Coral Gables Museum brings stadiums, sights, fun of Brazil World Cup to Miami

The Coral Gables Museum spotlights the 12 host cities and stadiums of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with an exhibit and a program of special events that mix lectures with samba, live game broadscasts, caipirinhas and a temporary soccer pitch.

06/03/2014 7:59 PM

06/03/2014 9:59 PM

Can't make it to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup?

Caipirinhas all around! The Coral Gables Museum is mounting what promises to be a futebol-infused blast of a summer show to bring Brazilian culture and the sights and flavor of the competition to Miami.

There’s lots on offer: The centerpiece is an exhibit on the 12 host cities and the architecture of the 12 stadiums of the cup. But there will also be a free samba party; a temporary soccer pitch at the museum’s outdoor plaza; two live game broadcasts — including the June 12 Brazil v. Croatia opener — on a giant LED screen; lectures, film and video; and a tabletop “button football” competition.

There’s even a class on how to mix the perfect caipirinha, the semi-official adult beverage of Brazil.

“We hope that people will really love it,” said Adriana Sabino, guest curator of the 12 Stadiums/12 Cities exhibit, which opens Friday with the samba celebration and runs through September. “The program has a little bit for everybody.

“We are aiming to attract a new audience that usually doesn’t go to the museum but is attracted by the World Cup. Then they will be exposed to architecture, to new things. I think people will learn a lot without noticing.”

The program also promises a look at some serious topics, including the mass protests in Brazil provoked by the lavish public expenditures surrounding the Cup.

A lecture series in partnership with the American Institute of Architects’ Miami branch will bring Brazilian architects Fernando Balvedi and Sergio Coelho to speak about their stadium designs in Porto Alegre and Cuiabá, respectively.

Other topics bring the timely subject of soccer stadiums home to Miami, just as it’s embroiled in a heated debate over retired English footballer David Beckham’s proposal to build a soccer stadium in the middle of downtown’s soon-to-open waterfront Museum Park.

One panel will detail the urban and economic impact of soccer stadiums. Editor and historian Howard Kleinberg will recount controversies over sports facilities in Miami. Another related session, this one at the AIA’s downtown Miami Center for Architecture and Design, will explore the Beckham stadium location issue.

For the principal exhibition, Sabino, president of the Centro Cultural Brasil-USA da Florida, collected architectural photos, drawings, “gorgeous” presentation boards and three models of the 12 World Cup stadiums, including Rio de Janeiro’s totally refurbished Maracana, among the most famous soccer arenas in the world. All 12 stadiums boast environmentally sustainable features, she said.

Sabino also commissioned photographers from each city to capture their hometowns in what she describes as “a very personal” approach.

“The visitor will notice it’s not the typical panoramic, touristy view of the city, though there will be one recognizable photograph of each. There will be other artistic photographs that are very personal, that are the photographers’ unique views,” Sabino said.

One theme carries through the exhibits and programming: how closely soccer is woven into the daily life and culture of Brazil, she said.

“The exhibit is focused not on the Cup so much but on the cultural heritage of Brazil, symbolized by the 12 cities which representative its diversity,” Sabino said.

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