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PuertoRicoWOW News Service

MAPR Invites People To Discover 'The Artist Within Themselves'

By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin

September 9, 2001
Copyright © 2001 PuertoRicoWOW News Service. All Rights Reserved.

As if the sole structure that harbors treasures of Puerto Rican art wasn't enough to lure the souls of Santurce residents constantly surrounded by worn down cement, the Museum of Art of Puerto Rico (MAPR) now possesses an interactive art gallery that promises to develop the appreciation of Puerto Rican culture, as well as the self esteem of island children and adults.

The Angel Ramos Foundation Activearte Gallery, inaugurated Thursday, began operations for the general public Saturday. Its design and construction cost $500,000. It has six modules containing games, computers, and interactive activities to enable children and adults to get acquainted with several art concepts and to even create their own works of art.

"This is a project with a progressive projection. The intention is to awake their desire to come back. It is aimed at children, students and teachers, and also at the Puerto Rican family to offer them an alternative for leisure combined with pleasure and learning," said Prof. Doreen Colon, director of the MAPR's Education Department.

The first exhibit at the gallery has been titled "The Artist Within Yourself" and contains works of local artists in the areas of photography, linoleum, wooden saints crafts, carnival masks, ceramic, sculpture, painting, posters and architecture.

"The labyrinth, the puzzles, the tower, the computers, all of these games are designed so that the child may enjoy the multi-sensorial experience that the gallery has to offer," explained Colon. "The idea is to transform such a pleasant experience into a memory that children may wish to repeat, because we have made them feel at home with themselves and with the works of art that they may create through the computer," she added.

The exhibited works are from renowned artists such as Hector Mendez Caratini, Rafael Tufiño, Miguel Caraballo, Florencio Caban, Jaime Suarez, Rafael Lopez del Campo, Luis Torruella, Luisa Geigel, Noemi Ruiz, Samuel Sanchez, Henry Klumb, Lorenzo Homar and Irene Delano.

Colon said such works are focused on Puerto Rican culture.

"An example of this is the black and white photography work of Caratinni, representing Castor Ayala, who was the backbone of the Ayala family that still is dedicated to highlighting and spreading the values of the Afro-Puerto Rican culture through music and the crafting of masks and the `vegigantes,'" she explained.

Designed by architect Stanley Tigerman, the development of the Activarte concept began in 1998 with the collaboration of Puerto Rican educators such as Dr. Annette Lopez, professor at the University of Puerto Rico Pedagogy Department; Dr. Ethel Rios de Betancourt, Development and Education consultant to the executive director of the museum, and Colon herself.

"Galeria Activarte Fundacion Angel Ramon will be a special and unique place in Puerto Rico and in the Caribbean where art becomes the reason for being of an interactive gallery for boys, girls, and for those who are young in spirit," said Colon.

Besides Activarte, the museum also offers to the general public specialized courses in art appreciation for children and adults. It also offers courses in computer literacy, computerized graphic design and film (acting, producing, and editing.)

The 10-week courses are offered on weekdays and weekends.

For more information on the courses, call 977-6277 ext. 2267 and ext. 2230 for scheduling guided tours for groups and schools.


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