By any measure, Ushuaia, the city at the end of the world, is a fabulous place to land. As you descend between the rugged Andes’ Martial range, which walls off the city to the north, and the Beagle Channel, which forms its perimeter to the south, you also get a very clear sense of just how isolated the capital of Tierra del Fuego actually is.
As a sprawling, steadily growing home to more than 70,000, it’s also a considerably larger municipality than I expected to find 2,352km (1,461mi) south of Buenos Aires and just 1,309km (814mi) north of the Antarctic Circle.
That size, coupled with a rapidly expanding tourism industry that attracts several thousand visitors from dozens of countries each year –more than 71,000 people have visited thus far during the current cruise season, from September through February– lends itself nicely to the worldly and urban sensibility that belies its isolation, and which manifests itself quite appropriately on the exterior walls of the Polivalente de Arte, by default, the planet’s southernmost high school for the arts. I really liked the muscled tango dancers above.
Founded in 1987 as a high school specializing in fine art, music and ceramics, it was expanded in the early part of last decaded to include studies in multimedia communication, graphic arts and design. I met a few of the school’s recent graduates during my visit and found them to be exceptionally well-rounded academically, very well-spoken, insatiably creative and very eager to learn more. By most accounts, that’s a good measure for any school.
Twenty-two photo follow, all taken in January 2013.