In 2010, FCP founders Andrea Bartoli and Florinda Saieva moved their family from Paris to Favara, one of the most impoverished towns in southern Sicily. Shortly after they arrived, a building collapsed in the town center, killing two sisters. Out of a desire to stop the marginalization and deterioration of their adopted home, they decided to create something transformative. Bartoli and Saieva bought several empty dwellings in the semi-abandoned center of town, saving them from a demolition order, and began to create a cultural center.
Originally, FCP began as permanent exhibitions of paintings, photography, and music events. Now, the seven courtyards, linked together by small buildings, host expositions, exhibitions by international and local artists, and politically charged artwork. Additionally, the center is home to shops, a garden bar, cultural events, talks, screenings, and workshops. Recently, an architectural school for children was opened.
Unlike many cultural projects that rely on government funding, Farm Cultural Park arose organically. Through networking and word of mouth, FCP has managed to attract some of the best artists, both in Italy and the world, to exhibit their work in a small, out-of-the-way town.
Now, several elderly local women who had clung to their homes in the semi-abandoned town center live amongst the exhibition spaces, happy to have company and to once again reside in a neighborhood that is safe and alive. Furthermore, a growing number of local youths have come to volunteer at the project.
Farm Cultural Park has won countless awards, including the Human Design City Award of the City of Seoul, and was invited in 2012, 2016, and 2020 to the Venice Architecture Biennale. The space has been published in international media such as The Guardian, Vogue, and Domus. As of 2021, the Farm is an official Partner of the New European Bauhaus.
As a two-year, extended program starting in the summer of 2023, the Farm will open “The Monastery,” in a monastery from 1100 AD in the woods of Mandanici. A dense program of creative residences will bring together architects, urban planners, landscape architects, artists, anthropologists, botanists, scientists, and musicians.