Video: American design duo launches arts and culture mag in Nicaragua

Nicaragua’s culture, arts and music scene is the focus of a new magazine launched by two American designers living in the country’s capital, Managua.

Hecho, which means "done" or "made" in Spanish, is the project of Christopher Sataua, 27, from San Diego and Oliver Best, 31, from Oregon. I caught up with them from Mexico City via Skype video phone to talk about the magazine.

The bimonthly is about to publish its third issue and, despite the weak global media market, has managed to sign up more than 30 local advertisers. Best says that although they expect to see a loss on the first three issues and have so far funded the project themselves, they’re working hard to build Hecho into a vehicle that local advertisers want to be seen in.

Hecho is visually striking, due at least in part to the design background of both owners. The magazine isn’t aimed at travelers but, rather, locals and foreigners living and working in the country who want to know about what’s going on in the underground music, arts and culture scene.

It’s a locally produced, bilingual effort produced by a group of both native and foreign writers and others living in Nicaragua and focusing on a strand of society that both local and international media largely ignore, the owners say.

"I don’t know of anybody writing anything about what’s happening culturally inside the country," said Sataua.

Their tone is cool, collected and informed, and their print run of 4,000 per issue disappears pretty quickly.

"We went to do a photo shoot in the market, and as we were going through the market, we were throwing the magazine around, and people were like ants, you know, coming to it," Sataua said.

The online version of Hecho is "still in its infancy," according to Best, who says he and his partner want to build it out into a much bigger presence. For now, you can download the print version of the magazine from the site, as well as read some of the articles and peruse a blog.

Thanks to Americas Quarterly for alerting us to Hecho. You can read more about the project in their report here.

— Deborah Bonello in Mexico City for La Plaza