THERE has long been a strong artists’ presence in Benahavis, centred on the gallery of famous sculptor David Marshall, tucked away in the charming La Aldea urbanisation, which he designed.
The Scottish artist lived here for more than four decades, while his son Scott owns local estate agents PropertieSpain.
“It has always been a village of artists and artisans,” explains sculptor Venancio Sanchez, 39, who recently opened a studio in the town.
“First of all it is surrounded by stunning nature and secondly you could always find good local materials out of which to make baskets and weavings, etc,” he adds.
The Granada-raised artist began playing and moulding mud into shapes as a child, before later attending eight years at art school.
As well as teaching, he has over a dozen of his remarkable bronze statues scattered around the region, sitting on benches and standing in squares. He has even created a famous statue of recently-beatified Fray Leopoldo in the nearby Serrania village of Alpandeire.
His studio is littered with photos of the famous politicians he has worked with and a range of his original sculptures.
“Most of my clients come from England, Germany and Belgium and most importantly I want to stress that I work with them here in my studio, ending up with an incredible bronze bust of them.”
Another exciting new opening is the Ole Ole gallery just up the road.
Full of fabulous curios and antiques, the Granada couple who own the shop, also collect vintage cars.
Look out for ancient Roman amphoras, a pair of wooden angels from Belgium, as well as collectable coins, materials and paintings. There is even the top of a lighthouse.
And boss Elia is also now renting out her vintage cars for the day or week. “They are also for sale,” she explains.
With all this focus on art, it is little surprise that the Benahavis Fine Art and Decorative Society, launched in 2012, is a catalyst for local talent, putting on lectures, trips and events. Chairman, Betty Fooks, a resident of seven years, said: “The society is growing very quickly and seems to have generated more of an interest in local art.
“We have another big exhibition coming up, ‘Art in Action’, and we have invited local schoolchildren to take part in a competition to design the programme for it.”
Betty, originally from Surrey, added: “I love living here, there sometimes appears to be more expats than locals but when the tourists aren’t all up here for dinner, there is a beautiful, peaceful atmosphere.
“Plus, there is a great, friendly expat community too!”