Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Tiradentes Cultural is a festivity in Rio’s downtown, surrounded by stories, memories, but also amnesias. It’s a popular and collective construction that, by celebrating the present, helps rebuild the past and preserve a desirable future.

Located in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Tiradentes Square is an iconic place of huge relevance for the history and cultural formation of the Brazilian people.

State ministers, enslaved populations, and even the royal court have all passed by Tiradentes Square. In this convergence spot, authorities used to set state policies, and businessmen, make important decisions.

During the nineteenth century, the square became an important culture center, with theaters, fine arts academies, cafés, libraries, and other meeting points for the power elites.

Around the mid-twentieth century, the political force of Tiradentes Square was no longer the same, but its cultural and bohemian atmosphere remained, just like the diverse arts and culture centers surrounding it.

However, in the late twentieth century and early twentieth-first, the square was fenced and, losing its cultural reputation almost entirely, became a little attractive place to visit.

Later on, urban reforms removed the fences, restored the square’s monuments, and, in this new context, a local network of cultural spaces, institutions, and enterprises from the Tiradentes Square surroundings arose. This network was aimed at stimulating the circulation of people and encouraging cultural activities in this part of the city.

Of the diverse actions promoted by the network, the monthly festivities are the ones that continue to happen – now less connected to the surrounding institutions that helped birth it, but incentivized by the voluntary and resilient action of its organizers.

Since 2015, the TIRADENTES CULTURAL Festivity happens every first Saturday of the month, with a diverse line-up that splits into three different spaces: a stage for artistic presentations (music, theater, dance, and circus); a storytelling area (a children’s favorite); and an area dedicated to workshops and other creative actions. Beyond the cultural line-up, the event is also composed of a food market and an art, design, and handicrafts fair. Neighbors are the main participants, but also people from other parts of the city. The event also hosts other projects and partnerships, keeping the community constantly reinvigorated.

* Text by Guto Santos

Cacá Valente, Paula Camargo, Valéria Lima
Valéria Lima is a physiotherapist, producer, and cultural manager. Paula de Oliveira Camargo is an architect and urbanist, holding a master's degree in Cultural Goods and Social Projects, and a PhD in Design. Cacá Valente is a designer, Arts History professor, manager, and cultural producer.

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