Why Tenerife is the Perfect MICE Destination

When people think of Tenerife, the largest and most populated island of the Canary Islands, a picture of beaches, sun and palm trees will more than likely spring to mind. Of course this beautiful island is one of the best places in the world to visit if you’re looking for plenty of sun, sand and sea. What many probably don’t realise though is that Tenerife is also the perfect MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) destination!

But isn’t this just a place to head to for topping up your tan and lounging by the ocean or hotel pool all week? In short, no! Undoubtedly there are those that travel to Tenerife specifically for a relaxing week of sunbathing, but the island has so much more to offer. For starters there is a large population (almost 900,000) with a large number involved in a whole host of businesses, a substantial amount of which are not simply related to tourism, unlike smaller travel locations.

Tenerife has many excellent features which make it stand out as one of the best MICE destinations in not only Europe, but the world:

Excellent Connections/Transport

The island has superb connections, with two modern international airports (Tenerife South and North). These serve a variety of different airlines with direct flights to most major airports across Europe at very affordable prices (especially out of peak holiday travel periods). There is also the possibility of direct flights to the United States in the near future.

In terms of transport within the island, there is a reliable, frequent and cheap public bus service, many affordable private airport transfer companies and a number of different competing international car rental companies. There is also a well-maintained, modern road system including a highway between the North and South, making travel within the island fast, safe and convenient.

Wide Variety of Top-Quality Accommodation

Due to the millions of tourists that visit Tenerife every year, there is a huge range of top-class accommodation across the island, with excellent facilities. These include large hotels and resorts, to smaller boutique hotels and private accommodation which can be found in almost every area of the island, in both popular urban locations and more secluded rural spots.

The dated perception of Tenerife is as a no-frills destination, with low-price places to stay, but lacking any real quality. This is very far from the truth though, as although there is accommodation to suit those on a lower budget, there are many luxurious hotels and resorts to suit business travellers, such as the stunning 5 Star Hotel Suite Villa Maria located in La Caleta, Adeje.

Superb Venues

Across the island there are a whole host of superb venues suitable for either smaller more intimate conferences and gatherings, such as for your work team, or larger scale venues perfect for bigger exhibitions and events. Many of the best hotels and resorts such as Hotel Suite Villa Maria have top class conference areas, with all the facilities you will need for a high-end event.

For larger scale exhibitions such as trade shows, there are modern, wonderfully designed and maintained venues such as the Magma Arte & Congresos centre which is used for a variety of different cultural exhibitions throughout the year. This is a uniquely designed building excellenly suited for really adding a special feel to an event.

Amazing Activities and Attractions

Tenerife has some beautiful beaches, but as a destination it is so much more than just these. Across the whole island there are incredible things to see, do and experience which will really make a corporate trip stand out. There is breathtaking natural beauty such as Mount Teide and Teide National Park, the incredible Masca Gorge, the stunning cliffs of Los Gigantes and the gorgeous Anaga forest to name a few.

There is also a real mixture of different architectural styles dotted around, from the ultra modern in the newer resorts, to the older and more unique buildings to be found in the many picturesque towns across the island. With the well maintained road system and excellent availability of rental cars, most of these are fairly easily accessible.

As well as all these fascinating places to explore and discover (both natural and man-made), there are also a huge number of brilliant activities and excursions to be tried out such as sea-kayaking, whale and dolphin watching, paragliding, tree top walks and zip-lining, water parks, helicopter flights and much more!

Beautiful Climate

Although clearly the beautiful climate in Tenerife is by no means the only amazing feature of the island, it is hard not to be impressed by the bright blue sky and warm sunny temperature almost the entire year round. With an average annual temperature of 23°C and barely a grey sky in sight, any time of year is the perfect time to arrange meetings, conferences or exhibitions in Tenerife.

It is not without merit that the climate in the Canary Islands is described as the best in the world. It rarely gets too hot in the summer and hardly ever too cold in the winter, instead seemingly blessed with an eternal spring like climate. This means you will see people strolling around comfortably in shorts and t-shirt almost any day of the year. This makes Tenerife ideal for outdoor events such as music concerts and festivals.

