Works from the Zero Museum are progressing at a good pace and activities "start in October"

This museum will be created in the old grain silos and attached warehouses of the Agricultural Cooperative of Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo

O Zero Museum is getting closer and closer to open to the public and, in October, activities start. The works have already started, and be ready «within three, four months», when this space, dedicated to digital art, will be born in the Agricultural Cooperative of Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo, municipality of Tavira. Although not yet completed, the project already has a strong ambassador: Graça Fonseca, Minister of Culture. 

João Correia Vargues, president of the Executive Committee of the Museum, told the Sul Informação that «the works are underway, the rehabilitation of the space is already being noticed and we are beginning to see the horizon of everything being ready».

This museum will be created in the former grain silos and attached warehouses of the Agricultural Cooperative of Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo, spaces that are currently deactivated. Interestingly, the buildings of the former cooperative are themselves a kind of museum, as they were designed in the 50s by Manuel Gomes da Costa, a modernist architect.


João Vargues – Photo: Bárbara Caetano | Sul Informação


The works, which began in September last year, include the «rehabilitation of warehouses to be able to host exhibitions», explained João Correia Vargues to our newspaper.

“We are transforming them to accommodate residencies or seminars. Basically, we are rehabilitating buildings that were industrial for cultural uses,” he added.

After the works are completed, there will be “two phases”. «At first, anything can happen there, like workshops, residencies or seminars. As for exhibitions, in this second phase, it is better to wait for the beginning of next year», he explained.


Photo: Pedro Silva Architects


But there are already two certainties: «in October, we will start having activities» and «the artistic program for 2021 and 2022 is already being prepared».

For the time being, the Museu Zero project is «working in a network, in the training of skills», having already reached around 1500 children from schools «in various municipalities in the Algarve». “We are taking advantage of the opportunities to explain what digital art is all about”, explained João Correia Vargues.

It is also the case of the exhibition, promoted by the Zero Museum, called “The map and the territory”, on display at the Arts and Crafts Center of São Brás de Alportel, and which, at its inauguration, was attended by Graça Fonseca, Minister of Culture.

In statements to the Sul Informação, on the sidelines of this inauguration, the government official expressed her support for this project of the Zero Museum.

“I am very impressed. I had only seen images, but this is an incredible initiative, because, being a fully digital museum, it is here in the Algarve, which seems to me to be an important fact», he said.


Graça Fonseca – Photo: Bárbara Caetano | Sul Informação


For Graça Fonseca, the Zero Museum has an interesting “particularity”: “it will be born in an agricultural cooperative that is still in operation”.

“In other words, whoever goes to the Zero Museum will also go next door to see the agricultural cooperative activity, which seems to me to be a very happy combination. I am convinced that this will be an important hub for attracting talent and visitors,” he added.

Also with this in mind, João Correia Vargues speaks of the great objective of working both “with the entire region” and with other countries.

«Our bet is to have international connections. We have been doing this in recent times, working with other similar museums that exist», he stressed.

In Portugal, the partnerships already signed by Museu Zero include the EDP and Gulbenkian Foundations, the Centro Cultural de Belém, the MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology) in Lisbon and the University of Algarve.


The progress of the works – Photo: Zero Museum


This will be the first space in Portugal «focused on digital art». Even in Europe, «there are few spaces with only digital art», something that this Zero Museum wants to take advantage of to attract artists.

“Our idea is to always connect people in culture with those in agriculture. I am sure that the artists will be inspired by the cooperative, the territory and the landscape», concluded João Correia Vargues.

The creation of the Zero Museum involves an investment of around 1,9 million euros. The amount is reimbursed, in 70%, by community funds of CRESC Algarve2020.

The idea of ​​building this museum came from Paulo Teixeira Pinto, former president of Banco Comercial Português (BCP), artist, art collector and currently residing in Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo.



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