I recently had the pleasure of visiting Puerto Rico and traveling to various islands in the Caribbean on a family vacation this summer. It was a wonderful trip, filled with all the expected highlights one would expect such as sun, sand, beach, sightseeing, and adventure. But I didn't expect to see some incredible artwork during my time in Puerto Rico and on my cruise vacation.
I should note that by no means is this blog article a complete and accurate picture of the art of Puerto Rico or Curaçao. The following are just a few of the things I came across that struck my eye. In Puerto Rico, I did not have the chance to visit the Puerto Rico Museum of Art http://www.mapr.org/es or the San Juan Museum http://sanjuanciudadpatria.com/en/services/arts-culture-and-innovation/san-juan-museum/sanjuanciudadpatria.com/en/services/arts-culture-and-innovation/san-juan-museum/
What I discovered weren't major art installations in world-renowned art museums, or famous public art, but rather art that really captured the flavor of the local area.
After my visit to the Curaçao Museum, I took a walk near the water to get into the main shopping area. Along the water in Curaçao, is the famous floating pontoon bridge. This public artwork by Frank Van Der Loo was placed along the water near the pontoon bridge's entrance. Although the coloring of the artwork was faded (especially apparent from the real-life view across the water of the characteristically vibrantly-colored buildings), I really liked this mural. It reminded me of the mosaic shapes I use in my personal artwork. Especially the mosaic-like shapes shown in the sky and in the lower portion of the mural.
In Curaçao, I came across a storefront that is operated by the Art Foundation Curaçao. They teach classes and provide art programs for at-risk youth. Art Foundation Curaçao is a non-profit organization founded based on the idea that people of Curaçao are creative and talented and that Curaçao has all the ingredients to become an art destination.
On sale in the gallery were "Curaçao Cubes" created by local children in foster homes in a workshop titled "Big Power of Small Blocks." The proceeds from the sale of the approximately 4"x4" painted wood blocks go back to the foster homes for more free art classes.
One of its projects is the Plein Air Curaçao. Plein Air painting is a painting created in the open air; a form of rapid painting with the start and ending of a painting usually in one session of about 2-3 hours. Natural light changes over time, so the quick nature of painting with broad strokes creates impressions of reality as seen through the eyes of the artist.
Plein Air Curaçao is a bi-annual international art festival. For more information, please visit www.pleinaircuracao.com.
Not far from there was the Jewish Cultural Historical Museum, adjacent to the Mikve Israel-Emanuel (the oldest Synagogue in continuous use in the Western Hemisphere, The museum housed numerous Jewish ritual objects as well as information about Dutch Jewry and the Jewish community of Curaçao. For more information, please visit: http://www.snoa.com/museum
I should mention the Cruise ship's art galleries and the on-board art auctions that are common on all the major cruise-lines. The art auctions were operated by Park West and all I care to say about this is that I found this online article that I found to be an accurate representation of my experience on the ship. Although I did not purchase any artwork from Park West on the ship, I did find it to be a fascinating experience interacting with their staff, viewing their artwork, and participating in their on-board auction champagne reception event.
That said, the cruise was wonderful and all the artwork I saw on this trip was amazing. I highly recommend visiting Curaçao and I welcome your comments!
PS: If you liked this article, you might like these other articles on my artistic travels:
Los Angeles, California
New York City
New York City Street Art
Napa Valley, California
Park City, Utah
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