Lourdes Fernández was the Executive Director of the centre from March 2012 to June 2018. During that period, Azkuna Zentroa became a new driving force in the everyday life of the city.
Cultural agents from the local scene were brought on board, with high-quality artistic projects and close collaboration with groups from the city, including a unique programme of residencies involving Bulegoa z/b, Zoohaus and Consonni. The Azkuna Zentroa has lived up to the expectations of local citizens, maintaining a strong avant-garde and international presence.
The clearest example can be seen in the programme of exhibitions at the centre, which has become a leading showcase for some of the most important international and local contemporary art. Highlights have included exhibitions by The Guerrilla Girls, Judy Chicago and Margaret Harrison, all curated by Xabier Arakistain (Arakis), which examined art from a gender perspective and solo shows by Teresa Lanceta, Ángela de la Cruz, Itziar Barrio and Carlos Garaicoa. The centre has also staged travelling exhibitions in collaboration with other prestigious institutions, including shows by Antonio Miralda, (curated by Vicente Todoli), and Jeremy Deller (curated by Cuauhtemoc Medina). Other highlights included the exhibition El Contrato staged by the group Bulegoa z/b, following their residency at the centre. Similar exhibitions were organised after the residencies of Zoohaus and Consonni, groups which enormously enhanced the centre’s offering during this period.
These achievements were the result of open and cross-cutting management, operating in a unique space. The multicultural contemporary programme was designed to offer experiences for all audiences, combining local and global interest, and helping consolidate Bilbao’s position on the international circuit.