August 9, 2012 | 4:00 PM
Artist Vik Muniz and his friends are focusing their expertise on the Rio de Janeiro-based school, Spectaculu.
Here's a quick primer on Spectaculu's amazing work in Rio.
The Spectaculu Art and Technology School is an arts and education non-profit that gives youth in Rio de Janeiro's low-income communities the chance to enhance their artistic and cultural education and development by providing them with tangible skill sets and self-esteem.
Founded in 1999 by Gringo Cardia and Marisa Orth, Spectaculu is located in a warehouse in what they call a "neutral zone." Gang violence in Rio's favelas is a problem that inflicts damage across 90 surrounding neighborhoods, so Spectaculu's classrooms are a safe space from the social instability that stifles the potential of many of Rio's youth.
Young people from these neighborhoods who have graduated from public high schools can receive an entirely free vocational, philosophical, and social education. The curriculum is open enrollment, so if you are a resident of one of the 90 neighborhoods that Spectaculu serves, you are free to attend classes. Spectaculu's career resource services enable these students to use their technical skills in Brazil's burgeoning media industry. Perhaps most importantly, these students form connections with other youths from different neighborhoods, forming bonds across gang lines, and ultimately spurring communication and solidarity amongst Rio's young, creative community.
Spectaculu is divided into two distinct schools—a Center for the Performing Arts and a Center for Visual Arts and Technology. In both schools, core reading, writing, and communication fundamentals are reinforced alongside more arts-based and visual design classes. In the Performing Arts center, technical education such as scenic lighting, costume design, and cinematography are taught, while the Visual Arts and Technology Center offers classes in photography, computer modeling, and video marketing. In addition to core classes, visiting artists often hold lectures and workshops.
Spectaculu provides education and opportunities to young people who want to have a say in their futures.
Stay tuned for more about this exciting collaboration.