1971 Salute to Spain

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The 1971 Salute to Spain was the 21st annual Birmingham Festival of Arts, running from March 19 to April 4, 1971. The event included numerous performances, exhibits and events celebrating Spanish arts and culture, including a week-ling "International Fair" at Boutwell Auditorium.

The festival was chaired by Bettie Cox. Details of the event were publicized at reception at the Spanish Pavilion Restaurant in the Ritz Towers on New York City's Park Avenue, with Spanish consul Adolfo Martín-Gamero as guest of honor. The 30-strong Birmingham contingent continued its promotional efforts in Washington D.C., where Mayor George Seibels joined them to present Ambassador Jaime Arguelles with a Spanish-themed Arthur Stewart painting.

Arguelles and his wife came to Birmingham to open the ceremonies in March. The city's planned overtures to Spain included decorating light poles with national and provincial flags; temporarily renaming streets in Spanish; and costuming police officers as members of the Guardia Civil. Birmingham City Schools students painted thousands of posters celebrating Spain which were put up in shop windows in the City Center. The Birmingham Museum of Art presented a special exhibition of Spanish artists, including El Greco, Francisco de Goya, Bartolomé Murillo, and Diego Velázquez.

The Birmingham Symphony Orchestra welcomed Barcelona-born pianist Alicia de Larrocha; the Birmingham Music Club sponsored Flamenco performances by José Greco; the Alabama Ballet performed Georges Bizet's "Carmen;" and the Jewish Community Center staged a production of the Broadway musical "Man of La Mancha."


  • Thomas, Robert McG. Jr (November 29, 1970) "Birmingham Civic Leaders Come to Town to Beat Drums for Arts Festival." The New York Times