By Michael Bruxo [email protected]
Since 1990, the association of Faro musicians (Associação Recreativa e Cultural de Músicos) has served as a haven for the cultural development of the city, promoting local musicians and artists while offering them a place to express and practice their talent.
However, their existence has been threatened by an eviction notice sent by the owner of the association’s home last October, and now they are struggling to raise the funds necessary to re-locate.
Finding a stable home has been one of the main difficulties of the ARCM since its foundation, which shifted locations until it settled in its current spot in General Gomes Freire street around 10 years ago.
Armindo Silva, president of the ARCM, told the Algarve Resident that the municipal authority of Faro has provided the association with a property to build the new headquarters. However, economic limitations are preventing the project from moving forward.
The plan consists of a new headquarters to include 37 rehearsal spaces, one recording studio and two concert halls, at a total cost of €1.5 million.
In order to raise the necessary money for the construction, the ARCM has launched a fund-raising campaign, entitled ‘Tijolo a Tijolo se constroí a nova sede’ (New headquarters built brick by brick).
Depending on the value of the donation, those who wish to help will be rewarded accordingly. A €5 donation will mean the signing of the contributor’s name in one of the bricks that will be a part of the building. A €250 contribution will guarantee a donating company a 10-year publicity banner in the association.
Silva believes the possible closure of the ARCM would affect not only the musicians and artists of the city. Several associations utilise the space and carry out important social activities such as the rehabilitation of drug-addicts. If the building were to close down without a replacement, these associations, which also include theatre groups, would suffer heavy blows.
The president of the ARCM has even visited Parliament in order to raise awareness about the importance of the association, but government funding does not seem to be on the horizon.
However, he guarantees the ARCM will not go down without a fight and will do everything in its power to ensure that the association survives the tough situation it is faced with.
He also stressed the help provided by Faro Câmara, which acknowledges the importance of the ARCM in the cultural and artistic development of the city and in the life of its youth.
An example of a life which was deeply changed due to the ARCM is Rafael Rodrigues, chairman of the General Assembly of the association and one of the longest standing musicians of Faro. He confessed that there was a “click” in his life when he found out about the ACRM in 1998. “Finally, I had a place to spend my time doing something productive with my life: music,” he told the Algarve Resident.
Rodrigues believes that in 15 years he will still be rehearsing with his band An X Tasy at room no.4 at the ARCM with the same conviction he had at the beginning of his musical journey.
“Virtually 100% of the people I know now were connected somehow to music and the ARCM. Practically every night of my life since I’ve known about the association has been dedicated to this environment,” he said. “Our headquarters might disappear or migrate, but our association will always live on.”
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