Escola Vidigal is a School of Art and Technology for children ages 4 to 10 located at Favela Vidigal, in Rio de Janeiro. The school was founded by Vik Muniz and has “Visual Literacy” as its core concept. This unique space – more a playground and art studio than usual classrooms – gives low-income children from the favela a chance to get in touch with art and technology at an early age. The main idea is to give access to the development of abstract thinking, including body and emotional expression and to create a new model for teaching – integrating art, play, performance and technology.
“It’s inspiring to watch as an artist,” says Vik Muniz, who left Brazil as a young adult to explore the New York art world of the 1980s. He now shuttles between his studios in Brooklyn and Rio. Escola Vidigal grew out of Muniz’s work over the years teaching art to children from Rio’s favelas. They reminded him of growing up in similar neighborhoods in Sao Paolo. “I was no different than these kids,” he says. “You teach children art and it’s not just about acquiring craft, it’s about opening up their eyes, helping them see beyond the everyday world they know,” says Muniz. “When you do that, a bubble pops and their world is immediately changed.”
For the children, Escola Vidigal provides a safe space to experiment art – away from the violence of the favela. Muniz sees the school as a pilot program and would like it to be the first of many schools to teach a curriculum that ranges from sculpture to dance to video. “There is nothing like this in the favela,” says Muniz, who hopes to give these children the tools and skills necessary to one day pursue opportunities in the field of their choice.
Through the sales of these editions, The Skateroom commits 15% of the sales proceeds to support Escola Vidigal.
An additional 5% will support Coletivo Skate Maré, a volunteer-led grassroots movement that empowers the youth within its community through skateboarding. In August 2019, we helped fund the construction of a permanent skatepark within the favela through our collaboration with French artist, JR. The funds from this collaboration will help the collective maintain the skatepark and run their weekly activities.