There is always something interesting going on at GAM, as the Gabriela Mistral Center is affectionately known. Theater, dance, and music performances, as well as seminars and art exhibitions, crowd the marquee at this busy arts venue. GAM’s philosophy is that art can be socially transformative if it’s accessible, and that audiences can be cultivated through education. The building’s history is a mirror of Chile itself. Built in record time for a 1972 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, it was the headquarters for subsequent military juntas, who stationed themselves behind fortified doors and machine-gun-toting sentinels for years. With Chile’s return to democracy in 1990, the structure became a conference center but was severely damaged by fire. Undaunted, authorities rebuilt and transformed it into the dynamic venue it is today. Various guided tours include an historical appreciation plus a peek at what’s going on backstage.