Tips for bringing the sparkle back to your village and turning it into an international attraction


Need ideas for changing the ailing fortunes of your village?


The good news is that there’s nothing like tough times for incubating weird and, occasionally, wonderful progress in human thinking.


Just over a year ago, Fanzara had little reason for residents to be optimistic and small hope of escaping its economic and population decline.


Salvation came in the unlikely form of Javier López and Rafa Gascó, both Fanzara residents and fans of street art. They figured that what Fanzara needed was a lick of paint. Spray paint, that is, and they decided to invite Spain’s top graffiti artists to come and splash a bit of color about the place.



With an average age somewhere in the mid-70s the only problem was that the majority of locals considered street art to be vandalism and, unsurprisingly, they opposed the idea.


So Javier and Rafa came up with a simple deal. They would allow the community to see sketches of the murals and to have a voice in deciding what and where the art would be. Then, if the residents weren’t happy with the results, they’d cover the murals with a fresh coat of white paint. What’s not to like?


So, 15 of Spain’s top artists came to decorate the walls of Fanzara and the residents came out to watch.


And they watched and they talked to the artists and they came back and watched some more.


Then this strange thing started to happen.


The residents started inviting the artists to come and paint their houses too, and thus was born MIAU, the Unfinished Museum of Urban Art. As word of the village spread, the visitors started to arrive.


Now the village is covered in breathtaking murals, there are cultural events and live music in the streets. You can feel the glow of local pride (the old people seem to have become experts in graffiti) and the stream of artists and tourists have brought life to the streets of Fanzara. The only problem now is finding wall space to paint on.



  • Find a cool yet marginalized art form (tattooing, parkour, origami or wingsuit flying).

  • Convince locals that it is cool by showing them pictures and educating them on the whole scene.

  • Set up facilities for exponents of the art form, a festival, or a centre of excellence.

  • Build an international reputation.

  • Sit back and watch your village flourish.

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