Perfect MICE Destination

As you can see, Tenerife is the perfect MICE destination and is far from the typical stereotype of a cheap, beach destination with little more than sun, sand and sea. This is an island filled with potential and growth. If you would like more information about hosting your next meeting, conference or exhibition in Tenerife, then make sure to contact us here at Tenerife Magazine. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

César Manrique, The Awareness Of Landscape

Painter, sculptor, architect, and environmental crusader, Cesar Manrique is regarded as the father of modern Lanzarote but his influence touched all corners of the Canary Islands. As I learnt more about the man and his legacy at a new exhibition in Santa Cruz my mind wandered to the Parque Maritimo swimming complex a short walk across the Tenerife capital. The functional and stylish design was inspired by the great man and the park is adorned with samples of his work. I could have just as easily stretched my recall to the south of Tenerife and Plaza Cesar Manrique in Adeje and many points in between.

“Atlantic Ocean, my master, supreme and constant lesson of enthusiasm, passion, and freedom. My capacity of observation was tenacious in those summertimes.”

Observation was the key to Cesar’s work, he had a great love of his island and its people, early sketches, paintings, and photos showed locals working the vineyards, the salt pans, and the sea. The first of two floors reflected the rich colours and textures of a volcanic landscape that was born from eruptions between 1730 and 1736. Each alcove included a centre piece such as a model of the island, a video of the moving clouds, or a 3D frame of fishing nets. Where many would have seen destruction and burning, Cesar rejoiced in the creation of new shapes and rich colours left in the wake of fire and lava.

In the early 1960’s Cesar’s hunger for knowledge took him to New York and the Avant Garde movement, this phase of his work takes over on the second floor. Many of the paintings are abstract and surreal but his love of life and people still shines through. Travel added a new focus to Cesar’s life, he was determined to help Lanzarote develop sustainable tourism, years before it became a mantra for the industry. Returning home he worked closely with government to lay down basic laws and guidelines but first he made in depth studies of his island to assess traditional accommodation and to find out what new infrastructure was needed. Water supplies, communications, and even the airport featured in his plans to ensure the pieces all fitted together.

“My absolute worry was to defend the landscape and the environment, I believed habitat considered as a whole was an important factor since landscape and architecture can be perfectly integrated and adapted to the land.”

The exhibition includes sketches and plans for his building projects and there is even a recreation of one of his surreal designs, used here to link two of the display areas. Not everything Cesar created was purely functional, there is a sense of fun in much of his quirky landscape architecture. Each stage of his life and work is accompanied in the exhibition by background information and the published thoughts and teachings of Cesar Manrique in Spanish and English. The scope and diversity of the works here strike the right balance between the different mediums that Cesar worked in and give a great insight into the motivation of the man. On my visit there was a school party doing the rounds, it’s good to see his legacy carried on not only through his foundation but also in a new generation sharing his affinity with the diverse environments of the Canary Islands.

Cesar Manrique, La Conciencia del Paisaje; Espacio Cultural Caja Canarias, Plaza del Patriotismo, Santa Cruz; open Monday to Saturday 11am to 2pm and 5pm to 8pm

Entrance €3 (free for clients of Caja Canarias, €1 residents)

Steve McCurry, Capturing Life’s Moments On Film

Patience and luck are two commodities that American photo journalist Steve McCurry credits as the best tools in his armoury. That’s a very modest assessment of a career that has seen him travel the world gaining awards and professional acclaim for his insights into humanity. Now Tenerife can share his visions at Steve McCurry Retrospectiva, an exhibition of his most emotive work at the Espacio Cultural Caja Canarias, Santa Cruz until 29 June 2012.

The banner draped over the frontage of the bank HQ in Plaza de Patriotismo features Steve’s most famous and haunting image of an Afghan girl in a red shawl, taken at a Pakistan refugee camp in 1984. The eyes show a frail and frightened individual, even in war zones Steve has looked to capture the human element and he has a knack of finding that spark of dignity in the most desperate of settings.

