Art and Culture in Panama: A short guide for expats and visitors

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People who are planning on relocating to Panama, or even just visiting there, have lots of different tastes when it comes to what to do and how to spend their time. Of course, Panama is largely known for its economy, nature and wildlife areas, beaches (and beach resorts), and banking, but those who live here also know it for its magnificent art and culture. If you’re a fan of the arts, and appreciate new cultures and ways of expressing them, then there’s a lot in store for you here in Panama. Here’s where to start, if you’ve recently moved here or just plan on visiting.

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What constitutes art and culture in Panama?

Yes, the term “art” is as ambiguous as the term “culture”, but in this case, the reference is referring to visual art (paintings, cinema, sculptures, etc.), architecture, music, and dance, done by locals in a way that represents Panamanian culture now and throughout history. In this sense, Panama’s artistic riches can be found throughout the country, from the city to the hills of Chiriqui and everywhere in between. Panama’s most cherished art, when it comes to preservation and popularity, tends to be indigenous art, as it is truly unique to the country, and honors Panama’s indigenous roots. Colonial art is more prevalent in Panama City, but still an important historic reminder of the Spanish influence in the founding of modern Panama, and the country’s early roots to independence.

Another great period of art and cultural expression in Panama is the early Canal period, where modern Panama was really formed, and the culture cemented. You’ll see lot of Canal-inspired art all up and down the Canal Zone area, especially in Panama City and Colon, as well as many of the towns up and down the Caribbean coast. Along with these periods comes all different types of art, too. You’ll find that the architecture around the country is representative of each period, each with its own story. Music, paintings, and statues/monuments too. To take in Panama’s different styles of art is to understand all the different eras of Panama.

Where to find the most interesting, inspiring art

This is totally subjective, as all art is valued differently depending on your individual tastes. If you want to start somewhere, however, you’ll find the most variety of representative art in Panama City’s Casco Viejo neighborhood. In Casco, you will find a number of art galleries spread out among the local shops, as well as cafes and restaurants showcasing local artists on their walls. You’ll also see artists painting outside on sunny days, too. But that’s just the beginning. Casco also has the city’s most vibrant live music scene with the world-famous Danilo’s Jazz Club, as well as various international and local artists that come to play the pubs and clubs in the area. On top of that, Casco itself is a work of art, housing the country’s most historic buildings, with architecture that dates from 500+ years ago to today. The buildings themselves are art, from the inside on out.

Panama’s art and culture is alive and well all over the country these days. The fun part is exploring enough of the country to find it.

About POLS Attorneys Staff Writer

As one of the leading Panama Law Firms, and one of the regions most reliable offshore service providers, POLS Attorneys brings a wide range of professional knowledge to our clients needs. Our staff is made up of professional offshore consultants, Panama attorneys and immigration specialists who are experienced in offshore business, understand international investment and asset protection strategies, and are experts in providing a seamless Panama immigration process.

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