An agreement between the parties involved in financing the Lorca Centre has been signed and sealed and the invaluable archive containing the poet's legacy will be delivered into its purpose built iron clad strong room before the end of June 2018.
But before you get too excited, read on.
The first time I blogged about the Lorca Centre, situated in Granada’s Plaza de la Romanilla, just a stone’s throw from the Cathedral, was in October 2010. The Centre had been due to open by December, but earlier in the year a shortfall of 4.5 million euros in the estimated costs had come to light, leading to wrangling among the participating financial backers as to who should pay what. The opening was put back to an unspecified date ‘early’ in the following year. [//blog.granadalabella.eu/#post4]
The setback was not unprecedented. In March 2007 it had been falsely announced that the Centre, due to start operations in the course of 2007, would open its doors to the public before the end of 2008. The project went back to at least 2003 when it was declared that there was a unanimous agreement and a political will shared by all the financial backers of the Lorca Foundation to build the Centre, on which work was actually started in 2005, and which was to be an important cultural landmark and tourist attraction in the city, housing the poet's legacy, an archive of documents consisting of over 2,000 sheets of original manuscripts, thousands of other documents, original drawings, musical scores and photographs, all of them relating to the poet’s work and life, which until then had been kept at the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid.
"Look out for news on the opening dates!" was my excited and overoptimistic conclusion to that #post4 of October 2010. In view of my knowledge and experience of Lorca’s Granada, the Granada of contemplation, dreams, and inertia, of grand projects that are rarely fully realised, I should have refrained from such boldness. By January 2011 it was clear that the much anticipated grand inauguration scheduled for the celebration of the 113th anniversary of the Lorca’s birth on June 5 that year was not going to come off. “It’s unbelievable," lamented Laura García-Lorca (President of the Garcia Lorca Foundation). "The Lorca Centre should never have been a problem.” But it was, and now she was doubtful as to whether the Centre would be operational by the end of 2011. Nor were there any guarantees for 2012! Worst of all, the ambitious inauguration programme that so much work had gone into had to be scrapped. [//blog.granadalabella.eu/#post18]
In July 2011, the official opening was rescheduled for March 2012, but that didn't happen, either. Then: October 2013. The workmen have moved in! To finish the job! It's actually happening. [//blog.granadalabella.eu/#post41]
It wasn't of course. But even Laura García-Lorca, who had reason enough sceptical if anybody did, was quite confident that the Centre would be opened in time for the 116th anniversary of the poet’s birth on 5 June 2014. "I am totally convinced (this time),” she said, “that the problem of financing the Lorca Centre has been resolved and that we will soon see it open for business”.
I was in London during these years and it was easy for me to take my eye off the latest developments in this pathetic saga: there weren't any. The problem continued to be the 4.5 million euro hole that the original budget had not accounted for.
It turned out that this 4.5 million euro deficit more or less corresponded to the amount that was embezzled by the Lorca Foundation’s secretary Juan Tomás Martín, who had been entrusted to handle the Foundation finances. When we were assured that the legacy archive would be transferred from Madrid to the purpose-built Lorca Centre in time for the 119th anniversary of the poet’s birth on 5 June 2017 (it wasn't), I couldn't help wondering if this was such a good move in view of local corruPSOE petty crooks like Juan Tomás, constantly on the lookout for any opportunity to line their own pockets. [//blog.granadalabella.eu/#post57]
In the meantime, the Centre had been inauspiciously opened in the summer of 2015. It was a low-key affair, without pomp, without ceremony, and, of course, without the legacy.
A little short of two years later, Laura García-Lorca was at the Centre on the occasion of the Lorca Poetry Prize award ceremony. It seems that in the meantime she had fled Granada for Madrid and had not shown her face at the Centre since the Juan Tomás affair. The latest auditing of the Foundation's post-Juan Tomás accounts had been approved, she declared (triumphantly?), and now no obstacle stood in the way of the transfer of the archive. Only technical questions, formalities, remained to be dealt with. "My presence here is to show how advanced the project is and how near we are to realising it, as and how it was initially conceived." And once again she expressed her 100% conviction that it would all be done and dusted by the end of the year, 2017.
Actually, the Residencia de Estudiantes shared Ms García-Lorca's conviction for in June 2017 an exhibition was held there to commemorate the poet's time at the Residencia and to mark the imminent transfer of the legacy it had kept safely for the past 30-odd years to Granada (tierra del chavico/tuppence ha'penny land).
So now, weighing up the evidence so far, tell me: how certain do you feel that the legacy will be in Granada by the end of June 2018? Has the last bridge really been crossed; the last i been dotted?