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“He who does not play the guitar can sing a song; he who does not sing a song can write a verse; he who does not write a verse is read in a book.” This saying is common among the people of Loja, and it reflects an honest truth about the city.
Culture is the word that best defines the City of Loja, which has been home to some of Ecuador’s most emblematic and innovative artists throughout the nation’s history, including writers, intellectuals, musicians, and artists who have created some of the country’s most representative art. Names include Benjamín Carrión, Eduardo Kingman, Cristóbal Ojeada Dávila, Ángel Felicísimo Rojas, Pablo Palacio, José Ríofrío, Segundo Cueva Celi, and Matilde Hidalgo de Procel. The list goes on and on, and has blessed Loja with the reputation and Ecuador’s cultural and musical capital. This lineage is what led Benjamín Carrión a century ago to dare the country to become a cultural powerhouse.
Loja is the Ecuadorian city with the greatest number of artists in relation to its overall population, and has strong cultural and academic institutions that both sustain and generate dynamic cultural life among its population. Loja is one of Ecuador’s oldest cities, nestled in the Andes and crisscrossed by the Malacato and Zamora Rivers. It has been the inspiration for writers, poets, and musicians.
Bolívar Street: Heart in each brushstroke and melody
When the squares, parks, streets, and corners sing and dance, and the art of mimes, clowns, and theater people can get a smile, a tear, or a laugh out of every passer-by; when the streets and sidewalks are a canvas or a blackboard on which those who pass through provide the brushstrokes of joy and color through joy-filled sketches; when the strings of a guitar serve to spring forth emotions, and the seats in a theater come to life… these are the times in which the city shines through as a truly magical place.
This is the magic that comes to life in Loja during the International Performing Arts Festival, when the bright sun envelops the children and adults who flood Bolívar Street, one of the city’s most iconic areas, turning it into a canvas, a pentagram, a book, a blackboard, to live art with every beat of the heart and in each of its shapes.
Colored pencils, crayons, pens, paper, markers, cardboard; joy that multiplies, is contagious, and makes the city overflow with laughter and emotion thanks to the clowns and mimes, street theater, guitar strummers…in short, the heart of every stroke, every melody, and every verse. The heart of each native of Loja and each visitor is captured in the Loja International Performing Arts Festival.