Manzana 1 Espacio de Arte is a not-for-profit art gallery located in the historical center of downtown Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. It is called Manzana 1 because it is found on the city´s first block of the city.The building, wich has been acknowledged as part of Santa Cruz´s historical legacy, was formerly the headquarters of the National Police and after 13 years of neglect was opened once more, this time as a cultural space on September 27, 2005.
The idea to open Manzana 1 was conceived by the artists Ejti Stih, Juan Bustillos and Valia Carvalho, signed an agreement with the city´s municipal government and began raising funds to restore the building´s lower level. They accomplish their goal thanks to the support provided by many companies and individuals persons who provided contributions in money, materials and labor. In 2007 it became acknowledged as a not-for-profit civil association R.A.P. 297/07.
The gallery was created in order to establish a place that not only presented national and international exhibits but also provided a free and open venue to everyone who visited the city´s main square and who before the creation of Manzana 1 lacked the habit of visiting museums and art galleries. In the 7 years since was opened, the gallery has turned into the city´s most popular cultural space, attracting an average of 8.800 visitors each month.
The current volunteer directors are Ejti Stih (painter) and Juan Bustillos (sculptor) they work collecting the funds required to fund the activities and sustain the gallery. Friends of Manzana 1 came into being a group of people who donated 10$us a month for the gallery. The space is also sponsored by local companies and institutions that continuously support for the gallery in money or products.