The Caja Canarias art space is well versed in presenting large collections in their two floor showrooms and they adapt well to meet their subject. This time the display areas are dark with large back lit copies of the photos, a striking image of a dirty scrap of a boy in Peru holding a gun to his head dominates a wall at the end of an alcove adding to the disturbing impact of the shot.

Steve McCurry was born in Philadelphia and after two years at Pennsylvania College of Arts and Architecture he set off to India as a freelance photographer It was the start of a long love affair with Asia and the east, he has always admitted to a fascination with the intense colours in that part of the world.

Steve’s patience earned its reward in Rangoon, Burma where he asked to follow a group of local nuns on their daily walks. A few days into the routine a rain shower, small hand made umbrellas, and a brightly coloured old building converged together to spark his creative mood.

Search for the moment is one of Steve’s guiding principles and with that outlook his “luck” is more down to an instinctive feel for a situation and an eye for unexpected contrasts. That combination is perfectly illustrated with a Tibet shot from an old run down cafe where he found a poor dishevelled old man drinking a coke, poverty meets capitalism in one stark image.

The human spirit shines through in the darkest of times and settings in Steve’s photos, whether it is a tailor carrying his ancient sewing machine aloft as he wades across a monsoon swelled river in India or a Kabul man selling oranges from the charred boot of a bombed car.

The Afghan girl not only struck a chord with the outside world, it also drew Steve to seek her out 18 years later. Sharbat Gula is in purple this time and although her eyes have been dulled by the years of struggle, there is still a flicker of hope and defiance.

FACT FILE

Steve McCurry Retrospectiva, Until 29 June 2012

Espacio Cultural Caja Canarias

Plaza del Patriotismo, Santa Cruz

Open Mon to Weds 11am to 1pm, and 5 to 9pm, Thurs & Fri 11 to 1, and 5 to 8pm

Sat 11am to 2pm, and 5 to 8pm

Entrance Caja Canarias clients free, non residents 5 euros, residents 2 euros, students & residents over 65 free.

The photos used in this article are from www.cajacanarias.org © Steve McCurry / Magnum Photos / Contacto

José Abad, 400 Works Of Art In Santa Cruz and La Laguna

In their faces and demanding a reaction, the street sculptures of José Abad took their place in the shopping heart of Santa Cruz. Bargain hunters stood and scratched their heads, children prodded and poked them and even dogs were wary of offering them an impromptu shower. This was just the advance party for an invasion of 400 works of art by a La Laguna artist who at 69 years old has unleashed his intricate genius on his own doorstep.

Eros, Formas Y Azar (sexual behaviour, form and change) is the provocative title of a lifetime’s collection being displayed until 28 January at two galleries in Santa Cruz and one in La Laguna. At first glance the sculptures in front of Plaza del Principe look like they have been there for years, the iron used in Josés’s work gives it that stark weather beaten look making it more approachable than a bright shiny new addition. The sexual symbolism in one of the more striking pieces caused people to do a double take, all part of the intended effect.

Intrigued I made the short move into the Espacio Cultural Caja Canarias, the bank’s Obra Social division are supporting the season as they do with many arts projects. The smaller works were no less impressive, and spread over the two floors of the display area the sheer scale of the artists work became apparent. Roughly split into subject zones, the work ranges from building designs through animal studies like Gatos Enfrentados (below) and even a few traditional portraits. Unlike previous exhibitions this one overflows into the downstairs large high ceiling display room where African and baroque works are big, bold and carved in wood in painstaking detail like Retablo de San Blas.

Back upstairs a video room shows an interview with the artist unlocking some of his inspirations. José Abad embraced all the arts including poetry, theatre, and painting but it was sculpture that captured his imagination and led him to study in Perugia, Italy and Madrid before exhibiting his work across mainland Spain. José pioneered outdoor sculpture in Santa Cruz, Las Palmas, Malaga and Cadiz and there are several trails of work in the Tenerife capital.

