Cultural Events: Not Quite Dead

By: Emmanuel Muñoz Crespo

Five panelists came together in a press conference on October 20th to talk about the progress of cultural life in Mayagüez.

Panelist included Mr. José García Ressy, local ballet teacher Mrs. Nana Badrena, University of Puerto Rico alumni Amil Yafet Oritiz, Mayagüez town representative Mrs. Olga Lopez and UPRM student Wilfredo Guilloty. The press conference was held in in Chardón 325 on October 20, 2014.

All five panelist were individually presented and the press conference started by asking each member to share their definition of art.  Mr. García was the first to define and the rest of the panelist followed. Some questions were asked individually, but an open question caused a little commotion between members. After being asked “why should there be more activities like this in a town such as Mayagüez?” and panelists expressed their opinion, a debate started among representatives.

“It’s important because right now we don’t have any cultural activities on the west side, most things are centered in the metropolitan area” Wilfredo Guilloty expressed. On the other side of the table Mrs. Badrena and Mrs. Lopez quickly disagreed. They mentioned how music festivals and art appreciation events have been going on for years and the problem might be that young people don’t really look for this type of information. Due to these causes they never find out that these types of events are indeed still going on.

In recent years, Mayagüez and other nearby cities have hosted numerous cultural events. An example might be the event known as ‘Noches de Galería en Plaza Colón’, which was last celebrated in 2012.  This activity consisted of a night under the stars with the presence of various artists, craftsman and crafts woman, and jazz players. Lopez confirmed that this would be returning on a regular basis in 2015.

Amil Ortiz agreed that promotion is the best tactic to reach students. “Once your (cultural) event is being recognized and people know about your activity, the will  start showing up. You can’t use the same tactic as before because it will not always be effective,” Ortiz who is involved with the association Taller Artístico Creativo Universitario (TACU), said. He made it clear there are many expositions and events that take place locally, but it is up to the students to fully keep up to date with these activities. A recent activity that Oritz participated was in Arte en la Plaza.

On Thursday, October 23, students at University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez celebrated the anniversary of their original event titled “Arte en la Placita” on the city’s own plaza. This event included live singing, painting expositions and open mic so everyone had a chance to recite a special poem or story. Usually this is done monthly at the Placita de Celis right here in our campus. To make it a memorable event they decided to shift the activities somewhere more spacious to commemorate the anniversary.

The last question asked was how they predict the cultural appreciation in citizens from here to ten years. Answers varied from globalization to technology taking over. Panelists mentioned that they hope art and dance will still be relevant in those years.


The panelists with students moments after the conclusion of press conference. From left to right: Olga Lopez, Alexa Nazario, Nana Badrena, Gladimar Ross, Melissa Padilla, Amil Ortiz, Emmanuel Muñoz, Wilfredo Guilloty, Yelitza Seda and José García.

“We must face challenges that will arise in future years and adapt to change and use it to our advantage” said José García.


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