Rio de Janeiro will come into the spotlight this year when it hosts the FIFA World Cup and again in 2016 when it hosts the Summer Olympics. Apart from becoming a sports mecca, Brazil’s economic development is also making a mark in the art world. Project Latitude, the bureau for Promotion Project International Contemporary Brazilian Art Market, released research in July 2013 that showed an increase in galleries and represented artists in Brazil as well as an 81 percent increase in art sales in 2012 compared to 2011. In 2013, Rio validated these statistics with the opening of the Museum of Art of Rio (MAR) and City of Arts—both offer groups a glimpse into the world of Brazilian art and culture.
MAR opened in March 2013 as one of the centerpieces of Rio’s $3.8 billion renovation project that is reinventing the city’s port area. The museum has a collection of about 3,000 prized pieces that give visitors a timeline of the city’s history through historical and contemporary art. The museum is divided into two buildings that are connected via a walkway covered in wave-shaped glass. The Dom Joao VI Palace contains the museum’s exhibitions rooms, while the second building hosts the School of Vision, which focuses on training public school teachers. For groups on a budget, admission is free every Tuesday.
In January 2013, the Cidade das Artes (City of Arts) cultural complex opened to the tune of about $250 million. The complex is the new home of the Brazil Symphony Orchestra and is the second largest concert hall in Latin America, seating up to 1,800 people. It houses three art cinemas, a restaurant, café, stores and a terrace with views of the Barra da Tijuca coastline.
“Brazil is a continental country, with varied attractions and destinations to please all tastes, interests and trip formats,” says Leila Holsbach, director of international markets at the Brazilian Tourism Board (EMBRATUR). “The country is rich and filled will so many life-changing experiences.”
Another Brazilian art mecca is Casa Daros, an institution of Daros Latinamerica, one of the most comprehensive collections of Latin American contemporary art, including 1,200 artworks by more than 117 artists. The Rio de Janeiro building focuses on art and education, offering programs for groups hosted in the 91-seat auditorium.