Madeira, the flower island, popular with British pensioners, has gardens, volcanic scenery and a visible artistic community. The town of Funchal encourages public art and there are hideous sculptures along the marina promenade. Much more interesting is Arte Portas Abertas, the art of open doors, a recent initiative by Martinho Mendes in which residents of Funchal old town, along the Rua Santa Maria, have been encouraged to make their front doors into art works.
Martinho’s idea was taken up by João Carlos Abreu, former Secretary of Tourism, and supported by the Funchal chamber of commerce, who donated paint. “Thus began the task of bringing new life to the gates of this historic part of Funchal”, says Martinho.
The first door was painted by Mark Milewski in April 2011. There are now a hundred painted doors in the Rua Santa Maria and others in the Rua dos Barreiros, Travessa das Torres, Travessa João Caetano, Rua Portão São Tiago, Calçada do Socorro and the Rua do Corpo Santo.