Social transformation through art in Rio de Janeiro

The favelas, or communities as they are also referred to, are inextricably bound up with Rio de Janeiro, and I think it would be fair to say that the people living in them have less than favourable living conditions and also much less opportunities to enjoy decent, let alone good, education and develop the skills that many of them undeniably have. 

There are many organizations in Rio de Janeiro, non-profits, NGO’s and others, set up and led by selfless people who are trying to make a change into the lives of the people in the favelas and I would like to shed some light on some of them in this blog. 

Art and Social Transformation

The first organization I would like to talk about is “Art and Social Transformation“, founded in 2007 by Wainer Guimaraes and his wife Magui.

Wainer had previously worked with university students and has a strong passion for music and theatre.  Inspired by the way Cal Arts uses arts as a tool to transform people’s lives, he now has his own organization that offers artistically gifted young  people (14-18 yo) from Rio de Janeiro’s favelas an opportunity to develop their talents. 

Not only that, but he also takes them on the road. Every year, a group of Rio de Janeiro youth travels to the USA for a three week road trip, in order to experience first hand what it is to be an artist by performing in several places in the USA, showcasing their talent. 

Artists of Art and Social Transformation 2014
Artists of Art and Social Transformation 2014


Getting the Show on the Road

The American road trip is called “Getting the Show on the Road” and is organized by Arts and Social Transformation, in cooperation with several cultural institutions in the USA, from Boston to Los Angeles. It puts the teens in front of American audiences, exploring, sharing, learning from one another and growing in the process. 

The coast-to-coast trip will take the young artists to several well known cities in the USA (see map), and will no doubt become an experience of a lifetime…

Route of the 2014 "Get the Show on the Road" trip
Route of the 2014 “Get the Show on the Road” trip 


The group will travel from city to city in a rental van and as much as possible avoid the use of hotels and other expensive lodging. Spending the night with local people of the cities they will visit only adds to the value of this incredible experience. According to Wainer, all the kids return from the trip much more confident about life, about who they are and their talents. “The gratification of seeing the transformation in these young people makes me want to do this work for the rest of my life”, Wainer concludes. 


It isn’t hard to imagine that, even running a very tight budget and sleeping at people’s houses instead of hotels, an enterprise like this costs a considerable amount of money, and the current weakening of the Brazilian Real against the Us Dollar hasn’t made it easier to manage the financial side of the project. 

If you have the means and would like to help the group cover all the costs by doing a small donation, you are welcome to do that.


Thank you



We will be following the group as they go and post more pictures of the trip as it unfolds, and for now wish them

  A fantastic and safe trip!!!