Suitably impressed by the first indoor display I thought I would see what the Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes could add to the mix. The pink rooms of the gallery behind Plaza Principe made a contrasting backdrop to the smaller close up earlier works from the mid 1960’s. José’s eye for detail and the odd surprising twist were again in evidence but base materials like wood and metal were once again his starting point for expression.The Sala de Arte Juan Cas in La Laguna completes the gallery based collection and wasn’t joining in the exhibition until a week later but it contains the most up to date works, much of it untitled, and a selection of written charts.

Sculptures with a subdued industrial look hardly sound exciting but José Abad adds plenty of mischief and humour to his work and they are all visually stimulating. Maybe taking them all in at once could lead to artistic indigestion but they are here for a few months so dip in and learn a bit more about a home grown Tenerife talent.

FACT FILE

José Abad ““ Eros, Formas Y Azar 17 October to 28 January 2012

Espacio Cultural Caja Canarias, Plaza del Patriotismo, Santa Cruz

Monday to Wednesday 11 to 1 pm, and 5 to 9pm

Thursday and Friday 11 to 1pm, and 5 to 8pm

Saturday 11 to 2pm, and 5 to 8pm

Entry Caja Canarias clients free, residents 2 euros, others 5 euros

Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes, Calle Jose Murphy, Santa Cruz

Tuesday to Friday 10 to 8 pm

Saturday & Sundays 10 to 3 pm

Closed Mondays

Entry Free

Sala de Arte Juan Cas

Plaza de la Concepcion, La Laguna

Monday to Friday 11 to 1pm and 5 to 9pm

Saturday 11 to 2pm and 5 to 8pm

Entry Free

 

Robert Capa, A Snapshot Of War, Showing In Santa Cruz

Dodging bullets at the Normandy landings on D Day, caught in the middle of the Spanish Civil War, and wading through the carnage of the London blitz, it’s the sort of CV that attracts medals but for Robert Capa it was all about getting a history defining photo. The Hungary born photographer became a legend covering 5 major wars and now his legacy is on display in Santa Cruz until 12 March at the Caja Canarias Espacio Cultural in Plaza del Patriotismo.

Wanna see a war? Just switch on your TV, fire up your internet or even tap a few digits on your phone, the immediacy and sheer volume of coverage of conflicts around the world can sometimes desensitise us to the full horror. Robert Capa’s 98 stark black and white images still have the power to shock, startle and surprise, I could see I wasn’t the only one touched as I surveyed a roll call of modern history framed and back lit on the 2 floors.

Capa’s big break came in 1932 when he was the last choice to try to breach blanket security in Copenhagen to see recently exiled Russian leader Leon Trotsky make a speech. Showing ingenuity and daring he sneaked into the stadium as a workman with his trusty Leica camera hidden in his pocket and got a scoop.

The Spanish Civil War saw Capa in Madrid and Barcelona and even as a keen professional trying to make a name his compassion shone through. “The women stay behind but the death, the ingenious death from the skies finds them out,” he lamented in his reports. Rather than focus on the bodies, and he saw many, Capa tried to show the survivors and the hope that they represented.

The Second World War was a busy time for Capa from the London blitz to dangling from a parachute under fire as he dropped into Berlin with the American forces. Always in the thick of it Capa was at the weeks siege to take Sicily, and at the liberation of Paris after striding through the waves to land at Normandy. Descending from a Jewish family he couldn’t face the concentration camps as they were liberated but recorded the memorial service at Auschwitz in 1948.

Although war coverage earned Capa his acclaim, he mingled with the stars and was able to number them among his friends. Photos of John Huston and Humphrey Bogart at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, Gary Cooper during a break from filming For Whom The Bell Tolls, and Pablo Picasso on a family beach holiday in France are all included in the Tenerife retrospective.

