It’s flying time again! 

After countless hours spent figuring out which COVID test to take and how to perform what once were basic operations, like boarding a flight, the long-awaited moment has finally come. I am going to Spain! 

I can’t believe it’s been more than a year since I last stepped inside an airplane, walking down my favorite aisle, and yet here I am again, with my boarding ticket in one hand and my negative Covid antigen test in the other. It’s a strange feeling, exciting and scary at the same time. But I guess it partly has to do with the fact that the Florence airport is almost empty, my flight is the only one leaving at this time, and the whole building looks a little bit like a ghost town. 

Fast forward one week, and everything seems back to normal. 
I visited a beautiful city, went to some really cool museums and galleries, met some incredible people, walked an enormous number of steps every day, and ultimately had what I have been craving for in the past 12 months at least. A glimpse of normality.  

Barcelona was the ideal destination for the first longer trip in months.

I was actually there for work, to participate in the ArtsLibris fair, so I already had contacts there. Nonetheless, I was traveling alone (hooray!), which allowed me to move and visit some things at my own pace and with my own schedule. 

It was also my first time in Barcelona in a long time, so after dwelling a little bit in very touristy activities, like visiting the Sagrada Familia or Casa Batlò, as well as my favorite museums, I opted for a round-up of galleries and smaller art centers. And, unsurprisingly, Barcelona presented itself as an extremely rich and diverse city. Not only it has some of the best museums in Europe, like (my beloved) MACBA, but it boasts an incredible number of independent spaces as well. Sharing the same hybrid function of both art centers and residency programs or production centers, here are four independent spaces you should not miss on your next trip to the Catalan city.

Art center Barcelona - Hangar


Hangar is both an exhibition space and a center for art research and production.

Located in a building loaned by the Barcelona City Council in the Can Ricart complex, Hangar is hosted in an industrial environment within the Poblenou neighborhood in Barcelona. The architecture is from the mid 19th Century and was originally designed for the textile industry. It includes 15 individual artist studio spaces, a theater, production rooms, and a residency.

Originally opened in 1997 to provide artists and creators with a place where they could work and share their knowledge, it now serves as an incredible hub to discover the latest trends and developments of Catalan art. 

Carrer Emilia Coranty, 16 (antic Passatge Marquès de Sta. Isabel, 40) – Can Ricart

Info and opening hours

Art Center Barcelona - Fabra i Coats

Centre d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona – Fabra i Coats

More specifically dedicated to exhibiting art, as well as providing support to artists, the Contemporary Art Centre of Barcelona – Fabra i Coats is definitely another top choice among art centers to visit in Barcelona. 

Focusing on the promotion of artistic production developed in Barcelona and Catalonia, and at the same time open to the international scene, the Contemporary Art Centre of Barcelona is yet another incredible example of industrial architecture turned into an avant-garde art center. 

Located in the front wing of the old Fabra i Coats textile factory, in the district of Sant Andreu, the center occupies three floors, dedicated mainly to exhibitions and public activities. 

In close proximity to Espronceda and B-Murals, The Contemporary Art Centre of Barcelona – Fabra i Coats’ is the perfect destination if you are looking for cool exhibitions a bit outside of the more touristy areas of Barcelona. You can easily pair the visit with the neighbors institutions for a full day of amazing contemporary art. 

Centre d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona – Fabra i Coats
c/ Sant Adrià, 20. 08030 Barcelona

Info and opening hours

Espronceda Institute of Art & Culture

One of my latest discoveries, and definitely one of my favorite places in Barcelona, Espronceda Institute of Art & Culture is the perfect destination if you are looking for an independent art center in the Catalan city. Not too far from the tourist attractions, like Sagrada Familia, and yet a little off the beaten track, Espronceda is an amazing destination to discover interesting new artists or enjoy a performance or an art talk.

I was lucky enough to meet and get to work with the amazing team behind the Espronceda program, and I can assure you their work is top quality. Not only do they have a beautiful space, dedicated to temporary exhibitions and events, but they also run a residency program for artists and curators, while also collaborating with other institutions. Their program is varied and always very interesting, open to artists coming from all over the world, unlike many other institutions in Barcelona. Come here for cool international contemporary art, not too far from some Gaudi treats. 

Espronceda Institute of Art & Culture
Nave 4 y 5, C. d’Espronceda, 326, 08027 Barcelona, Spain

Info and opening hours

Art Center Barcelona - B-Murals

B-Murals / Centre d’Art Urbà 

Last but not least, B-Murals is the quintessential urban space. Located halfway between Espronceda and Fabra i Coats, B-Murals is hosted in an industrial complex that has been reconverted into a self-managed cultural organization. 

The center focuses on street art, urban art, and murals, fostering mural interventions, residencies, and exhibitions. Their program aims to bring artists, the public, and citizens together in a colorful and thought-provoking environment. 

Working both with local and international artists, B-Murals is one of the best art centers for all the alternative and more funky art lovers visiting Barcelona.

B-Murals / Centre d’Art Urbà
Carrer Ferran Turné, 11, 08027 Barcelona, Spain

Info and opening hours

Cover image by Jose Llamas on Unsplash