By Georgia Grimond, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Sixty-five artists will participate in the 25th edition of Arte de Portas Abertas (Open Door Art) in Santa Teresa this weekend. Running from 10AM to 6PM on July 25th and 26th, the event is expected to draw around 30,000 visitors to the neighborhood.

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Visitors on the streets of Santa Teresa during Arte de Portas Abertas, photo courtesy of Debs/Arte de Portas Abertas.

Over the weekend artists will open up their ateliers and studios to the public and events and exhibitions will run across the city. With fourteen of Santa Teresa’s restaurants taking part, it is a festival of art, culture and cuisine.

Organised by Associação dos Artistas Visuais de Santa Teresa (Association of Visual Artists of Santa Teresa), Chave Mestra, there will be a range of media and styles on show, demonstrating the breadth of Brazilian contemporary art. Prints, drawings, paintings, watercolors, sculptures, photographs, ceramics, folk art and much more will be available to browse and buy.

Flávio Papi, an artist-cum-architect who makes models for TV, cinema, adverts and other projects, has opened up his studio for the weekend for the past ten years. “I participate because I am interested in the idea of people from street entering your home and seeing the place where your work is created,” he explains. “It’s not like the museums which can be colder and more distant.”

“The first time I took part I was a little scared about strangers coming into my house and in my studio, but it was a pleasant surprise,” he adds. “There is a great respect and interest from people who want to talk to you and ask about your work, about how it is made and what its specific purpose is.”

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A model by Flávio Papi, who will open his studio over the weekend, photo courtesy of Chave Mestra/Flávio Papi.

The event began in 1996 as an effort to bring neighbors, the public and artists together and to encourage people to visit the area at a time when it was dogged with violence. Now, Arte de Portas Abertas is an important date in the city’s cultural calendar and it continues to grow.

This year is no exception. As well as the open studios, fifteen other art spaces, including a number of art galleries, museums and cultural centers across the city, will be running exhibition and events.

They include the Museu da Chácara do Céu and the Museu Casa de Benjamin Constant, which are both in Santa Teresa. Once the event has finished, the Centro de Artes Calouste Gulbenkian in Praça Onze in Centro will house an exhibition of all the participating artists.

In Santa Teresa, street artists will create installations on posts between Largo do Curvelo and Largo das Neves, in the style of those that already exist in Niterói and other parts of the city. The works will remain after the festival is finished.

It is well worth visiting some of the restaurants that will be involved in the event too. Open Door Art has played an important role in the history of one of Rio’s most loved and famous restaurants, Aprazível. Asked in the Nineties to open her house up to visitors, the owner Ana Castilho became renowned for the simple lunches she served over the weekend. They were so popular that she soon opened up a restaurant and her house became the respected establishment it is today, serving Mineiro food in her lush jungle garden.

Work is being done on Santa Teresa’s streets to bring back its famous bonde, or tram, and link the hilltop neighborhood with the areas below. As a result organizers request that visitors leave their car at home. Taxi, bus or a mototaxi from Gloria is the best way to access the area.

For a full list of participating artists and events, please visit Chave Mestra’s site.


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