Pedagogy of the Streets: Porto 1977

Mishkin Gallery Exhibition organized by by the University of Porto in Portugal showcases photographs by artist Elvira Leite that reflect various phases of her 1977 collaboration with the children of Porto’s Pena Ventosa community. During a time of energiz

Gallery Information

Location: 135 E. 22nd Street in New York City
Gallery hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. 
Gallery contact info: (646) 660-6653,

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The gallery is free and open to the public.

Current Exhibition

Pedagogy of the Streets: Porto 1977

Image: Elvira Letie, Untitled, 1977. Original Vintage C-type print. Courtesy of the artist. 



NEW YORK, NY – March 5, 2019 — Baruch College’s Mishkin Gallery presents the exhibition Pedagogy of the Streets:  Porto 1977, showcases photographs by artist Elvira Leite that reflect various phases of her 1977 collaboration with the children of Porto’s Pena Ventosa community. During a time of energized social upheaval following Portugal’s Carnation Revolution, public space was ripe for reimaging—access to spaces that were previously restricted were now available. Elvira Leite and the Pena Ventosa community took charge of this moment by initiating spontaneous art programs throughout city streets.

The images reveal children’s attitudes towards public space and the development of experimental teaching methodologies that resonated throughout Leite’s life. Before “social practice” became a popular term in art circles, Leite was developing a form of artistic engagement that emmeshed social discourse, civic engagement and aesthetic play all together.

The free exhibition will run from Thursday, March 14 to Thursday, May 9, 2019. The opening reception takes place on Wednesday, March 13 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

This exhibition also includes archival materials from Portugal’s Serviço de Apoio Ambulatório Local (SAAL, or Service for Local Mobile Support). In the early 1970s, Portugal faced a dramatic housing shortage that partially triggered the 1974 revolution. One of the first measures implemented by the new government was establishing an alternative housing policy, the SAAL, which promoted collective processes of design, construction, and management. Although short-lived, the SAAL program emphasized the socialization of housing, shunning individual endeavors and encouraging collectivity. Many artists, including Leite, were inspired by the hope of creating better living conditions while maintaining strong ties to their community.
For a brief but explosively creative year after the dissolution of SAAL, the streets of Porto—long regarded as an unsanitary working-class neighborhood in the city center—became a place for art, participation, and discourse for and by children. Part of this unique moment, Leite’s project encouraged the children of Pena Ventosa to participate in their communities by integrating their personal interests with their surroundings. The results were a new sense of pride, agency, and affirmation through art. 



Pedagogy of the Streets: Porto 1977 is based on the exhibition Quem te ensinou?—ninguém curated by Lúcia Almeida Matos and Susana Lourenço Marques and presented at Faculdade de Belas Artes da Universidade do Porto in 2016. The exhibition is supported by the University of Porto, by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, and by Baruch College and the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences.