In February 2011, the Wexner Center announced the start of a multidisciplinary, four-year initiative focusing on the vibrant culture of Brazil and supported in part by a nearly $800,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Our focus on Brazil complements and supports Ohio State’s overarching international strategies and its commitment to becoming a preeminent global university, essentially integrating international dimensions into every facet of the institution. It also dovetails with the university’s program of establishing international Global Gateway offices in key parts of the world, including a Global Gateway scheduled to open in São Paulo, Brazil, in 2014, joining current offices in Shanghai, China, and Mumbai, India.
Over the past year and a half, center curators and educators have been engaged in research and in-depth conversation with Brazilian artists, curators, and critics, as well as with Ohio State colleagues whose teaching or research connects with Brazilian culture. The Wexner Center’s Brazil programs will come to full fruition in 2014, with two major exhibitions, a film series, education events, and a book publication, as well as complementary performing arts events, planned for that year. In the meantime, we launch the project this September with a visit by filmmaker Kleber Mendonça Filho on September 14 to kick off an ongoing monthly series of Brazilian films, a concert by São Paulo Underground on September 23, and a video by Pablo Lobato screening in the Box throughout the month.
Via Brasil, the phrase we’ve chosen as an overarching title for our programs, draws on a meaning of “via” that English and Portuguese share: “by way of.” Throughout this series we invite you to join us as we introduce our campus and our community to innovators from a complex and dynamic nation, and enhance the university’s mission of international exchange, through arts and culture that come to us “by way of” Brazil.