Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Brazilian Endowment for the Arts: 52nd Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues
I've passed by the Brazilian Endowment for the Arts (BEA) hundreds of times, but never seemed to be there at the right time to check it out until today. They have a small gallery space that is open to the public with fairly pricey original pieces of art for sale. They also have a small performance space in the back. Finally, they provide Portuguese lessons (contact 212-271-1556 for private or semi-private lessons) as well as a calendar of special events (like the Brazilian movie tomorrow night at Columbia University with the director available via Skype for Q&A).
If you have an interest in Brazilian culture (they have a lending library for members with over 4,000 books), learning Portuguese, or perhaps purchasing some contemporary art with an ethnic-Brazilian influence (see above), you should check out the BEA. However, be forewarned; it is a little unwelcoming. You have to buzz to request the release of the gated front door to enter the tight space in the basement of a run down building (see entrance right).
The staff has the right spirit and enthusiasm, but I would say that their lack of organization and order shows. Even their website is all written in Portuguese (not the most friendly for non-speakers) and is hard to decipher.
You decide if it is worth it.... Enjoy!