Tag Archives: street art

Funchal has it all

As well flâneurs who like to go out for a walk on the promenades, as those laid back travelers who prefer to hang around in parks to enjoy the green grass: Funchal offers a place to everyone. From the urban chic to the cultural creatives and everything in between. Funchal has it all.

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Traditional white-brown houses are mixed with modern cubiste buildings against a backdrop of an Azure blue sky, palmtrees and the Atlantic Ocean. Old fishermen are strolling over the local fruit and vegetable mercado in the center of Funchal. The bubbly shopping area is crowded with international students, tourists, business people and some locals, while yellow cabs are in the waiting line for customers.

Market in Fuchal

In Funchal is an overwhelming amount of wild parks with red, pink and orange flowers: a mix of subtropical and Mediterranean flora and fauna. Here you can relax for a moment, or two, while the vibrant and cosmopolitan heart of the centre keeps on beating. The atmosphere is sophisticated, but easy going.

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A walk through the district of Rua de Santa Maria in Zone Velha, with it’s dazzling number of bars and restaurants, offers a colourfull palette of painted doors and walls from the Art Project of Open Doors. The diversity of artistic landscapes is astonishing.

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After your city walk you can take a break at Gigi’s Sumos, a juice bar at the Rua Dom Carlos. The wall next to the terrace has a mural of golden leaves, which is painted by one of the artists of it’s neighbour Gallery Creamar. There is a permanent exhibition with a free entrance. Most probably you will meet one of  the artists who works there.

Juicebar Gigi Somos

Funchal is a traditional and modern mix of subtropical and Mediterranean influences, permanantly accompagnied with a mild breeze from the ocean, and  bohémian with it’s creative hub in the middle of the centre. Funchal is in one word inspiring.
Funchal - Art Gallery Criamar

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Open Doors Project Funchal

“It is a project to open the doors of the city of Funchal to art and culture. They were not “virtual entrances” rather old and forgotten. These doors are from abandoned shops and deteriorated areas that take on new life, in order to sensitize people filling the streets with cultural and artistic events.

77. Projecto Arte de Portas Abertas

The idea for this project, where did it come from?

After walking several times by the old town of the city of Funchal and take pictures of what I saw, people wondered why I only photographed things “old and deteriorating” and my answer was that “I photograph what I see.” So in August of 2010 I was invited to an event called PechaKucha to present the project “art of the open doors”. The first door in which an intervention took place was in the number 207 of Carreira Street in Funchal by Martinho Mendes on August 20th, of 2010.

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When was painted the first door?

The first door to be painted in the Rua Santa Maria was on April, the 6th, of 2011 at number 77 by the artist Mark Milewski. It took longer than 1 month to be completed, since the technique used by the artist is very laborious.
Although, the first artistic intervention was completed by Gonçalo Martins at number 81-83 of Santa Maria street. He began his work on April, the 9th of 2011 and was completed on the same day.

Funchal - Projecto Arte de Portas Abertas

Did you ever imagined that the project would eventually be embraced by the people and rely on volunteer participation?

The project started “slowly” because in the beginning there was a lot of reluctance and mistrust of the people in the street. It was difficult to contact each of the owners and go asking for permission to make interventions. Artists of the island of Madeira were invited to participate, but at the beginning and even now there are some reluctance to “blend in” with minor “reputed” artists.
Keep in mind that this project is “open” to any citizen who is willing to offer his creativity to the city of Funchal to revitalize this very poor area of town.

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All that is asked is respect for the surroundings and to the other participants.
I must say that from the beginning it was clear that this project would have wide acceptance and impact on the life of the island, since there is much creativity and the good will of the population. All I had to do is “turn in the spark” to start this “Fiesta” of light and color in the street…

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Do you think the “art of painted doors” will eventually spread to other streets?

It started one day in 1994 in the streets of an Italian town of Valloire and now we are on Rua Santa Maria and nearby roads.
Who knows if painted doors cannot appear in other streets of Funchal and why not in other populated areas of the island…
Now my mind is on “other projects” that I’ll be launching soon…”

75. Projecto Arte de Portas Abertas

Text: http://www.arteportasabertas.com/en/info.html
Photo’s: Helma Geerlings