The Pierre Verger Cultural Center was created in 2005. It is the result of all the work done since 2002 in order to help the youngsters of the community where the foundation is based. That same year, the space also became a Culture Center, through the program implemented by the Ministry of Culture, a project that lasted until 2008. Since then, the center has been developing other projects related to the Ministry of Culture.
Located in the Vila America area, historically a rich region of Salvador with a good social background but poorly equipped culturally, the Pierre Verger Centre increases the possibility of cultural discoveries and knowledge for youngsters, adults as well as elderly people. It also favours the region social development.
Established next to the house where Pierre Verger lived almost for 40 years which is nowadays the foundation's head office, the Centre gives a new magnitude to the relation the photograph was already fostering with the neighbourhood community. It allows youngsters and others to be critical, to develop their creativity; it encourages them to be aware of their citizenship and to participate to the district's activities.
The Public Space Audience
The Cultural Centre mostly welcomes children and teenagers from Vila America but also from the surrounding districts (Engenho Velho de Brotas, Vasco da Gama, Federação, Engenho Velho da Federação) as well as the inhabitants of further districts, who want to become acquainted with different artistic methods and with Verger's life as an outstanding researcher and artist.The artistic centre highlights the Afro-Brazilian culture through the education of different artistic means that the community can freely make use of.
The center´s access to the Pierre Verger Foundation´s rich documentary archive allows it to include privileged material on important characters and aspects of African and African-Brazilian cultures in its educational activities. In addition to this material, the activities touch upon neighborhood characters by using their life examples, knowledge and spirituality, as well as Pierre Verger´s life story. Pierre Verger Culture Center also has a community library with a rich collection for children and youth, meant to encourage reading and research.
The Physical Space
At the indoor square, there are events and presentations, capoeira circles, Ação Griô activities and other artistic activities. Furthermore, around the square, there are other spaces intended for the various activities. Each room was named after a local character or someone actually from Verger´s circle, such as Jorge Amado Library, Mãe Senhora Dance Hall, the Roger Bastide Computer Room, the Mestre Bimba Square, among others.
The Pierre Verger Cultural Center´s facilities include a large natural area, which includes a centennial yellow mobin tree, a bamboo grove, fruit trees and medicinal plants. In 2008 a contention wall was completed, which allowed us to plant the garden that has already started functioning with emphasis on medicinal plants, related to Afro-Brazilian traditions. In addition, we strive to maintain a healthy diet offered in our cafeteria.
In recent years, we have focused on exchanges with schools in the region (or other regions) and carried out other projects such as Ação Griô, Trilhas Griô and Capoeira Viva, in addition to our regular final presentations. We produce shows like "5 de agosto" (2006), which celebrates the date of Verger´s arrival to Bahia 60 years ago, "Samba dos Engenhos" (2008 and 2009), which showed the trajectory of our junino samba in the neighborhood. We also produced videos of the same title and materials on the neighborhood´s history, as well as the book called "Capoeira in Salvador through Pierre Verger´s photographs", both from 2009, such as the book Fotografando Verger (2011) and the show Eu sou o blues (2012).