Fernanda Virmond's photo

Fernanda Virmond's photo is one of the 29 images featured in the "Brazilian Eyes" exhibition, running from May 1 to 7 at the Artblend gallery in Fort Lauderdale. (Fernanda Virmond / Courtesy / April 30, 2014)

Jade Matarazzo got into photography in order to get out of cooking.

"I had to choose between those two classes, and I was like, 'OK, I'm going to take photography,'" recalls Matarazzo, who at the time was participating in a study-abroad program in Switzerland. "Until today, I am a terrible cook."

Photography became her passion. Besides working as a full-time photographer, Matarazzo, a resident of Weston originally from Brazil, promotes and opens doors to new immigrant artists in South Florida. Her next project is an exhibition of Brazilian photographers titled "Brazilian Eyes," which opens Thursday at Artblend, a gallery in Fort Lauderdale.

"It's hard for people who live abroad to promote their art away from their home country," Matarazzo says. "The idea is to encourage the art here, so the Americans can also see this art."


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Matarazzo received more than 200 entries, and settled for 29 works by Brazilian photographers who live or have lived outside the country. Most of the photographers currently live in the United States, but Matarazzo also accepted works by artists who live in Japan and England.

Fernanda Virmond, who lives in southern Brazil, couldn't believe when she had one of her three submissions picked. She traveled to South Florida especially for the exhibition, and hopes this can be a big step for her career.

"It has been very rewarding for me," Virmond says. "I want people to be able to feel like they are in that place, looking at what I photographed. I want them to transform and get emotional."

Matarazzo has also put together a book featuring all the photos from the exhibition. The book and the photos will be for sale during the show, which will run through Wednesday, May 7.

Artblend is located at 2736 E. Oakland Park Blvd., in Fort Lauderdale. Admission is free. Go to Artblend.com.

bduarte@sunsentinel.com, @babicorb and 954-356-4710