With clouds still lingering and rain threatening to ruin our day, M and I debated exploring museums when I remembered that this weekend is ArtRio, an international contemporary art fair.

We picked up L from school and took the metro to the Uruguaiana station and walked up Rio Branco to Mauá Pier where four warehouses were packed full of artwork from some of the top galleries around the world.   Picasso, Dalí, Miró, Warhol, and Di Cavalcanti were featured along with a number of other international and Brazilian artists.

I have to admit, I was a bit hesitant to go dragging a stroller and toddler in tow.  I was unsure what to expect from the space and organization.  I get claustrophobic just thinking about a space featuring work from 1,000 artists and expecting 60,000 visitors.

We were pleasantly surprised.   The warehouses were transformed into mini galleries that were easy to divide and conquer.  At no point did it feel crowded.  Cafes, bars, and restaurants were interspersed and walking between warehouses on the waterfront provided a cloudy view of the Rio-Niteroi Bridge that made being in side all the better.

We wandered through the first warehouse and stopped for a coffee as we worked our way to the second.   M noticed a kid art sign and we made our way to a space set up by the Office of Daniel Azulay in Ipanema.   A long decorated tabled was set up with paints, markers, colored pencils, blue, sequins, paper, and small canvases.

After seeing Art (or “Awt” as L still calls it), L was excited to actually make some.   She decided grandma needed a birthday present and set to work.   It was a nice break for her and for us as we sat and drank our coffee and the staff doted over L.

After L finished her masterpiece, we made our way rather quickly through the remaining three warehouses, ending at the bookstore where L got a book on two dogs that go to a museum.

As a parent with a child in tow, ArtRio was actually a great activity for us all.  L loved it.   She completely engaged in the contemporary art, with all the vibrant colors, the diverse textures, the mixture of media.  That mixed with the opportunity to actually make it, made it even better.  As a parent without a child in tow, I could have easily spent more time there going through the different galleries into the evening.

Apparently there is a bunch of other events going throughout the city, so I may just get the chance.

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