The Portimão Museum Prize for Welcoming, Inclusion and Belonging, the statue ‘Welcome’ by João Castro Silva (2019)

Chillida Leku Recognized at European Museum of the Year Awards

12 May 2023

Awarded with the Portimão Museum Prize for Welcoming, Inclusion and Belonging Award

The European Museum Forum has awarded Chillida Leku  with the Portimão Museum Prize for Welcoming, Inclusion and Belonging at the European Museum of the Year Awards (EMYA) 2023. Organized by the European Museum Forum and hosted by the Barcelona History Museum (MUHBA), this year the main theme of the conference was ‘Democracy and Democratisation: Urgent Challenges Today.’

The prize awarded to Chillida Leku celebrates the inclusive nature of the museum, a place where the physical environment, its humanistic values and its programming all contribute to the museum’s sense of inclusion and accessibility. Chillida Leku also has an active social agenda through its programme of public events, another reason why it has been distinguished with what is one of the most important awards in the cultural sector. In particular, the jury highlighted the museum’s activities that use multi-sensory and multi-creative expression to promote dialogue and open-mindedness.

‘This prize recognizes the work carried out by the museum team over the last few years, during which we have focused on integrating society and the surrounding area, as well as educational and informative programmes,’ explains Mireia Massagué, Managing Director of Chillida Leku. ‘Our aim as a museum is not only to raise awareness of Eduardo Chillida’s art works, but also to promote his core values in this very personal natural space that he built himself. Cultural institutions must show that culture is vital to understand the world we live in, and the museum is a meeting place where everyone can feel safe.’

Mireia Massagué, director of Chillida Leku during the awards ceremony in Barcelona © David del Val, MUHBA. EMYA Barcelona 2023

Summer workshop 2019 with the Maushaus collective at Chillida Leku © Zabalaga Leku. San Sebastián, VEGAP, 2023. Courtesy Succession Eduardo Chillida and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Mikel Chillida

The Portimão Museum Prize for Welcoming, Inclusion and Belonging honors museums that seek to include and welcome all visitors regardless of their class, gender, race, ethnicity, age or education. Chillida Leku continues to promote values relating to human rights, social justice, music and philosophy through its exhibitions and public programme. ‘Chillida Leku is committed to promoting social inclusion through its activities and allows all visitors to feel that they belong,’ said Nausica Sánchez, head of the Museum’s education department.

In addition, Chillida Leku has two programs that specifically address social challenges: the Lotura initiative is a collaboration with the Fundación la Caixa to promote artistic exploration for people at risk of social exclusion, which is now in its second year. Meanwhile, the Osasun Leku programme is an ongoing initiative launched with the support of the Orona Foundation during the COVID-19 pandemic to promote the mental health of medical workers.

Other activities such as the Big Draw Project, meditation, forest baths, yoga and workshops for all ages make the museum an open space for well-being. This commitment goes hand in hand with its intense efforts to strengthen the local community, including support for local producers and the development of relationships with those in surrounding area.

Learn more about the European Museum of the Year Awards (EMYA).

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