The Pinacoteca de São Paulo is a museum of the visual arts with an emphasis on Brazilian art from the 19th century until today. Founded in 1905 by the Government of the State of Sao Paulo, belongs to the State Department of Culture and is the oldest art museum in the city. It is housed in the old building of Arts and Crafts School, designed at the end of the 19th century by the Ramos de Azevedo Architectural Office. By 1990s the building underwent a substantial refurbishment planned by architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha. The Pinacoteca original collection was formed by 26 works from what was then the State Museum, today Paulista Museum of the University of São Paulo. Pinacoteca spent its first 100 years gathering art works and has built up a significant collection that currently holds about 9,000 art works. It has gradually became also an contemporary art museum.
Pinacoteca presents about 30 exhibitions and receives approximately 500,000 visitors per year. The first floor receives temporary exhibitions and the second the long-term exhibition from the collection. The central area holds the Contemporary Art Octagon Project and on the ground floor are the technical facilities, the auditorium and the restaurant. Also on the second floor is the Tactile Gallery with 12 art works specially mounted so that visitors with visual handicaps can appreciate them independently, touching and obtaining information by means of labels and texts in braille, as well as with an audio guide.
On the ground floor there is an exhibition of Pinacoteca's history based on its Chronology and the art work from Victor Brecheret, called Via crucis, a group of 26 terracotta sculptures. The work developed by the Pinacoteca aims to improve public experiences with visual arts by studying, preserving and informing the public about its holdings, buildings and history, also by consolidating and increasing its collections and by encouraging artistic production.