FlutuArte – A Floating Urban Art Gallery in Rio de Janeiro.


Collaborative projects always carry a special vibe, one spawned by the encounter of different ideas and visions. And this is particularly true when the collaboration happens spontaneously among people from different countries, cultures and backgrounds. 

FlutuArte is the result of one of these unique moments in time and space. 

Through my work as art curator I have the luck to meet amazing creative people. New York-based Mexican artist Maxine Nienow is one of them: a fully multi-disciplinary artist who works in photography, painting, public art and aerial dance performance. 

When working together on an exhibition in New York, she told me about this project she was co-creating in Rio de Janeiro and I was so stoked I had to write about it!


FlutuArte is a public art initiative conceived by Maxine and another New York multimedia artist, Nicolina, creator of the NY collective called The Free Art Society, which specializes in Guerrilla street art, murals, and interactive performances .

While on a trip to Rio last February, the two came across Quadrado, a historic harbor in the Urca neighborhood. Maxine and Nicolina met with the fishermen and observed with their creative eyes that the flat roofs of the fishing boats would make perfect canvases to paint on. 

They asked one of the fishermen if they could paint the roof of his boat and he happily agreed. Within few days the top was finished and it was a great success among the locals. 

So much so that other fishermen began asking Maxine and Nicolina to decorate their boats’ roofs. Soon the harbor started looking like a gallery of floating canvases. An international community of artists, musicians, and performers, along with residents and local businesses, began forming around what was then named “FlutuArte”. 

Everybody has been contributing their skills or means to help painting the boats rooftops. By now 10 out of 60 boats in the harbor have been completed.  The painting sessions themselves can take place at any time during the week, with impromptu music and barbecue sessions to accompany the creativity. 


The spectacular, colorful designs created for FlutuArte represent the relationship between land and water, man and nature.  

In Nicolina’s words: “We all agreed that the theme of FlutuArte is to express the harmony between man and nature and how this relationship can allow us to become aware that our magic, the sense of mystery within us, is real.”

FlutuArte is the latest project of the Free Art Society. The collective’s mission is to offer people who might not otherwise be exposed to art the chance to experience its powerful impact. The Free Art Society brings art into the street and is dedicated to shifting the ownership of art out of walled institutions and into the everyday public realm.

The colorful floating gallery will be viewable from both shore and sky.


FlutuArte is currently raising funds to bring the project to its full completion. Anyone can donate even a small amount to this amazing cause. If you wish to do so just click on the link below:



FlutuArte makes art free for everyone. Its main goal is to establish a space where local and international artists can meet, create together, exchange ideas and learn from one another’s culture and practice. It’s art intended as a collective experience.