Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico

Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (MAPR),
south entrance

On a recent trip to Puerto Rico, I had the pleasure of visiting an impressive cultural institution, Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (MAPR).  MAPR is located in the historic city of San Juan, a city whose cobblestone roads and colorful structures are reminiscent of 16th and 17th century Spanish architecture.

Sculpture garden, MAPR
MAPR, one of the largest museums in the Caribbean, is a 5 story facility with multiple galleries, including a student exhibition gallery, children's interactive gallery and research center.  Committed to providing museum visitors with a rich, enlightening cultural experience, MAPR offers a community outreach program, educational programs, permanent and traveling exhibitions, art workshops, tours, a theater, restaurant and museum shop.  Visitors are also invited to walk through the museum's sculpture garden which is filled with a variety of the island's flora.

Bronze Sculpture,
Angel Botello Barros
The museum's mission is "to promote and preserve the patrimony of the island's generations of artists" (MAPR, 2012).  As such, Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico houses an extensive permanent collection which includes works of art by Puerto Rico's significant artists such as Manuel Garcia (below) and Jose Campeche y Jordan.  Jordan (1751-1809), critically acclaimed internationally, is the island's first major painter. He was best known for  his religious themed paintings; however, he was also a extraordinary portraitist.  

One piece that really captured my attention during my stroll through the museum's sculpture garden, was a large bronze sculpture by Angel Botello Barros (left).  A very prolific artist, Botello (1913-1986) was both a painter and a sculptor.  His dedication to his art was so great that he worked until the end of his life, completing more than 20 sculptures during his last year of life alone.

I found that Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico successfully utilizes new museum theories.  It serves to both educate about and celebrate Puerto Rican art and artists.  Museum visitors are encouraged to observe, interpret and form unique opinions about exhibited works of art.  Helpful pamphlets are available that instruct visitors how to look at, evaluate and interpret works of art on their own.  Museo de Arte de Puerto also has interactive exhibits that provide visitors with a multi-sensory museum experience.  If you are ever in the San Juan, Puerto Rico area, this museum should definitely be on your itinerary.  To visit MAPR's website, click here.

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