Robert Capa died in Japan in 1954 from a blast covering the Indochina front, he was reported to have died with his camera in his hand. Widely recognised as the master of war photography Capra could also speak 7 languages and founded Magnum, the worlds first freelance photo agency. His talent and dedication are still recognised with a string of awards presented in his name to those he inspires but his photos are the true legacy. A thick comments book at the exit of the exhibition is already almost full with praise, if you get a chance treat yourself to a walk through history, sometimes pictures do say more than words.

FACT FILE

Robert Capra Retrospective

Espacio Cultural Caja Canarias

Plaza del Patriotismo, Santa Cruz

20 January to 12 March 2011

Monday to Thursday 11 am to 1 pm and 5 pm to 9 pm

Friday 11 am to 1 pm and 5 pm to 8 pm

Saturday 11 am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 8 pm

Entrance Caja Canarias clients Free, Non Residents 5 euros, Residents 2 euros.

A Splash Of Prado Colour And History On A Santa Cruz Canvas

One click and you have captured the essence of a person or a family group, and if it doesn’t please you it’s gone in an instant. That’s the modern easy way but rewind to the 15th century and the portrait often captured so much more as it was lovingly crafted over months or even years. That’s why El Retrato Español En El Prado is so much more than a collection of 73 classic portrait paintings on tour from Madrid’s iconic Prado Museum.
The Spanish Portrait In The Prado is a window on cultural history through some of Spain’s greatest artists and those with strong Spanish connections. Judging by the steady procession of visitors to the Espacio Cultural Caja Canarias, in the heart of Santa Cruz, there is a healthy appetite to get up close and personal with these fine works.

The second of two floors is the starting point for this journey. Court painters were kept busy portraying the great and good and they tended to flatter their subjects, setting them in grand pre set poses. El Greco was one of the big stars of brush and paint, born in Crete he spent much of his later life in Toledo and although his strong, expressive style had its followers, his fame didn’t really take hold until after his death.
Goya was another giant of the canvas and helped to change the style of popular painting, breaking away from the formal. The portrait of Charles 3rd (above) hunting Carlos 111 Cazador was quite a departure with its relaxed setting, not what was expected for a royal pose.
Just as I was getting comfortable with these images of the beautiful people I came face to face with a double whammy, Eugenia Martinez Vallejo (below) by Juan Carreño de Miranda, the subject was unkindly referred to in the painters guide as a freak, strange seeing the painter Vallejo was influenced by Rubens who worshipped the larger figure. It was just another example of how things were changing on the European art scene.

Moving downstairs the portraits had moved on to the 19th century and romanticism, realism and naturalism were all the rage. Sorolla led the emergence of a new school of painters from Valencia and Sevilla. Esquivel came from the latter and favoured big romantic scenes like Ventura de la Vega Leyendo Una Obra En El Teatro del Principe (below). It took him nearly 2 years to complete this group scene and standing up close, as you can with all the paintings here, it’s easy to see why, as the detail is incredible and holds your attention.

The informal nature of this exhibition should help to encourage more to give classical art a chance. There was a good mix of visitors from the well heeled middle aged to young students in heavy metal t shirts. You could lose yourself in the Madrid Prado but this bite sized introduction to a chunk of Spanish history is easy to digest and well worth a visit before it closes on 8 January 2011.

FACT FILE

  • El Retrato Español En El Prado
  • Plaza del Patriotismo, Santa Cruz
  • Open – Monday to Friday 11am to 1pm and 5pm to 9pm
  • Friday 11am to 1pm and 5pm to 8pm, Saturday 11am to 2pm and 5pm to 8pm
  • Entrance – Clients of Caja Canarias FREE, Residents 2 euros, Non residents 5 euros

Artistic Beauty Is Not Just Skin Deep

Three terms it took me in metalwork, pulverising a chunk of tin to turn it into a wobbly candle holder that even my Mum wouldn’t show off. So my admiration for La Orotava sculptor Julio Nieto is immense, I am totally in awe of his Piel De Metal (Skin Of Metal) exhibition in Santa Cruz. If turning heads is the aim of street art, then the seven pieces in Calle Valentin Sanz, are certainly proving a big success, locals and tourists alike were stopping, smiling, posing for photos and generally interrupting their daily bustle.

