In 2020 OBRAS-Portugal was closed for some time due to Corona, but it re-opened in 2021 in a new Normal. See our COVID page for an update and more info.
OBRAS is a Portuguese word and means “work in progress”. General aim of Foundation OBRAS is to provide space, support and hospitality necessary for effective working on art and science. We look forward hosting you at OBRAS. We hope that you will feel released from ongoing business, family concerns, and consumerism. You may enjoy the full focus on your art work, find paths that lead to unexpected fields, or lead to nowhere but still make sense.
We give you space for working and living, we very much respect your privacy and personal wishes. To make your residency productive is first of all your responsibility. You have your private apartment and if you wish your own studio. Feel free to rearrange the furniture in your apartment, to take paintings off the wall and so on. And consider working in nature. Lots of possibilities exist to create land art around the house and in wider surroundings. But there is also space for interaction. If you want you can ask for feedback and discuss your work with other residents or with us. Twice per week we have an informal artist talk combined with shared dinner and about once every two months we organize an “open atelier”. For our residents we organize on prestigious locations solo exhibitions (two or three per year) and incidentally other cultural events such as concerts or theater events. This generally takes a year for scheduling and organization.
In your application you define a project or goal for your residency and summarize your professional achievements. Within three weeks we let you know whether we can invite you. Criteria for acceptation are: artistic quality; professionalism; our estimate that we can meet your expectations; and that your residency will not be in conflict with other simultaneous residencies. We will visit your website to get more background information.
Arrival and Welcome If you fly to Lisbon generally most efficient is to take the express bus from Sete Rios to Estremoz (2 hrs 15 mins) and we will pick you up from the bus station. We can stop on the way to your residency at a supermarket, or go directly to the Center. If you do not want to be dependent of us you better rent a car at Lisbon Airport.
The day after your arrival we arrange a meeting with you to set some practical things (copy your passport, two telephone numbers of relatives who we can call in case of emergency, payment of your residency and so on) and to show you the buildings and direct surroundings, to explain the recycling and talk about your project and expectations).
Artists materials We have basic equipment such as easels, marble sculpting tools and some building materials. Some semi-professional materials (such as paper and semi-professional paints) can be bought in Estremoz. Professional artist materials can be bought in Évora at a shop in the Arts Department of Evora University, although their assortment is not unlimited. You can also order online. We have good experiences with Ponto das Artes. They are fast, relatively cheap and their products are good. Check www.pontodasartes.com for ordering or contacting. They speak English. Tel: +351 21 431 4830 Fax: +351 21 431 2166. Of course you can also send materials send in advance by post. For packages from outside the EU the customs service can cause considerable delay and extra costs due to import tax. Sometimes it requests a buyer’s receipt. The quality of the regional marble is highly valued by sculptors. You can collect it for free around the quarries. Cork is a regional product with artistic potential as well. It is striped from the bark in summer and stored and manufactured in factories in the region. We have a good quality, tuned piano, several flutes, two acoustic guitars a cajon, and some other instruments that are more suitable for social occasions.
Rural life and local transport If you are used living in big cities you may experience both the advantages and limitations of the countryside. Advantages are, for instance, that nature starts at your door step. You can take fantastic nature walks and make herbal tea from the plants of our garden. The nights are incredibly silent with a sky full of stardust. But if you have no car, there are limitations as well: the nearest super market is 4 km away. We have a bus stop in front of our gate for the nearby towns (Estremoz and Évora). But the bus stops only 4 times a day and not in the weekend. An active urban life is at a distance of 13 km (Estremoz) or 35 km (Évora). From there many good connections exist to other towns in Portugal and Spain. To order a taxi, or in some cases to ask one of our friends to drive you for a reasonable prices, are other options. About twice a week we go to Estremoz or Évora for shopping. You can join us for free or give us your shopping list. Also when we go to concerts, exhibitions or other cultural events you can join us for free. Of course, in case of emergency we are always and with no limitation ready for transport. Medical facilities are in Estremoz (First Aid, 24 hrs service) and Évora (University hospital).
