*By Patricia Rousseaux and Jamyle Rkain

Nthe occasion of the conceptualization of the Cultural Management Seminar: Contemporary Challenges, in addition to the speakers who participated in the event, we sought out countless professionals who have been working together with the difficulties faced by the culture in our country.

Here, an interview with Lucimara Letelier, ​founder and director of Museu Vivo, a consultancy on innovation and economic sustainability in museums and culture, co-creator of HiperMuseus. She has been working for 20 years in cultural, social and museum management, with projects with more than 40 organizations, such as the Portuguese Language Museum, Immigration Museum, Villa Lobos Museum, Oi Futuro, Museum of Tomorrow, MAR and Espaço BNDES. She holds a master's degree in Cultural Management from Boston University, was Deputy Director of Arts at the British Council, Director of Funding at ActionAid. She is an advisor at ICOM Brazil and ICOM MPR, ActionAid and ABGC.

ARTE!Brasileiros — Lucimara, how did you come up with the idea of ​​creating the Vivo Museum consultancy?
LUCIMARA LETELIER With 20 years of experience in the area of ​​Cultural Management, Museum Management and Human Rights, I felt the need to create a platform that synthesized a little of everything I had observed with the difficulties and learned along the way. In this sense, I spent a year and a half studying the UNESCO Program for leaders, agents of change, focused on the 20/30 Agenda. This is a program that tries to discuss planetary limits, what are the most urgent causes, discussions in the service of a transition process in the world, but in fact aimed at environmentalists, social entrepreneurs, agents of social pacts. When taking the course they propose, Gaia Education really caught my attention, that there was no discussion around agents of change in the cultural and museum sectors. At that moment I decided to try to see how these guidelines could talk to the museological area, cross knowledge and bring oxygen to museums, which are dying. Trying to think of organic solutions.

How is this implemented in practice?
We researched models of institutions and decided to create a platform that proposes sustainability solutions for culture. We set up a network consultancy that tries to use several areas to create these solutions. What new skills, what new languages ​​do you need to go through?

Yes, but it does not escape them that, in most cases, it is an economic problem.
I think you are bringing a limit situation, which is the absence of public policy. In our opinion, today you have to have a mixed pizza, with diversification of resources. For many years we had direct and indirect transfers, such as the Rouanet Law or the transfer made to SOs, which always leave the institution “waiting” and without reaction or demand to think about other alternatives. This system, in Brazil, is bankrupt. I don't think there was a public, civil mobilization that understands that sustainability is a political act.

MAR, for example, which is going through a major financial crisis, has an enormous capillarity and an enormous participatory relationship. But we think that there is no real search for how to turn progressive campaigns into campaigns capable of generating resources. We have progressive people, these people have to be involved to the point where they feel part of the place that is being sustained.

Lucimara Letelier, founder of the Living Museum.

Have you operationalized this idea in some way?
Yes. We set up a partnership with benfeitoria.com, a platform for through crowdfunding with experience in crowdfunding campaigns; SITAWI — Finanças do Bem, which manages the fund, and we, who manage the proposals with the knowledge of cultural management. The three — Museu Vivo, benfeitoria.com and SITAWI — are organizations that have their own expertise. On the other hand, the BNDES has a financing line for investment sustainability campaigns of up to R$300. Therefore, in campaigns matchfunding, for every R$1 that citizens put in, the BNDES puts another R$2. In this line, we have already created, for example, two campaigns: one for the Museum of the Unconscious and another for the Bispo do Rosário Museum, which involve the preservation of works and restorations.

As part of the project, the institution then receives a consultancy to work with the mailing that was produced in this initiative. It's one thing for a donor to arrive for a campaign, another thing to do with their data. In fact, it becomes an economic entity. At the box office, you just “sell an event, an activity”. In this proposal, people “buy an idea”. And being able to retain your data contributes to the possibility of continuing to offer you support services to the institution. 

people in through crowdfunding they leave the money for a campaign, at the box office they leave the money for an event, for an activity. It's different, because in the first case, you're donating money to a cause you want to support. At the box office, it's just a cost. At the Children's Museum, where I worked, they very strongly regard the person who enters the museum as an economic entity. When you go in to buy a ticket, just like a telecom, you create an economic relationship with that person. I think it would be very important for technology companies, for example, in addition to paying for sponsorships, to be able to offer Know-how for museums.

