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PuertoRicoWOW News Service

MAPR Takes Art Into The Community

By Melissa B. Gonzalez

February 19, 2001
Copyright © 2001 PuertoRicoWOW News Service. All Rights Reserved.

The Museum of Art of Puerto Rico (MAPR) isn't content with being the keeper of priceless collections of art, it wants to promote art as a tool for students to understand any discipline.

"You can study a work of art from a mathematical and scientific perspectives, or you can use art to make sociological studies," said MAPR Education Director Doreen Colon, adding that every piece of art has a history, a technique, and a method behind it that makes it very useful to teach any subject in the classroom.

"If you take a contemporary art piece with geometric forms, for example, you can study the cube, the triangle, different geometric figures that the artist uses as an image but that can also be used in mathematics. In other words, art becomes a perfect excuse to learn mathematics," said Colon.

To help lower the rate of school dropouts, Colon said museum officials have scheduled a meeting next month with Education Secretary Cesar Rey to see how the public agency and the museum can mutually benefit from promoting the use of the MAPR's facilities. The goal is to help and encourage teachers from all disciplines to make their lectures more appealing to students through art.

The MAPR is equipped with several conference rooms, classrooms, and a computer room where private courses in art techniques like painting, calligraphy, drawing, graphic design, and computers are offered. The 10-week courses are available Wednesdays through Saturdays to both children and adults ranging from $100 to $125 in price.

However, Colon said she would like for these courses to also be offered to public schools and perhaps even be offered as credit courses for college students.

In the meantime, the museum already has several programs aimed at drawing students and the community a little closer to art.

One of the programs scheduled to begin Saturday is aimed at teaching a form of knitting lace known as "mundillo." The program is part of a more than $10,000 donation from Procter & Gamble to the museum's education program. It consists of a free 10-week-long course offered to two groups of 10 people previously chosen from schools and public housing residents who have voiced their interest in learning mundillo, according museum's Public Relations' Executive Georgina Vega.

Procter & Gamble will also sponsor free guided tours to the museum for two different public schools every month from February through July.

Another program designed for the community is Familiarte. The program offers guided tour of the museum to a group of 15 people every Sunday. It started Feb. 4 and it will go on for 30 weeks. Sponsored with a $25,000 donation from Citibank, the tours will also include a workshop in which local artists teach people of limited economic resources how to create a work of art using techniques and styles exhibited at the museum.

"Sometimes they get intimidated by the workshops, because they say they don't know anything about art. But once they realize that workshops are to have a good time, they relax, and some even turn out to be very talented," said Ines Torrech, one of the local artists teaching for Familiarte this month.

For her part, Colon said she hopes these and many other programs encourage the community to expand their cultural education and to become more interested in what the MAPR has to offer.

To learn more about the courses offered at the MAPR, call 977-6277, ext. 2245 and 2230.

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