EAV Parque Lage’s current headquarter is housed in a heritage listed building, formerly home to Brazilian businessman Henrique Lage (1881-1941) and Italian opera singer Gabriella Besanzoni (1888-1962). The mansion was designed in the twenties by Mario Vodret – an Italian-born architect who later built Rio de Janeiro’s Synagogue. The eclectic-style mansion is located within the beautiful tropical park designed by British landscape architect John Tyndale, who was appointed around 1840 to reshape the pre-existing sugar cane farm.
Deliberately inspired by the School of Visual Arts in New York, EAV Parque Lage was founded by artist Rubens Gerchman in 1975 as an Open School (Escola livre) funded by State Government.
Despite the dictatorship running the country, EAV Parque Lage implemented pioneering experimental teaching by artists, designers, architects and historians as Helio Eichbauer, Lina Bo Bardi, Mario Pedrosa, Roberto Magalhães, Celeida Tostes, Lelia González, Alair Gomes, Paulo Herkenhoff and others. Situated at multidisciplinary crossroads, EAV Parque Lage has produced and hosted remarkable shows by theatre director José Celso Martinez Corrêa (Teatro Oficina), as well as by leading brazilian musicians Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Milton Nascimento, Fagner, Chico César, etc.; also, it was the location for a historic dodecaphony music event by German-Brazilian composer and educator Joachim Koellreutter, as well as the site where Lacanian avant-garde of Freudian School landed in Brazil, and where the seminal gay magazine “Lampião da Esquina” was edited and published.
Prominent intellectuals as Darcy Ribeiro, Roberto da Matta and Ferreira Gullar actively taught cinema studies in the seventies, when EAV Parque Lage Cine Club used to screen censored films, artists movies, Super8 and short films.
An Open School for artists and professionals of contemporary visual arts, EAV Parque Lage currently focuses on Teaching and Learning, Research, Public Education and Dissemination. Through an emphasis on interdisciplinary and transversal issues, EAV also covers dance, cinema, theatre and literature – based both on practice and theoretical approach.
EAV Parque Lage is led by a committed directorship plus a curatorial team aiming at implementing a self-sustainable agenda to match with contemporary issues. School curricula include post-colonial studies jointly with Afro-Brazilian and native Brazilians subjects — it is worth to mention the “Oca”, the indigenous ritual structure in the park. School’s perspective is informed by the humanities and by cross-cultural interests, indeed.
For planning, curating and producing art exhibition events to be instrumental to EAV Parque Lage’s mission, in 2018 School display facilities hosted Queermuseum — an exhibition previously censored elsewhere, whose the presentation turned an internationally significant statement on diversity.
Art as activism is currently a way for EAV Parque Lage to implement projects in partnership with Rio de Janeiro’s
low-income communities, within the School’s general strategy focusing on scholarships and free courses.
Children education unit Parquinho Lage significantly contributes to achieve the School’s social inclusion target,
with a range of workshops for children and families from anywhere in town.
A specific international network by means of partnerships, workshops and grants is presently the way for EAV Parque Lage students and professors to connect back and forth with relevant institutions all over the world.