In previous editions, The Portugal News published an article referring to the work and importance of Casa do Artista, using the voice of one of the residents, Helena Vieira, who asked the association for help in ensuring better living conditions during her retirement.
At the time, due to his schedule, José Raposo, director of Casa do Artista, could not be interviewed. However, the interview has now been carried out and one of the most recognised actors in Portugal explained not only the importance of Casa do Artista but also detailed the state of the cultural sector in Portugal.
Besides being the director of Casa do Artista, José Raposo is one of the most loved actors in Portugal, having experience not only in theatre and cinema, but also in Portuguese soap operas and even giving voice to some of the most famous cartoon characters, such as Pumba in the Portuguese version of the Disney classic “The Lion King”.
In Casa do Artista live the people who inspired José Raposo and who taught him to grow as an actor. At the Senior Residence, there are “professionals that the public recognises, but there are also people who have worked behind the scenes for a lifetime” who helped make the shows happen, as they have an essential role when it comes to performative arts.
According to José Raposo, “workers in the area of culture in Portugal” are mostly “poorly paid”, which means that at a certain age, for example, actors no longer have a job, which results in economic difficulties. As such, several artists seek the services of Casa do Artista "so they can live in a place where they feel accompanied", where they can enjoy health care, but mainly looking for a place where they can live "with dignity, in a place which is guided by affections and the celebration of life.”
The actor describes the work of Casa do Artista as "a very important work of social support for professionals in the arts." In addition to facing the precariousness experienced by the sector, caused by the low income of professionals, the association also has the "responsibility for preserving the memory" of the cultural heritage of those who reside in the Casa do Artista, as well as regarding "training and the encouragement of artistic activity.” For this reason, the Teatro Armando Cortez, the Centro de Formação and the Galeria Raul Solnado end up being very important structures for culture in Portugal. José Raposo adds that he would like to see Casa do Artista be considered "as a cultural hub that connects generations of artists."
Casa do Artista works as an IPSS, as such receives “social security support”, as José Raposo revealed to The Portugal News. However, it also has a protocol with the Lisbon City Council and, more recently, in July, a protocol was signed directly with the Ministry of Culture. There are protocols with other associations such as Santa Casa da Misericórdia, Cruz Vermelha, the Amália Rodrigues Foundation and with Prooptica. José Raposo also says that Casa do Artista has been working “both with public and private entities” to guarantee the financial sustainability of the institution. In addition to the support of the before mentioned entities, Casa do Artista also counts on the value of fees paid by its members, which according to José Raposo are “an important source of income.”
Like Helena Vieira, José Raposo also believes that “a country without culture does not exist.” He says that culture is essential, but that in Portugal “there is still a long way to go”, to give the sector the deserved recognition. José Raposo promises that he will continue “to work for the public” while remaining committed to the “project of love that Casa do Artista represents.”