The CAAM, administered by the Gran Canaria Island Council, was first opened on 4th December 1989. CAAM’s first programme text already expressed the firm intention of combining two courses of institutional action in the cultural life of Canarian Society, namely to constitute itself as an Art Centre in which the most current artistic debates could be collected and disseminated through various activities; and at the same time, to build a Museum of Contemporary Art that aspires to becoming an incontrovertible point of reference for our historic memory through the creation of a permanent collection.
Until now, the most notable and public facet of this Centre has been the programmes of seasonal exhibitions and seminars and courses which it presents, being focused, in general, on the pivotal theme of our blend of Atlantic cultures. The concept of tri-continentality, product of the archipelago’s status as the cultural crossroads between three continents: Europe, Africa and America, not only guides the the CAAM Art Centre as a whole, but also forms the central focus of its art collection.
In a past memorandum it was stated that “…the desire of the Gran Canaria Island Council is to provide the Island with a new, vibrant and dynamic museum that meets the needs of the plastic arts, while also functioning as a Centre that revitalises socio-cultural live… It must be a living and dynamic entity that presents seasonal exhibitions on a rotating and dynamic basis, while also having a perfectly catalogued and ordered permanent collection...”.
These were the objectives with which the current Centre was built in the Los Balcones no. 11 street, in the historical quarter of Vegueta, in a noble house of 935.70 squared meters. In accordance with the provisions of the ordinances applicable to the historic centre of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the building could only consist of a basement, two stories and an attic, with a main facade from the 18th century that has to be respected. Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oíza was instructed about the requirements that needed to be met and which formed part of the architectural brief, namely:
The current building was constructed in Los Balcones no. 11, having a total built surface of 3,682.14 square metres in accordance with this brief.
At present, having been remodelled and renovated, all offices and restoration workshops are situated in the annex, in Los Balcones no. 9, in addition to 3 exhibition rooms which are designed to house small format art works and other types of exhibits, such as photography, architecture, and design, which also renders these spaces suitable for housing exhibits from other institutions that approach this centre with collaboration proposals.
Utilising this formula, CAAM has hosted various exhibitions organised in collaboration with the Official Architects’ Association, in addition to the exhibition, “La Otra Mirada” (“The Other Gaze”), a proposition from Gran Canaria creators who lay claim to a new craftsmanship, organized by the Foundation for the Ethnography and Development of Canarian Crafts (FEDAC, by its Spanish acronym) in collaboration with European Community - Leader II project, and the exhibitions of works created by interns of the Centro Canario de Diseño Integrado (Canarian Centre of Integrated Design) falling under the Institute of Technology (ITC) (Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias, S.A.) of the Island Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Canary Islands Government, among others.
With these collaborations, CAAM fulfils one of the objectives with which it was created, namely to establish itself as an Art Centre that collects and disseminates the most current artistic debates, while also being the motor that revitalises the cultural life of Canarian Society.