funk, or the kids practising in the rooms around.Not only music, but words are important here. In our library, meaning the open spaceconsidered Ágora for anyone to take part of it, are the voices of universal writers fromCoruña like Pilar Pallarés, Miguel Mato Fondo, Xabier Cordal or Xabier Docampo,coexisting with that of Léopold Sédar Senghor from Senegal, Eduardo Galeano fromUruguay, Mohamed Chukri from Marrakesh or Belén Gopegui from Spain.We have also to pay attention to the cinema. From the Agra area Fran Calvelo projectshis short films internationally: Carabás, Crisálida, Santiago de Sangre... Also from theVentorrillo Xurxo Souto directs the project of the documentary about Pucho BoedoPucho Boedo, un crooner na fin do mundo.Also Galician, classical or oriental dancing. Also blogs. Also graffiti and new artisticmanifestations e the count goes on...But above all, there is notheing more important that the history and identity of thepeople around the area: the memorices of life, the mares of the territory, the names ofthe places, the experiences lived along their different lifes.Long story short: that is the culture we love in Suma Ágora and the one we want togive a pull.Pucho Boedo, the voice of the people.We could not understand talking about the culture of Silva and Ventorrilloareas if we do not talk about their most eminent talent as well as its mostfamous artist: the great Pucho Boedo.The crooner from a Coruña was born in 1929 in Silva. His family was anarchist and hadto face Francos repression when the Civil War begun. His father and his brother weremembers of the CNT killed by the fascists. His other brother had to exile to Venezuelafor many years. All this happened when Pucho Boedo was only seven.
He was very well know in the area for being a very good football player and also forstarting to work in any job very soon, as varnisher, bootcleaner or office boy.Moreover, his talent singing stood out within the area. His first band was Eslava, andthen on, many others came: Ubierna, Los Satélites, Mallo, Radio City or LosTrovadores.In 1959, when he was thirty and with lots of international experience thanks to histravels with Satélites and Trovadores, he was required by Los Tamara as they werereturning from Morocco and had tour dates on Europe. Being part of this formationhelped him to share stage with many famous artists of the time like Shirley Bassey,Jacques Brel, Charles Aznavour, Gilbert Becaud, Charles Trenet or Doménico Modugno.Then records came with the French label Bel-Air. Finally Pucho recorded eight recordswith Los Tamara, some of them in Galician which was a declaration of principles asGalician language was under siege during Franco’s regime. These Galician records werethe most famous and that pulled him to the biggest stages: Paris’ Olympia or CostaAzul Casinos, but he never forgot his roots, a working class family from A Silva, ACoruña, that privileged place where the land penetrates the ocean and salutes thewinds of freedom.Childhood timesPast times kids from Agra, Visma and mariñeiros remember how they used to spendtheir children time around.They tell us about hills, fields and gardens surrounding Divina Pastora, the casas deFranco, and Mariñeiros area. A place for the kids to imagine, building their own toysand discovering by themselves the nature around.The old nursery manhole, where we are now as a library, was their playground. In thesurroundings, small cabins where built in the trees and goldfinches hunted using VirgoBlanco glue or gum to be sold for a few coins later and ride some Taboada’s hired bikesin the Praza de Lugo. Collecting fruit from the houses surrounding Riazor area ou nearthe Observatorio was another frequent activity.Summertime suggested a sunbath in the Portiño, or fishing with friends in the dockusing their parent’s boats or just navigating the harbour and the Parrote.Lack of money help to stir imagination up. In Rancheiro Hill, where thearmy performed their shooting practices, gangs of kids collected the shellsor even the bullets buried in the floor as being copper they were later very
well paid. In case of joining money enough they could even afford thetickets for the Finisterre cinema and buy some sweets.As they grew up, being fifteen and sixteen, they started to attend ballsoutside the city in the Seijal, the Nikar, the Cinco Estrellas or the Sally.Some of them even visiting the Rey Brigo in Betanzos or the Moderno inSada. The younger ones even remember to attend the balls organized inthe Circo de Artesáns or Finisterre.Of partys and fests.During the Sixties, besides parties, hotel balls like those in the Embajador, la Granja,the Finisterre, were really in vogue. These ballrooms included a band playing alive forthe guests.And then there were the verbenas. They were different at the time,experienced differently as they were awaited the whole year being almostthe only party they had. Verbenas were the most important event in theyear, and many boys and girls together with some adult helped toorganiza them collecting money in every home. Those were the times forflirting and using the new shoes and trousers, the best clothes each onehad.The area of Campo de Vioño, Silva and Ventorrillo were known to havegood verbenas as well as good bands playing in them, same as the ones infront of the Finisterre. The most famoust bands at that time wereTrovadores, Satélites or Orquesta X, but there were a lot more around thecity, high quality ones.Easter, Mardi Gras, San Xoán, Christmas,...Obviously the rest of festivities were also celebrated and still are by thewhole neighbourhood. Easter, Mardi Grass, San Xoan, Shamain, Christmashave been traditionally very present in the sorroundings of this library. Weeven know that one of our neighbours – X.L. Brandariz, from Ventorrillo –was one of the starters of the traditional bonfires in Coruña.