Local Art Experts Visit The University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez

By: Joaquin Palerm

A news conference covering the local art scenery took place on October 16, 2014 in the Chardón building, featuring arts profesor Baruch Vergara, Ballet Escenario teacher Lorraine Rodríguez and ballet dancer Andrea Méndez. The news conference took flight very quickly, and focused on how the arts are hard to promote in Mayagüez. The panelist found ground in one idea.

“We have to adapt to what is going on now if we want to attract the attention of today’s generation,” Lorraine Rodríguez said. It may be hard, but young people can be lured into the arts, she stressed.

The other panelists agreed they found it important for the arts to evolve just as humans do in order to reach more people. “The arts can’t be announced electronically or with a flyer, that won’t work; what does work is an artists’ personal invitation, we have to get out there,” said Lorraine Rodríguez. Prof. Vergara agreed and added that it is for his own art students to promote themselves because of lack of time, and how the expositions are not successful.

Prof. Vergara assured how sometimes the problem is the word “art.” “A lot of times people ignore an invitation or an event because its ‘art’, just because it’s art it does not mean it’s less, it does not mean it’s less intense or entertaining. People must learn what art is,” said Prof. Vergara. Lorraine Rodríguez and Andrea Méndez agreed that people are not familiarized with the many types of arts that exist. “Dance is a form of art,” Lorraine Rodríguez said confidently.

Conference organizers pose with the panelists: Prof. Vergara (front row left), Lorraine Rodríguez (front row middle), and Andrea Méndez (front row right)

Conference organizers pose with the panelists: Prof. Vergara (front row left), Lorraine Rodríguez (front row middle), and Andrea Méndez (front row right)

“I see dancing as a way of escaping…when I have a lot of things to do and I feel stressed, that’s when I dance the most,” said Andrea Méndez, for whom dancing is a form of expressing what one feels. Lorraine Rodríguez added that “It’s incredible how with just a danced extension of my hand I can make you cry.” Prof. Vergara continued by assuring that art is an escape route for human feelings and that anyone can be successful if properly guided. Guiding someone can start by envolving the artist in more events.

The public transportation of Puerto Rico, “La AMA” (La Autoridad Metropolitana de Autobuses), began a project that involved art students from The University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez. This activity permits the artists to expose his talents; events like this are the ones that the panelists would like to encourage. Events like this foment an artists’ skills and gives them experience.

Another project that is taking art into peoples’ faces, as suggested by panelist Lorraine Rodríguez, is “Clase Artística,” a workshop provided by Marilis Aveillez Larrache in her own home, where plastic arts are taught at all levels with the purpose of sharpening skills and exposing possible prospects. Her classes are offered to people of all ages, which was a point talked about during the conference by panelist Lorraine Rodríguez.

The one critical key for achieving art greatness is passion. “What might be art for you, might not be art for someone else, but at the end it’s all art, and we should learn to appreciate all art skills,” concluded Prof. Vergara. Lorraine Rodríguez added that art can be found everywhere at anytime. “I managed to combine my studies with my passion for ballet, both have taught me how to organize my time. Even chemistry has helped me in my art form.”


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