LA PLAYA DE PONCE HOUSE OF ART & CULTURE
A Community Cultural Project & National/International Exchange Program for Artists-in-Residence
La Playa de Ponce House of Art & Culture (PPHAC) is the planned base of operations under development by artist Diógenes Ballester as part of a national and international cultural exchange and community integration program for artists. Begun in 2010 in the Pónce suburb of El Callejón del Tiro near La Playa de Pónce (Pónce Beach), the PBHAC will be located just minutes from downtown Pónce, Puerto Rico's second largest city and home to the world-renowned Museo de Arte de Pónce and other institutions of socio-cultural significance. This project has been funded entirely by the artist and his wife and represents a lifetime commitment to the arts.
The PPHAC represents the first initiative of its kind in Puerto Rico. Different from similar projects in other countries, PPHAC's artists-in-residence program will not simply serve as host to participants, but actively work to integrate them into the wider regional and national community through various activities. PPHAC's objectives will include strengthening promotion of culture and the arts in general with a special focus on Pónce and the southern region of Puerto Rico in particular as the nation's principal producer and sponsor of art. The project will seek to not only explore and expand the cultural possibilities for Pónce, but also work toward improving the social and economic quality of life of its citizens.
The PPHAC will provide residential and work space (24 sq. feet each) for two participants at any given time. A spacious courtyard will serve as an amphitheatre for cutlural events. A second-floor lounge overlooking the sea will provide additional space for other events and activities designed to support the artists-in-residence and their work. Additional onsite facilities will include internet access and other innovative forms of new media communication in the service of art.
TWO BY TWO: THE PROGRAM
Designed to accommodate two international and national artists and/or cultural workers at a time, interested applicants may request to be invited to participate in the program for a minimum of one month to a maximum of three months. Thus, the program can potentially serve as many as 24 participants in any given year.
In addition to producing work, participants will have the opportunity to exhibit their work at local and nationally promoted events and online in the virtual Gallery of Diogenes Ballester Studio, LLC. Reciprocally, PPHAC participants, whenever possible, agree to:
- provide workshops to school and university students
- offer demonstrations of techniques of artistic preparation
- host talks and conferences on general or specialized topics of interest
- serve and collaborate informally as mentors to local artists and those who work in the cultural and civic spheres
- contribute to permanent projects such as murals and other public works of educational value
The project also envisions a mutually rewarding relationship between participants and the local community, with local residents, known well for their warm hospitality, extending invitations to PPHAC participants to visit and share their stories and cultural experiences.
INSTITUTIONS WHO HAVE ALREADY EXPRESSED INTEREST
- School of fine arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States
- The Guanlan Print Base Industry, International Print Village, Guanlan, China
- Museo de Arte de Pónce, Puerto Rico
- Taller Boricua, New York, United States
- Diaspora Now, New York and Barbados
HOLISTIC SERVICES AVAILABLE AT THE PBHAC
Coordinated and/or conducted by Diógenes Ballester himself; the psychologist Mary Katherine Bonchèr, PLLC; participating artists and other guests, some of the hollistic services that will be made available to participants include:
Workshops (open or closed to the public)
- Art Criticism
- Encaustic Painting
- Printmaking, Traditional and Contemporary Methods
- Environmental Graphic Design
- Food for health
- Individual and Group Meditation
- Technical T'ai chi ch'uan and Chi Qong
- Presentation of artistic cinema and independent filmmakers
- Poetry Readings
- Counseling Services
As the program develops, its links with institutions and the greater community will offer ever-expanding possibilities. The artist residents will serve as cultural ambassadors creating national and international links between their countries of origin and the city of Pónce, the Southern Region and Puerto Rico at large.