Interesting Times Bureau

is a project made by Asociatia Coolturala “Noua ne pasa!”

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Interesting Times Social Bureau

The Interesting Times Bureau was launched by the non-profit organisation Asociatia Coolturala “Noua Ne Pasa!” with the purpose of supporting local cultural and artistic projects that relate to urban life and environment and fund them by developing sustainable urban tours and workshops.

Members of the local community (artists, architects, activists, social entrepreneurs, curators),designed our tours to cater, primarily, to the needs of the city and only secondarily to the needs of the tourist market.
Simultaneously and symbiotically this creates more content and more opportunities for the tourists to enjoy, thus enabling a positive feedback loop that helps grow a city in dire need of urban and social development: according to Mastercard’s Global Destination City Index (2014), Bucharest ranks on no. 90 out of 132 cities.

As the study shows, there is a deep connection between a city’s cultural and artistic, its social and economical development and tourism:

“The impact of travel on destination cities that receive visitors are very significant from the business, social, and cultural perspectives. International visitors’ spending constitute an increasingly important source of business revenue in a destination city, encompassing the hospitality, retail, transport, sports, and cultural industries, among many others. In many instances, it is a major economic engine for employment and income generation for the city in question. Along with the flow of visitors comes the flow of new ideas and experiences that benefits both the visitors and the destination cities, which are just as important as the flow of pending. As a result, the more connected a destination city is to other cities, the more vibrant and dynamic it becomes.”

Our first initiative is all about street art: a true transformative urban art form, with a deep social message and profound local impact.

Unfortunately, street art is still perceived, in Bucharest, as a form of glorified vandalism. So, while communities such as East London, Berlin, Gdansk and Lodz (in Poland) have learnt to embrace, support and promote street art, in Romania, we are still fighting old mentalities and the genre is still in its infancy.

With virtually no support from local authorities, the little progress being made, should be credited to the local street art community or civil society movements such as Street Delivery. A good example is the video above.

Interesting Times Bureau, in collaboration with local street artists and promoters, has developed a street-art tour and a street-art workshop that will help both showcase current works to tourists and locals and also finance new murals in city areas that badly need them: central disadvantaged neighborhoods or bedroom quarters.

Just as the like-minded Polish organisation “Urban Forms” explained:

“The fundamental idea is to create a permanent exhibition of street art in the public space.Street art unquestionably is one of the most powerful artistic movements in contemporary culture as well as in history of art in general.We want to change city space by raising its quality and aesthetics. We see artistic activities as important tools in education and social revitalization.”