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Transforming Legacy: The SKOPRI Project by the Gabriel Caruana Foundation

Welcome to a transformative journey at the intersection of art, culture, and sustainability – The Mill, an iconic Grade I Scheduled Building, and the focus of the Gabriel Caruana Foundation’s SKOPRI project. This dedicated page unveils the process, background, and outcomes of SKOPRI, a project with a mission to set The Mill on a sustainable path as an independent contemporary art and cultural centre.

The Mill: A Historical Canvas

The Mill, also known as Il-Mitħna tal-Maħlut or Ta’ Ganu, has stood since 1724 as a silent witness to the evolution of Birkirkara, Malta. Built by Grandmaster Manoel de Vilhena, it served the growing population by milling flour known as tal-Maħlut, a mix f wheat and rye flour. Over time, The Mill underwent various transformations, from a functioning windmill to multiple residences, a blacksmith workshop, and finally, in 1990, a contemporary art, culture, and crafts center by the visionary artist Gabriel Caruana.

With its distinctive architecture – a blend of high-ceilinged ground floors supported by arches and lower-ceilinged first floors with timber beams – The Mill became a Grade I Scheduled Building in 2012. Its history is not just etched in stone but interwoven with the contemporary art infused by Gabriel Caruana, making it a unique and dynamic cultural space, embracing tangible and intagible heritage.

The Foundation: A Steward of Artistic Legacy

The Gabriel Caruana Foundation emerged as the natural progression of Gabriel Caruana’s lifetime dedicated to art. Established in 2016, the Foundation assumed the role of managing The Mill and its artistic program. Gabriel Caruana’s legacy extends beyond his prolific artistic contributions; it encompasses a commitment to nurturing emerging artists, collaborating with diverse communities, and ensuring accessibility to modern and contemporary art.

Under the stewardship of the Foundation, The Mill has flourished as a versatile space, hosting exhibitions, workshops, and serving as a hub for creative collaborations. The Foundation’s mission is rooted in preserving Caruana’s creative energy, supporting artistic endeavors, and engaging with communities to maintain The Mill as a vibrant and inclusive center for cultural enrichment. From this vision emerged the need for the SKOPRI project.

The SKOPRI Project: Nurturing Sustainability and Culture

SKOPRI, a project by the Gabriel Caruana Foundation, represents a pivotal moment in the ongoing legacy of The Mill. Launched as a response to the evolving cultural landscape and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, SKOPRI is a two-year initiative with a threefold focus: recovery post-pandemic, conservation of cultural heritage, and ensuring the sustainability and longevity of The Mill as a Contemporary Art Centre.

Through the SKOPRI project the Foundation engaged experts to study different aspects of The Mill, it’s built heritage and sensitive conservation, it’s sustainable retrofitting of building services, the potential introduction of a green roof and it’s creative business strategy.