Outside temperature This part of the country has a continental climate with some oceanic influence. From April until June and in September and October the temperature is very mild (20-30 oC). In August the days can be hot (30-40 oC), but the swimming pool is nearby and nights generally remain cool (15-23 oC).
Room temperature The house has very thick stone walls (up to 1 m). Therefore it remains cool even on the hottest days of the year. On those days it is important to keep the door closed in the hottest hours and to open it in the coolest hours of the night (the door has a mosquito net). There is a ventilator available but no air conditioning. The room temperature is regarded as pleasant by virtually all our guests. Nevertheless, if you cannot cope with the summer heat, better not choose for a residency in August. And if you need an apartment with a temperature that is constantly higher than 20 oC, better choose May, June, September or October. When you need heating (may be in April or October during the night), you can use the stone heater.
Meals Your apartment has basic equipment such as cooking plate, microwave, pots and pans and so on, to prepare your own meals. If you want to use our oven once in a while: just ask us. The tap water is of high quality, has a good taste and is sterilized with an UV lamp. Once in a while we have the drinking quality of the water tested by a certified laboratory. Twice a week we organize a shared diner (where everybody brings something to eat and to drink).
Internet and phone Several places of the house are in the reach of a router for WIFI, including the internet room and the piano room. But of all apartments only one has internet. For your cell phone check in your country which provider you need in Portugal. Alternatively, consider buying a mobile phone in Portugal or a Portuguese sim card (10 €). We have a landline in our private residence of the house that you can use in an emergency.
Solving problems, night silence and non-smoking In case of emergency, we are always available to help solve your problems. For issues with less urgency: try to collect them until a moment that is convenient for us, preferably 10am-1pm. After 10 pm, please keep noise to a minimum in the main house and on the terraces and restrict noisy activities to the working studios. Or have your meeting at the pool. Smoking inside the buildings is not allowed. In summer, smokers should use caution to prevent fires related to smoking outside.
Insurance You must have an international medical insurance and a third party insurance. The Center does not accept legal responsibility.
Rates (2022) The duration of your residency will generally be between one and two months. The rate for renting an apartment is 100 € per week. For a couple this is 185 €. Couples must apply individually. If you can only stay shorter than three weeks: contact us for possibilities (the rates will be higher). We will do all we can to cause no surprises on the costs. If we offer anything that has its price we tell you in advance.
In April and in the end of October sometimes heating may be needed in the evening. You pay for what you use and the heater has a counter. This is generally not more than 3.50 € per day.
If you rent a working studio (atelier) in addition to your apartment 25 € per week will be charged.
We also have two beautiful and spacious cottages: Casa Vicente and Casa Miradouro. Casa Vicente includes a studio: the rates are 150 € for one person and 235 € for a couple. The rates for Casa Miradouro are 125 € for one person and 210 € for a couple.
We have a laundry washing machine (7kg). You can make use of it for 3.50 € a time.
You keep your apartment clean yourself. At the end of your stay we expect you to leave your apartment as clean as it was when you arrived. If at departure you prefer not to clean your apartment yourself, we can do this for you for 25 € For Casa Miradouro and Casa Vicente it is 30 €.
If you rent a car you may be eligible for a modest discount (because you will not be using our transport service). Ask the board for more info.
Non-artist guests accompanying residents are welcome but pay a higher rate. Ask the board for rates and availability. Your rent must be paid in the first days of arrival.
To conclude your reservation you may be requested to pay a deposit: 120 €. Your deposit will be subtracted from your bill at the end of your stay. If your cancellation is longer than 4 months in advance we return your deposit.
If your plans change, let us know in time. For us this makes the difference between endless waiting and simple logistical re-adjustments.
OBRAS accepts direct payment, bank transfers (see below) and Paypal. OBRAS does not have credit card facilities. You will get an official invoice for all payments.
Foundation OBRAS is registered in The Netherlands under the name Stichting OBRAS, (Nieuweweg 31, 6871 CA Renkum, The Netherlands)
The bank of Stichting OBRAS is: ING Bank The bank account is: IBAN: NL23INGB0009353219 BIC (= Swift Code): INGBNL2A
Do not hesitate to contact us should have questions or require more details.
We look forward hosting you, Ludger van der Eerden, Carolien van der Laan