Arts

Inhotim attendance stabilises months after tragic collapse of nearby mining dam

Visitors at Inhotim with an installation by the Brazilian sculptor Waltércio Caldas William Gomes

Seven months after the collapse of a tailings dam in an iron ore mine in southeastern Brazil, the nearby Inhotim Institute is working to boost its attendance, which declined significantly in the months following the disaster.

The vast arts and botanical centre is situated around 20 km from the mine, Córrego do Feijão, in Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, and was not hit in the disaster on 25 January, which ravaged the rural region. Still, the dam collapse had a powerful impact on this major source of tourism for the area.

The former mining tycoon Bernardo Paz founded the Roberto Burle Marx-designed centre in the 1980s to house his extensive art collection—including pieces by artists such as Tunga, Hélio Oiticica, Adriana Varejão and others—and opened it to the public in 2006. He also resided on the grounds until 2018, when he was sentenced to nine years in prison for money laundering.

Since its public launch, the centre has received around 350,000 visitors each year, which in turn has generated the creation of hotels, restaurants and resorts in the area. The centre also employs around 600 people, with local residents making up around 80% of its staff.

Renata Bittencourt, who was appointed the centres executive director in April and was previously the director of the Brazilian Institute of Museums, says that Inhotims priority since the disaster is to “make the public aware that there arent physical barriers preventing people from visiting the area, and that efforts are being made by the municipality to promote the unaffected cultural and natural attractions of the entire region”.

Attendance dropped around 40% in the three months following the disaster but began to stabilise last month, with around 49,000 visitors compared to a previous average of around 51,500 visitors for the same month from 2014 to 2018.

The aftermath of the Córrego do Feijão dam disaster Felipe Werneck/Ibama Read More – Source