Telephone (21) 2295 1175
Given its unique position and atmosphere it is of little surprise that the bucolic neighborhood of Urca has proven a source of inspiration for artists both from Brazil and the world over. On Rua São Sebastião, the city's first ever road still paved with stone, sits the Fundação Benet Domingo art school and exhibition hall. Patriarch Pedro Benet Domingo was a graduate of the Catalan School of Fine Arts and member of Barcelona's art scene before fleeing the persecution of the Franco regime for the city he had seen in the films of Carmen Miranda, and had been indelibly printed on his imagination.
Arriving in Rio in 1952 to a veritable sea of fresh opportunities, Domingo acquired new skills in the world of carnival, film and theatrical set designs, as well as continuing painting and engraving, creating a huge body of work until his death in 1969. The legacy of that productivity has been preserved in the small but perfectly formed museum in his former house in Urca.
His two sons, Pedro and Pilar, continued in that Spanish artistic vein through their drawings, paintings, prints and sculptures produced in the home studio and above the workshop a series of exhibitions began to be held looking out over the resplendent Guanabara Bay. Pedro's daughter Matina has continued the legacy through to a third generation. A fine art graduate from UFRJ, she has seized the opportunity to exhibit work by artists she admires. "We want to give a warm environment in which artists can exhibit. Our events are more intimate than most galleries, with no commercial pressures. We want to exhibit new talent with a genuine gift," says Matina.
Besides the exhibitions the Foundation has expended into courses such as 'The development of artistic expression', offering artists materials with which to learn new techniques. Dance classes take place aiming to liberate inner creativity, and reading groups are run ever Tuesday from 8pm. Whether rubbing shoulders with an upcoming artist or taking a well-earned dose of art therapy, this little corner of Urca is another jewel in an already well-adorned crown.