Puerto Rico is made up of an extraordinary combination of cultures, and this unique blend is reflected in its vibrant art scene. The island’s rich history, beautiful landscapes, and diverse communities have inspired generations of artists, resulting in a wide range of art styles and forms. From traditional folk art to contemporary masterpieces, Puerto Rico has something for every art lover. Let’s explore some of the highlights of the island’s art scene!
Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico
The Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (Museum of Art of Puerto Rico) is a must-visit for anyone interested in Puerto Rican art. Located in San Juan’s Santurce neighborhood, the museum has an extensive collection of over 1,100 works of art, including paintings and sculptures. The museum’s permanent collection features works by some of Puerto Rico’s most celebrated artists, such as Francisco Oller, José Campeche, and Rafael Tufiño.
Museo de Arte y Diseño de Miramar
If you are an art enthusiast, The Museo de Arte y Diseño de Miramar (Museum of Art and Design in Miramar) is just perfect for you. Located in the Miramar neighborhood of San Juan, the museum showcases contemporary art and design from Puerto Rico and around the world. The museum’s extraordinary exhibitions change regularly, so there is always something new to see any time of the year. You can also find shops that sells unique handmade items, such as impressive jewelry, ceramics, and textiles.
Art Murals in Calle Cerra
Located in the Santurce neighborhood of San Juan, Calle Cerra is a vibrant street art destination. This modern street is known for its colorful murals, which cover the walls of buildings and alleyways. The legendary murals showcase a variety of colors, styles and themes, from abstract art to social and political expressions. Numerous of the murals have been created by local artists, who use the walls as a canvas to express their thoughts and feelings. Don’t forget to get your photo in front of the murals when you visit Puerto Rico for the perfect Instagram post!
Festivals in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is known for its lively island festivals, and many of these iconic celebrations feature art as a central theme. For example, Las Calles de San Sebastián Festival, held annually in January, features live music, food, and art vendors. The festival’s art exhibit showcases the works of the best local artists and artisans on island. They set up early morning to be able to greet everyone upon arrival, from locals to tourists; while captivating them with their art. Many times, this type of art reflects the pride of being Puerto Rican through is elements, shapes and colors. You will definitely see the Puerto Rican flag adorning numerous of these pieces for a very local experience!
Old World Grandeur Combined with Modern Art in Fairmont El San Juan Hotel
Fairmont El San Juan Hotel is an iconic landmark in San Juan, known for its Old World grandeur and modern amenities. The hotel also plans several art activities throughout at the year such as the Sip and Paint for World Art Day, where attendees hve the opportunity to paint the beautiful island sunset at El San Juan Beach Club using the official Pantone color, Puerto Rico Sunshine, created by Discover Puerto Rico under the initiative Sunshine to Spare.
Art has been also portrayed in every corner of the hotel, since its beginnings. It all started on 1961, under the direction of Morris Lapidus, renowned architect of the legendary Fontainebleau and Eden Roc resorts in Miami Beach, as well as the El Conquistador in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.
Alan Lanigan was the interior designer in charge of the property. His vision consisted on “creating an ambiance with architectural details and workmanship that could not be found elsewhere in the world.” He traveled the world searching for materials and artifacts for the hotel. He spent two months in Italy’s Montecatini quarry, where he carefully matched the Terracotta and rose-colored Carrara marble that graces the spectacular floor and walls of the famed Lobby, the crowning jewel of Fairmont El San Juan Hotel. Lanigan also imported Cherry Mahogany from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic for the wooden arches and ceiling, which were intricately hand carved on-site by Jose Laguna, an artisan from Spain, and a team of 15 Puerto Rican artisans. Guests can observe these extraordinary results on the ornamental carved mahogany that covers the lobby ceilings and columns of the hotel, the Foxwoods El San Juan Casino, and the vaulted arches over the registration and front desk areas.
A Large Room
The signature icon of the elegant Lobby is the oval shape grand chandelier, unique in the world. Hand-blown in Czechoslovakia, this piece of art weighs 4,000 pounds, has 185 lightbulbs and 7,000 pieces of crystal; it is the third largest Czech crystal chandelier in the world. Other famed statement pieces hang in Milan’s La Scala, in Versailles, and in the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. Its delicate strands of Czech gem monogram carved crystal look like silk fringe. The chandelier is legendary in Puerto Rico and strongly associated with the unforgettable moments spent at Fairmont El San Juan Hotel. Lanigan traveled through Europe, the Orient, Africa, and Mexico. He brought back doors, balustrades, decorative tiles, antique French tapestries, beautiful sculptures, porcelains, paintings and other art and artifacts.
In 2016, a special project led by the award-winning design studio, Jeffrey Beers International took place. They titled the entire artistic concept of the design as “Lights & Shadows: A world of Contrast.” It was inspired by the idea that Fairmont El San Juan Hotel is a private enclave where opposites co-exist seamlessly, dark and light. The elements were layered in beautiful historical details bringing back the original grandeur, while the harmonious flow between the inside and the outside gave an easy and relaxing feel to the exclusive resort. While tones of blue inspired by the cobblestones in Old San Juan, connected the new design to the Puerto Rican culture. The vision was to reignite the restored Fairmont El San Juan Hotel as the place to be, all day and night, and to reflect San Juan’s rich culture of art, music and dance through fashion-inspired patterns and bold notes of color.
A Room Filled With Furniture And A Large Window
In conclusion, Puerto Rico’s art scene is a vibrant and dynamic combination of cultures, styles, and themes. From traditional folk art to contemporary masterpieces, there is something for every art lover on the island. Whether you are exploring museums, visitn hotels, admiring street art, or attending island festivals, Puerto Rico is a feast for the senses.