Of all the fields of the Unesco Creative Cities Network, music is Póvoa de Varzim's second largest focus in terms of cultural programming, training and promotion.

This effort to integrate music into the cultural life of the city and the population of Póvoa de Varzim is due, in part, to the influence of the renowned Póvoa International Music Festival. The festival has been held for the last 40 years and its main focus is classical music, with an emphasis on the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Every year, in July, music fills the city, through the festival's extensive plan of activities, comprising concerts, debates with professionals of the sector, competitions. The festival connected with about 22,000 people between 2014 and 2018. 

The musical calendar throughout the year is guaranteed by diversified initiatives promoted by the Póvoa de Varzim Music School (workshops and courses), the Verazin Quartet (concerts) and the Póvoa de Varzim International Composition Competition.

The relationship with literature constitutes an identified potential, even taking into account the predominance of the instrumental aspect of music teaching. When the traditional songs come to mind, which portrayed episodes of sea life, the teaching of singing, opera with songs inspired by literary classics, we can see the relevance the literary sector can have on the musical field.


Literature and Cinema are two areas that are abundantly related. The Correntes d´Escritas Literary Festival has had space for the seventh art since its first edition, with the curatorship support of the Octopus Cinema Club. This club has regularly offered a variety of films, for more than 35 years, to the people of Póvoa. The Cinema Club, responsible for the European and Portuguese films broadcast at the Cinema-Theatre on Thursdays, is also a space for cinema studies. It registered 30,000 viewers between 2016 and 2018. 

The regular schedule of cinema in the city is ensured, above all, thanks to the recent adaptation of the Garrett Cinema-Theatre to a cinema, in 2014, giving this facility another component to offer the general public, in addition to theatre, music and dance.

Póvoa de Varzim contributes to the promotion of film experimentation among young people, highlighting the initiative articulated with the Eça de Queirós Secondary School's 8 e Meia Cinema Club, which promotes the main incentive focused on youth cinema in Portugal. This award, heading into its 13th edition, is aimed at students of secondary schools all over Portugal. In addition to promoting the award, Póvoa Municipal Council is responsible for financing the first and second prizes, which have a total value of 1000 euros. 

On the other hand, the characteristics and history of the city with a strong relationship with the sea, by itself, have motivated film production. “Alá-Arriba” – a 1942 feature film by José Leitão de Barros - combines fiction and documentary to portray the cultural habits of the city's fishing community. Based on the work "O Poveiro" by António dos Santos Graça, the script was drawn up by the playwright Alfredo Cortez. 

“O Conto de duas cidades” – a documentary film directed by Steve Harrison and Morag Brennan - portrays a city marked by the presence of a fishing community in parallel with the emergence of a wave of visitors and tourists who, in the 1950s and 1960s, recognise Póvoa de Varzim as a summer and seaside destination. The documentary results from a photograph taken by Agnès Varda in the 1950s. In the photograph a young woman, barefoot, passes in front of a factory and behind her is a poster with Sophia Loren. The picture sparkled the curiosity of the british couple making them travel to Póvoa to find out more about the woman, Maria do Alívio. “Conto de duas Cidades” was presented at the acclaimed Vila do Conde Short Films festival in 2017. A book inspired by the documentary will be released in 2019.


Other areas of creativity of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, with emerging exploration of their relationship with the culture of Póvoa de Varzim, especially writing, are Design and Crafts. The Siglas Poveiras (proto-writing system), a symbolic representation that is linguistic heritage of Póvoa, exert a strong appeal for the contemporary development of original pieces, such as jewellery and street signs. The Siglas have been exploited for use institutionally (street signage), commercially (jewellery) or as an academic exercise.

In November 2017, Póvoa de Varzim Municipality signed the Serralves Founding Patron Protocol. The protocol aims to formalize the status of Founding Patron and allows closer relations between the Serralves Foundation and the Municipality. Póvoa de Varzim received the status as a recognition of the continuous support it provides to the Foundation.

This title allows for more exhibitions, conferences and dissemination of the Serralves collection, thus promoting another point of interest and attractiveness in the city.

Since the signing of the protocol, Póvoa de Varzim has held numerous exhibitions, such as "Que sais-je? Books and artists’ editions", organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art of Serralves. In this exhibition more than 30 books and artist's editions, produced since 1960, were presented. The name of the exhibition refers to the famous French encyclopedia of 1941 in which various themes and areas of knowledge are approached. 

The event "Serralves em Festa" also received exhibitions of artists from Póvoa de Varzim, namely the audiovisual installation "MAR" by Helder Luís in 2018. 

In the creative field of Media Arts, or even Cinema, the project of artistic residencies of the Master's degree of Audiovisual Communication of the School of Media Arts and Design (ESMAD) of Porto Polytechnic, which developed photographic and cinematographic works based on the history, landscape, culture and population of Póvoa de Varzim. Good opportunities for design are created in the intertwined field of illustration and publishing, as the book production chain is strengthened. 

Gastronomy, in turn, follows its own path. Whether to enhance and promote local flavours - Confraria dos Sabores Poveiros has been promoting local gastronomy since 2011, and since 2017 an exhibition of the flavours of the land and the sea has been held - or as a representation of the culture of Póvoa de Varzim in an international context, sometimes in literary events.
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