From the Field

Puerto Rico Art Museums Form Historic Alliance

February 10, 2022

Two Puerto Rico art museums, Museo de Arte de Ponce and Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, have signed an agreement formalizing an historic alliance between the two institutions, which will last two years.

This agreement takes place in the context of the closure of the galleries of the Museo de Arte de Ponce, due to the reconstruction work of the Museum’s Edward Durell Stone building, after the damages caused by major earthquakes in January 2020.

“At the Museo de Arte de Ponce we always take on challenges with courage and creativity,” the President of the Board of Trustees, María Luisa Ferré Rangel, said. “This time it will be no different…Having a gallery in the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico until 2024 will also be an opportunity for both museums to work on joint educational programming that will benefit all the populations we serve, especially those disadvantaged communities for whom art is a vehicle of inspiration.”
“The possibilities that this alliance opens, in the short and long term, demonstrate the commitment we have to guarantee access to the cultural and artistic heritage that our island houses,” said Juan Antonio Larrea, president of the Board of Trustees of the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico.

The first exhibition that is part of this collaboration is entitled The Museo de Arte de Ponce at the MAPR: Victorian Art, which opened to the public on January 23, and features the iconic work Flaming June (1895), by Frederic Leighton (pictured above). Acquired by Don Luis A. Ferré, founder of the Museo de Arte de Ponce, in the 1960s, this painting is considered a masterpiece of Victorian art.

The director of Museo de Arte de Ponce, Cheryl Hartup, was very enthusiastic about the collaboration and expressed that "this union between both museums is an example of the commitment, solidarity and generosity of our host Museum in providing collaborative spaces that continue to foster the interest of the Puerto Rican community and foreign visitors in our artistic heritage and allows us to continue providing access to our important collection.” Hartup added that this is the first in a series of collaborations with prestigious local and US institutions to keep the museum's collection alive and accessible to local and international audiences until reconstruction is complete.

“In the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico we have characterized ourselves by maintaining links with the cultural institutions of the country, as well as by keeping our doors open for them,” director Marta Mabel Pérez noted. “In times of challenges for all, we are certainly pleased to support the continuity of the Museo de Arte de Ponce program from our headquarters in Santurce and the joint mission of both institutions to make art from Puerto Rico and the world accessible.”

A multidisciplinary creative workshop aimed at the general public, entitled Victorian Easel Art, was incorporated into the opening day of the Victorian Art exhibition. The workshop, led by the Pedagogías Creativas group from the Center for Educational Innovation of the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, explored the techniques of collage and mixed media.

“We know that museums become stronger when they come together, and our responsibility is to be generous in providing access to our programs and resources. Puerto Rico will be able to enjoy a cultural banquet when they visit us,” added Larrea.

Image: María Luisa Ferré Rangel with curator, Helena Gómez De Córdoba, Marta Mabel Pérez, Cheryl Hartup and Juan Carlos López, Curator of MAPR, looking at the iconic “Flaming June” (1895), of Frederic Leighton. Photo: Joe Colón / Museo de Arte de Ponce