At Manises we are celebrating. On 8 November 2021 we became part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, in the category of Crafts and Popular Arts. We were the first and only city in Spain to achieve this distinction in this category.
The UNESCO Creative Cities form a creative map that links international locations with the aim of highlighting creativity as a driver of sustainable urban development. Manises was one of the 49 cities selected in the 2021 edition for its commitment to putting culture and creativity at the heart of development and sharing knowledge and good practices. The ceramics of our town is synonymous with tradition and history, some of the most emblematic buildings such as the Museum of Ceramics or the El Arte building are a great example of this. “It has been a year of frenetic activity that has highlighted the value of our ceramics in different and varied formats,” said the Mayor of Manises, Jesús Borràs i Sanchis. “I would like to thank the work that has been done by the whole UNESCO team to integrate our most deeply-rooted tradition into the life of the citizens of Manises,” added Borràs.
First Anniversary of Manises as a UNESCO Creative City
On the occasion of this first anniversary, on 26 November the Manises Town Council has organised a morning full of activities, workshops, and concerts to be held in the Els Filtres Park.
A Saturday full of ceramics with the Raku Fest, run by the workshop of the Manises potter Juan Carlos Iñesta, DOMANISES. A proposal that seeks to raise awareness of the raku ceramic technique originating in Korea.
For the little ones, a children’s pottery workshop has been organised by Aliarte Cerámica, run by the ceramist Alicia G. Bellver. An activity so that children can also enjoy ceramics and get closer to this tradition of the city in a fun way.
The final touch to the day will be provided by the Valencia Hot Five musical group with their Dixieland-style concert. The jazz quintet from Llíria will be in charge of livening up this anniversary where ceramics, music and leisure converge to perfection.
The event, aimed at all audiences, is scheduled to take place from 11:00-14:00 with free access until full capacity is reached.
A year full of events, history, and memories
This first year as a UNESCO City, a large number of celebrations, events and milestones have taken place around ceramics.
2022 began with the presence of Manises at FITUR in January, premiering its recent inclusion in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. In February, the catalogue of the Manises Ceramics Museum was presented, a 350-page publication showing the trajectory and roots of ceramics in the town. In March, Manises took part in the European Crafts Days, a festival that brought together 18 countries at the same time between the end of March and the beginning of April 2022.
As has become a tradition, the month of May saw the celebration of ¡Hola Cerámica!, an initiative promoted by the AeCC (Spanish Association of Ceramic Cities) with the aim of making ceramics more dynamic. On the 20th of May, the doors of the museums, workshops and other ceramic resources were opened to make them known to a wide public.
June saw the start of the 15th Manises International Ceramics Biennial, in which 325 artists from 47 different nationalities participated in this national and international competition. A total of 597 works were presented with ceramics as the common thread.
In July, the Ceramics Festival and its parade, which has been held for more than a century, were the main protagonists of the month. During these days, artisans and artists turned the city into an open-air ceramic stage with the participation of a large part of the citizens.
The ‘Platos de Cerámica’ exhibition was also presented in July, but this time changing the location from Manises to the Mercat Central de València.
During the summer, Manises hosted the Archaeological Youth Camp with local students and also students from Jordan.
The open day in the workshops of Manises, known as Cerámica Oberta, was held on 18 September, with workshops and visits completely free of charge. The aim of the day was to showcase ceramics and highlight the value of the artisans and all the local studios that carry out this activity.
The October agenda was marked by the 4th National Meeting of UNESCO Creative Cities, held in Dènia. In addition, Manises participated telematically in the annual meeting of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network – crafts and popular arts modality – held on this occasion in Jinju (South Korea).
The final climax of this 2022 comes with the anniversary party at the end of November. In addition, the ‘Platos de Cerámica’ exhibition is expected to move soon to the north of Portugal, specifically to the city of Barcelos, which is also part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the category of crafts and popular art. A year to remember with which Manises looks to the past but also to the present and the future.