About the title of our seminar, how would you summarize these challenges?
The institution understands itself as the cause; have a listening ear to your problems as a co-curator; working on the cultural connection combined with public and private policies, bringing knowledge of entrepreneurial culture to managers.

Management in times of tragedy

Executive director of Inhotim since last April, Renata Bittencourt arrived at the institute three months after the failure of the Feijão Dam, in the city of Brumadinho. Previously, among other things, she had been director of Museum Processes at the Brazilian Institute of Museums (IBRAM), from 2017 to 2019, and secretary of Citizenship and Cultural Diversity in 2016, both at the extinct Ministry of Culture (MinC). She has a master's degree and a doctorate in Art History from the State University of Campinas (Unicamp), graduated in Social Communication from the Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing (ESPM). Renata specialized in Art Museum Studies and Management of Communication and Culture Processes at the University of São Paulo (USP).

Renata Bittencourt, executive director of Inhotim. PHOTO: William Gomes

The sludge of human and environmental tragedy did not reach the great open-air museum, but affected its functioning in several ways. In an interview with the ARTE!Brasileiros in June of this year, Renata stated that some of her main goals when she arrived in Inhotim were to encourage the return of visitation and strengthen ties with the local community. After what happened in Brumadinho, the institute assumed a role of important social commitment in the life of the city, an action that the director is well aware of, since between 1997 and 1998 she was a Fulbright grantee to observe programs aimed at this sphere: “A challenge that I think it's important to emphasize that it's important for Inhotim in particular, but I think it's for many other spaces too, it's the challenge of connecting with the territories where the institutions are located”, she comments.

In the context of Renata's arrival at the institute, a new phase of the Nosso Inhotim program was initiated, which has so far registered approximately 1500 residents of the municipality of Brumadinho for free admission to the institution and a 50% discount on activities that take place in the space. Before, residents only had the right to half-price. “There is a desire and an action on our part for an even stronger reconnection, an even stronger bond with the city”. She emphasizes that this involves from artists to strengthening links with schools in the region and reaching out to residents in general, thus being a way of exchange, where the institution opens its doors and the city makes a gesture of saying what it wants. is interesting for Brumadinho: “This opening to the territory today helps to define what Inhotim is”.

For the director, one of the main situations when she arrived in Inhotim was to see even more clearly the fact that institutions are made by people. “Inhotim lived this tragedy very personally because Inhotim's skin is made up of these 600 people who work here,” she says. She says that the idea that management needs, in all its spheres and decisions, to be humanized was a reflection provoked by this event.

Decolonizing management

Within the sphere of management of public and private cultural institutions in the country, it is important to emphasize that Renata Bittencourt is one of the only black people in charge of an institution of great importance in the country. The fact is related to an institutional racism unfortunately still very rooted in Brazilian society. Renata highlights that it is important that her position at this moment serves to create a dialogue in this aspect and highlights people like Rosana Paulino, Renata Felinto, Janaina Barros, Amanda Carneiro and Hélio Menezes, who do not necessarily act as managers but have an active voice in the artistic environment: “It gives me the impression that there are paths that open up”.

Claudinei Roberto da Silva, professor and independent curator. PHOTO: Antonio Trivelin.

At this point, the curator, plastic artist and professor Claudinei Roberto da Silva states that what can be “perceived is what is easy to verify: there is a black-Brazilian competence that has been historically neglected”. He holds a degree in Fine Arts from the School of Communication and Arts of the University of São Paulo (USP), former coordinator of the Education Center of the Afro Brasil Museum, in addition to working as an independent curator and professor of drawing, painting and Art History in institutions across the country. He points out that the concern to include this competence exists today, but in a proportion that could be greater. He highlights the lack of black people in management positions in institutions across the country and states: “The institution is not decolonial because it promotes Afro-Atlantic diaspora symposium, it will be decolonial when it has black, black and indigenous people in management positions”.

According to Claudinei, there is no possibility of talking about decolonialism without first working on the idea of ​​anticolonialism: “It is very difficult to talk about decolonialism without talking about hegemony, without talking about cultural hegemony and whiteness. People need to recognize their backwardness at this moment in history.” His observations are based on what he sees in São Paulo. He points out the extreme importance of making an effort to bring out a story, to record it in books, catalogs or “extraordinarily well done” documents, but that nothing is more fundamental than observing whether the staff of institutions museums the black presence is contemplated.


  1. Congratulating the magazine for the theme and for opening the range covering different voices. Plurality is welcome and necessary! A hug.

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