ULMA Group adapts the reception area of its head offices as a space for exhibitions by artist employees
The initiative has just been launched with a photography exhibition by Natxo Santos, who portrays the quiet beauty of the Oñati landscapes.
Serene landscapes, the tranquillity of nature and the silent speech of architecture all form part of the first exhibition in a series organised by the ULMA Foundation so that workers and members of the ULMA Group with artistic inclinations can showcase their work. The project consists of converting a space in the reception area of the ULMA Group’s head offices in Oñati into an exhibition hall open to the public, where the Group’s employees can give free rein to their creativity. The shows will not only be enjoyed by the workers of the ULMA Group’s eight business units, but also by the public at large.
The initiative has begun with an exhibition of 20 photographs printed on foam board, by Natxo Santos, who works at the ULMA Construction formwork unit and is a huge photography fan. Natxo Santos presents a selection of shots portraying hidden places in Oñati where the town’s buildings seem to speak to observers through reflections in the water or silhouettes against a dawn sky.
The artist roams the town’s streets in search of images, also visiting nearby country landscapes to weave a storyline based on silence. Natxo is delighted with the initiative, considering it a unique opportunity to display artwork that would otherwise remain within the four walls of the artists’ homes.
“I think it’s an excellent idea as there are so many people creating all kinds of art but who don’t really have anywhere to show it. Opening up an exhibition space at the company’s offices is a great chance for us to display our work”, he assures. In his opinion, the initiative will encourage other worker-members with artistic ability to showcase their creations.
“People are just waiting for the chance to display their work. If it wasn’t for this type of initiative we wouldn’t get to see it,” he says.
With the aim of providing maximum visibility for the scheme, the ULMA Foundation is not just displaying the exhibitions to its workers but is also advertising them on the local radio so that the general public can find out about them and also attend. The initiative forms part of the activities organised by the Foundation, which aims to reflect ULMA’s cooperative values by contributing to social development.
News of the exhibitions has quickly spread and a steady stream of people are now coming to the Group’s headquarters to see the high quality of the works for themselves. Retired community member and exhibition visitor Miguel Ángel Irizar admits he has a passion for photography and is pleasantly surprised by the show.
“I really like Natxo’s photos. He’s a genuine crack and intuitively leads you into the image,” Mr. Irizar affirms, adding that he sees the scheme as a good chance to publicise the artwork of the ULMA Group employees.
“I think showing it in the hall of the headquarters of a company like ULMA is an extraordinary idea. Anyone who walks past can just go in and take a look, so it’ll be seen by lots of people,” he tells us.
The ULMA Foundation’s initiative is here to stay, and the organisers are in contact with other worker-members of the company so that they can also take part. The Group intends to stage new exhibitions throughout the year, thanks to the collaboration of all the workers and members who have decided to join the scheme and share their artistic contributions with the town of Oñati.