Art in the City: Panama City's Growing Arts Community

Panama City is booming. In recent years the city has transformed into a thriving metropolis, with an abundance of opportunity. As the city grows culturally and environmentally aware, a flourishing arts community emerges. The City has become home to some innovative and forward thinking festivals. Festivals like MacroFest, Open Festival and IFF, Panama’s International Film, have become important annual events, paving the way for a new generation of creative minds. MacroFest: March 11 – 15 MacroFest, taking place annually in Casco Antiguo, is among the most important art and design festivals in the country. The event in its 6th year, strives to bring together visionaries in the fields of fashion, art, architecture, cinema and photography. Each year, talented national and international artists, come together to showcase their work through fashion shows, concerts, installations, art exhibits, and live performance.  

This year MacroFest will take on the theme of “100 more years of ingenuity,” paralleling the 100 anniversary of the Panama Canal. The festival offers a full list of workshops, free to the pubic. Workshops will tackle topics like: Fashion and Philosophy, The Real Appreciation of Art, and Blogs and Fashion Photography. The workshops intend to bring the festival to youth interested in the arts.

Prizes totaling $10,000 will be awarded to artists in the categories of painting, photography, installation art, digital art and performance. A variety of individually sponsored contests will take place over the 4-day festival as well, including the “Heineken Green Space” contest.

Over the past 5 years MarcoFest has developed an increasingly large turnout. Last year over 5000 people were in attendance. The event offers the opportunity to learn about the art industry while encouraging innovation and interest in all fields of the arts throughout Panama.

To learn more about MacroFest, or to view their full schedule of workshops and events visit:

Festival Abierto March 22 – 23

Open Festival, or Festival Abierto in Spanish, takes place annually in Parque Omar. The festival was created as an effort to create environmental consciousness in Panama. Festival Abierto is a family friendly event offering educational activities from NGO’s like Azuero Earth Project, Cambio Creativo, and Tortuguías. The festival also brings serveal live music acts to a large stage that is set up in the park.

Each year, the two-day event brings together a growing group of NGO’s throughout the country. The festival is a great way to learn about what conservation initiatives are happening in Panama.  Growing movements like recycling, environmental conservation and wildlife protection are at the heart of the matters that festival Aberito strives to promote.
To learn more about Festival Abierto visit:

Panama International Film Festival April 3 – 9
This year will be the 3rd International Film Festival Panama (IFF Panama). The event takes place annually in Casco Viejo, and throughout theatres in Panama City. This over 60 films will be shown, the majority of screenings will be held at Cinepolis Multiplaza.

For one week Films internationally acclaimed films form over the world will be shown in Panama. The festival will feature films that have been exhibited in film festivals such as Cannes and Toronto’s TIFF. Panama’s IFF will also recognize outstanding national films and directors. IFF also promotes conversations with directors through question and answer sessions with the audience.

Each year IFF boasts a variety of national and international sponsors. This year sponsors include Copa Airlines, Grolsch and La Prensa. The National Institute of Culture (INAC) and the Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP) also work to support the festival.

IFF has grown immensely in the past 3 years and continues to draw a growing group of local and global attention.  From the national premiers to red carpet galas and parties, IFF 2014 is sure to be a world-class event.

If you are a film buff, anxiously awaiting this event, a ticket plan might be in your best interest. There are 3 basic plans available: Plan 1 offers eight tickets for $40, Plan 2 offers ten tickets for $50 and plan three offers twelve tickers for $60.

If you would just like to catch a single show tickets can be purchased for $6.50 with discounts available for pensionados.
To view the full event schedule visit:

General-public presales begin March 17 and go until April 2. Individual tickers can also be purchased on Ticket Plus at or at the box office.
The growing arts community is one of the many signs that Panama is moving forward. Still in its beginnings the industry offers easy access to events, that in other counties may be out of reach for most. For example, film festivals like TIFF and Cannes are far more exclusives, with high cost tickets and invitation only parties. . Panama offers easy access most festivals, ensuring the arts are accessible, for all to enjoy.