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By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Directly on one of Botafogo’s main roadways, a massive nineteenth century mansion has recently been refurbished to act as the new headquarters for an urban art center, named GaleRio, located at 117 Rua São Clemente. Opened on June 16th by the city government in conjunction with the EixoRio Institute, the space is intended to be a hub for urban art in the city.

Rio urban art center, EixoRio Institute, GaleRio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brazil News
The 1879 mansion is now home to the first urban art center supported by the city, photo by Divulgação/EixoRio.

The imposing Botafogo residence was first constructed in 1879, and has just opened its doors after major renovation. The GaleRio space is the first municipal gallery for urban art in the city, offering an exhibition space on the second floor of the 350 square meter colonial home.

In addition to the exhibition area, the mansion will also have a floor with rooms for classes and to hold meetings and exchange experiences. “The idea is to be a space for exchange of ideas and joint projects in a ‘coworking’ environment.” explains Cristiane Nicolay, executive coordinator of the EixoRio Institute.

She adds, “The intention for GaleRio is to prioritize, stimulate and encourage urban art. On site, rooms are also available to artists, collectives and social entrepreneurs who can meet to exchange experiences.”

The first exhibition on display is a collective of artists with works by; Acme, Airá OCrespo, Carlos Bobi, Dante Urban, Davi Baltar, Davi Rezende, Denne, Dwin, Ema, Gil Faria, Kaja Man, Marcelo Lamarca, Mario Bands, Meton, Pirata Grafiteiro, Rafo Castro and Rafael Se7

Airá OCrespo told O Globo that the space will be crucial for new artists to have their work recognized outside the Centro and Zona Norte. “It will be an important site for development, debate and training, which has not yet existed. I consider it a great achievement for graffiti in Brazil [to] have a reference center of urban art.”

The plan, according to Nicolay, is to have an exhibit selection process open to all street artists from Rio de Janeiro. “Anyone that makes urban art may submit a project and apply to use the space for free,” she explains, and adds they plan to launch a photo exhibition in July.

The EixoRio Institute is a joint platform created by the city government of Rio de Janeiro to enhance the urban scene of the city. The stated goal of the Institute is to strengthen and enhance the relationship between the Municipality and the society in finding solutions to the socioeconomic and cultural development of the city. The new GaleRio space is on Rua São Clemente, 117, Botafogo, has free admission and is open Monday to Friday from 10AM to 6PM.

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