About Banco de la República´s Cultural Labor
Over the years, Banco de la República, the Central Bank of Colombia (BR), has structured a long-term cultural project that contributes to managing the nation's cultural heritage, promotes access to knowledge, and helps consolidate the sense of citizenship. It is through two great lines of work—economic and cultural—that the Bank fulfills its mission of contributing to the well-being of Colombian citizens.
Through a cultural network that reaches 29 cities in the country, the Bank has turned cultural management into a sustainable, accessible, and inclusive model that promotes reflection and critical thinking and which stands as a reference for other institutions. With these objectives, it continuously and efficiently carries out actions related to music endeavors as well as those pertaining to plastic arts and the documentary, numismatic, philatelic, archaeological, and ethnographic collections.
Banco de la Republica’s national cultural project is carried out in the cities of Armenia, Barranquilla, Bogotá, Bucaramanga, Buenaventura, Cali, Cartagena, Cúcuta, Florencia, Girardot, Honda, Ibagué, Ipiales, Leticia, Manizales, Medellín, Montería, Neiva, Pasto, Pereira, Popayán, Quibdó, Riohacha, San Andrés, Santa Marta, Sincelejo, Tunja, Valledupar, and Villavicencio, as well as in the virtual realm through its collections and programming.
Each of these cultural centers is a space designed according to the vocation and needs of the region and its public. Likewise, their collections, cultural services, and ongoing programming respond to these needs. By operating as a networked system, cultural centers develop their work through constant interaction in order to provide more complete and comprehensive services to their communities.
Some of the leading and most emblematic venues of this cultural network are:
- The Luis Ángel Arango library: The BLAA, as it is known colloquially, is one of the most visited libraries in the world. It has a multiple vocation: it is both a public, patrimonial, and research library. Additionally, its Virtual Library provides access to bibliographic material in different formats, mostly about Colombia or Colombian authors, and is consulted by millions of users from around the country and the world. In the same vein, the Casa Gómez Campuzano is branch of the BLAA in northern Bogotá that houses Alfonso Palacio Rudas’ bibliographic collection, which was donated to the Luis Ángel Arango library in 1997.
The BLAA leads Banco de la Republica's national Library Network, and serves 29 cultural centers, 22 of which are libraries, 5 have regional documentation centers, and 3 provide services through interlibrary loans. This extensive network includes libraries of renowned trajectory such as the Bartolomé Calvo library in Cartagena, the Darío Echandía library in Ibagué, the Gabriel García Márquez library in Santa Marta, and the Orlando Fals Borda Documentation Center in Montería, among others.
2. The Gold Museum in Bogotá holds the world's largest pre-Hispanic gold collection. It is a founding place for Colombian cultural identity. The museum exhibits its collections of gold, ceramics, and lithic pieces together with other materials as part of the nation’s cultural heritage, thus contributing to strengthen the cultural identity of Colombians through enjoyment, learning, and inspiration. This mission takes place at the Gold Museum in Bogotá as well as in six other cities that display collections specific to their regions: The Quimbaya Gold Museum in Armenia; the Calima Gold Museum in Cali; the Zenú Gold Museum in Cartagena; the Nariño Gold Museum in Pasto; the Tairona Gold Museum in Santa Marta; and the Ethnographic Museum in Leticia.
3. Art Museums: After more than six decades of rigorous and constant collection, Banco de la República holds one of the most significant art collections in the country, which is displayed in its museums in Bogotá and through exhibitions and projects of artistic circulation in the other 28 cities where the Central Bank develops its cultural work.
The following museums run by the Bank are located in Bogotá:
The Miguel Urrutia Art Museum (MAMU), which exhibits BR's collection of Colombian and international art. The assembly is articulated around a dialog between Colombian and international plastic arts, while confronting works from different historical periods. The MAMU also has two temporary exhibit rooms and the Parqueadero, an experimental space for contemporary artistic practices.
The Botero Museum: Thanks to the donation made by artist Fernando Botero in 2000 to Banco de la República, it is possible to visit this important art exhibit free of charge, made up of 123 works of his authorship and 85 by outstanding international artists. This exhibition, which traces the history of universal modern art from Corot to Barceló and the great names of universal modern artists such as Pissaro, Degas, Picasso, Dalí, Miró, Kokoschka, and Lucian Freud is a window into universal art in Latin America.
The Casa de Moneda Museum: Located in the colonial cloister where the first gold coins were produced in America in 1622, the museum exhibits the collection of banknotes, coins, and minting machinery that tell the history of Colombia. Also, it shows the architectural changes made to the house until late in the 20th century.
The Casa Gómez Campuzano brings together more than 400 works by artist Ricardo Gómez Campuzano, one of the most representative artists of Colombian art from the early 20th century. The house and the collection were donated to the Central Bank by the Gómez Campuzano family.
4.Musical activity at Banco de la República, whose action center is the emblematic Concert Hall at the Luis Ángel Arango Library, is committed to providing quality musical programming throughout all its cultural centers. The National Concert Season comprises of approximately 120 concerts and offers a varied selection of different musics from the world, as well as the best performers from the country and the international scene.
Thanks to its extensive offer of cultural services free of charge throughout the country, BR serves more than six million face-to-face users and over ten million users on its virtual platforms, yearly. The results of this task materialize in continuous processes of national heritage management, access to knowledge, promotion of creativity, and circulation of artists and musicians. After nearly 90 years of work, cultural activity at Banco de la República continues to grow under the institutional direction of the Office for Cultural Affairs.
Currently, the Chief Officer for Cultural Affairs at Banco de la República is Ms. Ángela Pérez Mejía.