Open Power Art

Open Power Art

“Open Power to Art”: the international street art project which is transforming Enel power plants and structures into open air art galleries to promote the socio-economic development of the local communities

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“When there’s no energy, there’s no colour, no shape, there’s no life.” This is how one of the greatest painters in history, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (better known as Caravaggio), perceived the profound bond between art and energy. Enel has made a commitment to highlight this ever-present, but often hidden bond, and to celebrate it through the universal language of art, as with the recent installation by Italian artist Maria Cristina Finucci, HELP, a rallying cry to defend the oceans threatened by plastic pollution. Energy for art – sustainable art that creates value for all the stakeholders involved.

 

Open Power to Art, open-air energy

Our Open Power approach means being receptive towards both the internal and the external: Enel is open to innovation, creative ideas and contributions, with the value of the idea being considered of greater importance than its origin. Enel has also applied this approach to the artistic sphere as part of an “integrated ecosystem.”

The “Open Power to Art” project consists in integrating and harmonising Enel’s assets and the areas that surround them into the urban fabric, developing artistic creativity and new skills within the host communities through partnerships with various institutions, associations and businesses.

This art is the very definition of "open", including the ways in which it can be shared and admired. This is achieved by using the architectural structures of our plants as open air galleries – thereby making truly “open art” – in order to communicate messages with a social and environmental impact and to unlock the potential of the younger generations to become leaders of change.

This project contributes to Enel’s strategic commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals – (SDGs), in particular, SDG 8 which supports the development of decent work and economic growth, capacity building and social inclusion in the community. Enel’s project raises awareness about the use of energy, respect for the environment, the importance of culture, and transforms cities into more sustainable areas, thereby contributing also to SDG 4 (Quality education) and SDG 11 (Make cities and human settlements sustainable).

 

From Europe to South America

The project extends across eight countries, including four in Europe (Italy, Romania, Russia and Spain) and four in South America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru), while other countries in the American and African continents are presently evaluating whether and how to participate.

The projects have been selected for both their artistic value and the message of sustainability that they communicate, celebrating local communities and integrating ethics, aesthetics, innovation and development. In several works, the theme is explicitly linked to energy: in Avellaneda, Argentina, the mural painted on the distribution cabins is a direct reference to clean energy, while in Sredneuralsk, Russia (where Enel has a thermoelectric power plant) it was dedicated to the national Year of the Environment.

Elsewhere, inspiration has been found in other Enel activities and, more generally, in themes of social progress and visions for the future: e.g. support for fishing and the local economy in Bocamina, Chile; biodiversity, history, science and sport in Romania; and nature and freedom at Las Salinas, in the Canary Islands of Spain.

 

Art that contributes to the commitment to sustainability

At times, art works can also protect the environment even more directly. For example the mural in Lima, Peru, was painted with a photocatalytic substance that absorbs pollution from the air and recycled materials were used in its creation. This way Enel contributes to a further two SDGs: SDG 7 (Affordable and clean energy) and SDG 13 (Climate Action).

Meanwhile, in Brazil, artworks have been created in public parks as part of a programme to reclaim the spaces through the use of recycled materials, following the principles of the circular economy and true innovability (the combination of innovation and sustainability): in this case, social sustainability is a consequence of improving the quality of life for residents, increasing inclusion and reducing urban violence.

In many cases, the initiatives were carried out in partnership with local institutions and businesses, within an ecosystem logic, thereby combining the strengths of the various actors involved to create value in the local area and ensuring greater visibility. In Italy, for example, where more than 17 art works have already been created, Enel is participating in a project to establish a national committee to encourage and share sustainable themes in street art.

Collaborations like these have the potential to create increasingly incisive effects at all levels: our aim is to increase their number and bring the “Open Power to Art” project to new places.

Sustainable Art is creating new opportunities and pioneering a new path into the future.