Brazilian-American Cultural Institute Archives Find Home at UMD

Brazilian-American Cultural Institute, Washington D.C. (1964-2008)

Clovis Junior exhibit held at BACI in 2003


The Brazilian-American Cultural Institute (BACI) was a non-profit organization established to promote awareness in the United States about the music, art, and culture of Brazil.  It had a large art gallery, recital and lecture space, and an 8,000 volume bilingual library. BACI offered courses at all levels in Portuguese throughout its entire existence, and it also offered lessons in the samba and guitar.  Beyond these daily and weekly activities, BACI hosted hundreds of visiting artists, scholars and musicians, as well as organized educational trips to Brazil.  BACI also produced various publications over the years, including Portuguese textbooks.

The majority of the institute’s history unfolded under the leadership of Dr. José Neistein, who was appointed by the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1970 to promote Brazilian Culture in the U.S.  He served as the director of the institute until it closed in early 2008.  Although the institute generated income from its classes and art sales, it was forced to close when the government of Brazil discontinued funding.

In 2008 BACI generously donated their administrative records and hundreds of files on Brazilian artists and musicians to the Claire T. Carney Library Archives and Special Collections for use in conjunction with the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives.  The Claire T. Carney Library purchased the library of the institute, which is currently being added to the general library collections.  The archival records will be fully organized and processed within the next year or two, but are currently available for inspection with the assistance of the Archives and Special Collections Librarian.

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