It took Julio seven years, crafting one piece a year, to complete the collection, not that it consumed all of his time, the talented artist has plenty of other works on the go and also makes distinctive and expressive metal furniture. I caught Julio checking up on La Llamada (The Calling) and he explained his creative process. “I like to bring out the resonance of the metal” he says pointing to the intricate straining sinews and muscles in the shining body that dwarfs us. Leaning in further he picks out more key points “I use industrial metal and solder the pieces together” the small connecting points work well adding to the boldness of the work.

Not all the pieces rely on sharpness and precision, Viajero (The Traveller) has a darker textured quality with a globe of the world for an eye. Marea looks at first glance like the fisher woman statues that pay homage around Tenerife, but closer inspection reveals that this lady is made up of fish, right up to her hair and stingray shaped basket on her head.

I was a bit peeved that the early sun had retreated behind clouds for a while but Julio was keen to point out that these are sculptures for all seasons. “They take on different qualities in differing light, the sun adds a new glint and at night the street lamps refract off in a myriad of ways.”

A cat stretches proudly looking down on Plaza del Principe, its title Y Alicia? refers to Lewis Carroll and his Wonderland. If puss has just jumped out of a children’s book, further along a wild flailing human figure leaps out of the world of legends. Icaro Salvado shows Icarus with his feather and candle wax wings in tatters after flying too close to the heat of the sun. If some of the imagery is lost on the passers by, they all seem to appreciate the style and adventure of the works, just a few weeks after a wild Carnaval it takes a lot to wow the people of Santa Cruz but Julio Nieto’s metal creations have rattled more than a few cages.

FACT FILE

Piel de Metal is on permanent display until 18 March, just up from Plaza de España, take a right turn off Calle Castillo.

Piel de Metal will then be on tour, provisional dates are

Granadilla 8 to 18 April

Vilaflor 19 to 30 April

Icod 20 to 31 may

Garachico 22 July to 1 August

You can see more at www.pieldemetalartecalle.blogspot.com where Julio welcomes feedback, and you can see more of his other work at www.julionieto.com

Autoepoca – Classic Car Fair

Title: Autoepoca – Classic Car Fair
Location: Recinto Ferial, Santa Cruz
Description: Some of the best antique and classic cars drawn together under one roof. From 11am to 9pm daily, entry 3 euros.
Start Date: 2010-03-04
End Date: 2010-03-07

Popping In For Tenerife TEA Will Stir The Imagination

Do you remember boring school trips to stuffy art galleries where the highlight of your day was noshing your curled cheese sandwiches and thinking that at least it was a day free from the classroom? It doesn’t have to be like that. For a refreshing change head for TEA ““ Tenerife Espacio De Las Artes, the bright, modern and challenging centre in Santa Cruz.

Come with an open mind, you may be greeted by multi coloured acrylic whales or a flying grass carpet; once inside it could be a stuffed donkey or some performance art from a Japanese performer with bread rolls attached to his head. Those are extreme examples, guaranteed to grab you by the throat and slap your conventional views around. The main body of work consists of modern and classic paintings and sculptures. British artist Henry Moore’s reclining El Guerrero de Goslar is now back on the nearby Rambla del General Franco, but enjoyed a roof over its head from the November 2008 opening of TEA. Oscar Dominguez, the La Laguna born surrealist painter, got the star treatment with a whole hall given over to him, but TEA pulls in exhibits from all around the globe.

The 20,000 square metre TEA building is a fitting frame for any work. The entrance hall is large, open and with a high ceiling and polished light wood block flooring and leads to a tight spiral stairwell serving the 3 exhibition halls. Tear drop shaped lights hang from the ceiling with long slender stalks welling into glass bowls holding the light bulbs – quite a first impression.

