The studio originated in collaboration with the Museum Nise da Silveira, now the Museum Bispo do Rosario Contemporary Art , where a room for drawing and painting was made available to a small group of users.
In the 1990s occupational therapist Rita Bittencourt took on the role of coordinator to develop activities in the workshop. In 2002 the workshop was detached from the museum and acquired an independent space.
The goal of Atelier Gaia is to promote and nurture artistic production in people who have gone through intense psychological distress. Hence the process is therapeutic and not educational.
The space also functions as a gallery where artists are given the opportunity to sell their works.