Rio Cultural Centers: Flamengo Options

By: Andre Skowronski
Thinking about renting an apartment in Flamengo? Excellent idea! Flamengo has become an increasingly sought-out neighborhood in Rio for several reasons, including its art deco architecture buildings, famous bars like Belmonte and ultimately its cultural centers and museums. Until the 1950s, Flamengo and Catete were the principal residential zones of Rio's wealthier middle class and that may be the reason why some of many embassies (today consulates) were established here.

Nowadays, Flamengo is a vibrant middle-class residential neighborhood, with much charm and culture to be had. In this article we will describe some of the cultural centers and museums established in the Flamengo district including the Modern Art Museum, Oi Futuro Cultural Center, and the Catete Palace. The best thing is that most of these marvels are free.

Our first stop is the city ?s Modern Art Museum. It has a privileged location on Flamengo Park alongside Guanabara Bay, with the landscaping designs of Burle Marx. The Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro started its construction in 1954, and is perhaps architect Affonso Eduardo Reidy?s most striking design: rows of angled concrete ribs support and enclose the gallery space. Inaugurated in 1958, the Modern Art Museum has a very unusual history; after a tragic fire in 1978 burned most of its collection, and damaged the structure of the building, a tremendous reconstruction effort put the museum back on its feet, and today the permanent collection has over 2,000 pieces by Brazilian and international artists. A major contribution was made by art patron Gilberto Chateubriand, with a private collection of 4,000 pieces. It is also under the care of MAM, and can be seen in the permanent exhibition. An interesting program of art shows and exhibitions keep the museum as an excellent attraction throughout the year. An impressive collection of the works of Picasso, Max Ernst, Rodin, Brancusi and other artists from Brazil and elsewhere is housed in this concrete and glass building in Flamengo Park.

Another major attraction of the Museum of Modern Art is the film collection ("Cinemateca do MAM"), one of the best in Latin America, with over 12,000 titles including some rarities. There are sessions and festivals open for the general public, with Brazilian and foreign cult movies that are not normally shown on the commercial circuit. Art workshops are held at the Oficina da Gravura. Additional Information on the Modern Art Museum in Rio: Open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 12 noon to 6 p.m. Av. Infante Dom Henrique, 85 - Flamengo Park.

Our next Cultural Center for Flamengo is OI FUTURO, located at Rua Dois de Dezembro, 66. The Center is maintained and supported by major telecom player in Brazil: OI and has been receiving since its founding grants from several foundations to enhance its cultural assets and infrastructure. OI FUTURO is housed in a building that was built in 1918 and has just been remodeled, resulting in a gain of over two thousand square meters of internal space. The building's fa?e was preserved. There are four floors, interposed among the building's eight levels, connected by glass stairways and elevators. Each floor presents different exhibits throughout the month. OI FUTURO's varied program includes activities related to music, videos and plastic arts. Visitors will also find an up-to-date library with an abundance of research material: magazines, newspapers and on-line computers as well as exhibition rooms. A full multi-use theater with 180 seats presents regular plays every week, at popular prices. A very charming Wi-Fi connected bistro is located at the upper floor of the Cultural Center, which leads to the terrace of the building. From the terrace, you can even see part of the Flamengo beach and Guanabara Bay. You can check OI FUTURO ?s monthly cultural program and schedule in English at

Additional Information on the OI Futuro Cutural Center: Open Hours: Tues-Sun. 11am-8pm; Address: Rua Dois de Dezembro, 63 - Flamengo, Phone:(21)3131-3060. Free Admission for several exhibits, with the exception of theater plays.

Our last stop is the Catete Palace. The Catete Palace - seat of Brazil's Republican Government from 1897 to 1960 and scene of activities of eighteen Presidents - has seen some of the most important events in Brazil's political life, including the Declaration of Brazil's entry into World Wars I and II and the suicide of President Get? Vargas in 1954. Transformed into a museum when Bras?a became the nation's capital in 1960, and closed for restoration from 1983 through 1989, the Republic Museum reopened with a broad-ranging cultural program that includes exhibitions, concerts, plays, movies, videos, boutiques, restaurants and a book-store.

The gardens of the Museum acquired new lighting, with the replacement of 71 forged iron posts - in the eclectic style - for other posts with contemporaneous designs made of steel. Today, on the ground floor, the Entrance Hall and the Ministerial Room still retain the solemn atmosphere of capital meetings and decisions regarding the nation's destiny. Two long-standing exhibits present historical information about the first occupant of the Palace and his descendents and about the inauguration of the Republic Museum. The remaining rooms hold temporary exhibits that represent varied aspects of Republican Brazil.

On the second floor, known as the "noble floor", luxury and thematic diversity stand out. The Chapel room and the Blue, Noble, Pompeian, Venetian, Moorish and Banquette rooms show off their vintage Brazilian and French furniture, paintings from artists such as Baptista da Costa, Gustavo dall'Ara, D?o Vilares, Rodolfo Amoedo, Henrique Bernardelli, besides sculptures, chandeliers and porcelain from the 19th and 20th Centuries. The third floor highlights the reconstruction of President Get? Vargas' room. The remaining rooms are devoted to the display of objects, text documents and photographs from the Republic Museum's own collection. The complex also hosts one of my favorite movie theaters in town. The theater is especially known for its art movies and is named "Cinema Museu da Rep?ca". You can check the theater's schedule in any newspaper in town.

Additional Information on the Catete Palace: Open Hours:Tues-Thurs-Fri, noon-5pm Wed, 2pm-5pm- Sat-Sun-Holidays, 2pm-6pm. Free admission Sundays and Wednesday to the Catete Museum. Address: Rua do Catete, 153 - Catete. Phone: (21) 3235-2650 The park in the Catete Palace is opened for visits until 10 p.m.

We described in this article only some of Flamengo?s cultural centers and museums. There are many other Cultural Centers all within the Flamengo district boundaries, with many art exhibits and public libraries. We also suggest and appoint the following:

Figner Mansion Arte SESC Cultural

Julieta de Serpa House of and Culture

Cultural Center Oduvaldo Viana Filho

Carmen Miranda Museum

Telephone Museum

As we mentioned before, most of these Cultural Centers have free admittance. Other positive aspects of these cultural centers we described above, is that they are very modern and underwent major renovation efforts. If you have cultural interests, consider settling in Flamengo neighborhood on your next trip to Rio. We are sure this district hosts one of the liveliest cultural scenarios in town.
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