The open and airy feel is most effective in the library. The 7,000 books from the 1888-founded municipal library have been transferred and take their place alongside full shelves, work stations, comfy browsing sofas, magazine racks, and 36 internet ready computers. In the day, the sun streams in through the vast side windows. The library is open 24 hours a day so after dark the tear drop lights swarm down like helpful fireflies.

An equally relaxing café adjoins the reading room and there is also a cinema with white club seat sofas that almost swallow you. Films cover a wide range of eras and countries but are shown in their original language with Spanish sub titles, good value at four euros. If you feel the need to use any of the toilets at TEA, you might like to pop on your sun glasses, they are typically stylish and dazzlingly bright. On the way out of the building, it’s worth diving into the souvenir shop for some very unique, but expensive, reminders of the visiting artists.

There are three main exhibition halls and the changing programmes are staggered so there is a constant flow of regular changes. As if you hadn’t guessed, I’m a huge fan of this art outlet, but I have yet to see more than a handful of visitors on each call. It’s a scant reward for the bold investment made in the capital’s culture but a big plus for the unhurried browser.

FACT FILE

  • TEA ““ Tenerife Espacio de las Artes
  • Avenida de San Sebastian, Santa Cruz
  • www.teatenerife.es
  • OPEN – exhibitions Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 8pm
  • Library open 24 hours
  • PRICES ““ Adults 5 euros, Under 12’s FREE, residents 2.50 €, residents over 65 or between 12 and 26 one euro.

California Dreaming Under Santa Cruz Skies

“One Santa Cruz, there’s only one Santa Cruz”¦” Well Hispanic countries have quite a lot of them, but I was unaware there was one in California, and even more surprised to find that the Tenerife capital has been twinned with it since 1974. Shelby Graham (left), Director and Curator of the Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery, University of California, is doing her best to strengthen those Atlantic links. Our coffee cups collided on my way to the Cielo/Sky Part Two exhibition at the Parque Garcia Sanabria.

As luck would have it, Shelby was joined by Miriam Durango (right), Curator of Circulo Bellas Artes in Calle Castillo, who helped set up part one of the exhibition in California last November. She proved to be an instrumental contact for Shelby: “I used the internet to research art and digital media in Tenerife and found Miriam. That led to 13 Canarian artists displaying their work with us, and now we are here with the work of 12 Californian artists, which runs until 11 March”.

So why is sky the theme? “It’s the whole vast concept and looking at it from different perspectives” explained Shelby. “Andrea Borsuk sees it from a feminist view, women bearing the weight of the sky; Jim Denevan makes giant patterns on sand by using a truck and they have to be viewed from high above”.

Entering the exhibition hall inside the park, the first work to strike me was Victoria May’s suspended local volcanic rocks. Shelby was quick to point out that they are of course only on loan. In the background a wall of small digital photos from Isabelle Jenniches had another link to Tenerife. ” These are of Japanese volcanoes and taken from internet webcams to give a compound view from high altitude”.

Some of the art is very cutting edge, I met Jennifer Parker and Barney Haynes and Barney explained their Sonic Sense project. “We are exploring solar winds and showing them in visual graphs on screen and using open source software to produce sound variations from gentle breezes”. Two large strips of suspended foil added a visual centre point for the exhibit. “When we saw this large glass sided room with the trees and plants outside we thought the Mylar, a foil developed for the space programme, would produce the ripples and distortions of star and sun tones”. I walked the channel between the foil and the collision and refraction of light was particularly eerie.

Back in the park Shelby told me a little more about the twinning link. “Santa Cruz California (above) is a university city close to San Francisco. We have great beaches and it’s popular with tourists and surfers, so you can see the similarities. I went to the opening parade of the Carnaval here last night, that was amazing and reminded me of a cross between our Halloween and Gay Pride celebrations. I think the twinning got overlooked for many years but hopefully this art project will lead to more exchanges between our cities”.

Cielo/Sky Part Two is on at Parque Garcia Sanabria until 14 March, 11am to 1pm and 6pm to 9pm Monday to Saturday, 10am to 3pm Sunday, entry FREE.