The Museo de Arte de Ponce informs about the status of the reconstruction work of its facilities after the damages caused by the January earthquakes

The earthquakes that struck Puerto Rico in early January 2020 produced visible damage to the main building of the Museo de Arte de Ponce. These damages are mostly concentrated on the second floor of the original building and correspond mainly to cracks and spalling on the walls and sections of the decorative ceiling.

As we previously informed, from our extensive collection of approximately 4,500 objects, two seventeenth-century sculptures suffered repairable damage and are currently in the process of study and restoration in our Conservation Center. These are Portrait of Henri de la Tour D’Auvergne Turenne, a bronze bust by Jérôme Derbais, and Heraclito, a white marble bust by Orazio Marinali.

The rest of the collection is safe and properly stored. All the works that were displayed in the galleries at the time of the earthquakes, and especially those located on the second floor of the Museum, are being studied and if necessary, will undergo the proper conservation processes and treatments.

As required in these circumstances, the Museum launched its Emergency Recovery Process immediately after the events, which includes both safeguarding and evaluating our collection and building.

The process concerning the structural analysis has been carried out with all the care and seriousness that a case like this requires. A first report made by the local engineering firm CMA, warns that reopening the Museum to the public is not recommended and emphasizes the need to carry out a complete structural evaluation of the main building.

The Museo de Arte de Ponce hired the consulting services of Nabih Youssef Associates (NYA), a structural engineering firm from California whose specialization in seismic design places them among the world leaders in the field of earthquake engineering and design. It is important to clarify that, although NYA’s report has not yet concluded, its progress enables us to have a clearer idea of the reality that the Museo de Arte de Ponce is facing at the moment.

NYA’s analysis has been focused on the main building that houses the Museum’s galleries. This two-story building, inaugurated in 1965, is the work of architect Edward Durell Stone. The 3D models developed by NYA reveal that the current building’s resistance is entirely determined by the 1962-63 structural design and the building codes at the time. It is necessary to carry out a seismic retrofitting on the Durell Stone building, in order to guarantee the safety of the public, the staff, and the collection.

The project to mitigate the buildings seismic performance has not yet been fully defined, but we have enough information to determine that the reconstruction work will last approximately two years. During this time, the Durell Stone building, unfortunately, must remain closed to the public. However, Museo de Arte de Ponce will continue to be accessible to its community, just as it has since January, by strengthening its digital content and maintaining its ongoing community outreach efforts.

After the January earthquakes, the Museum created the initiative “El Museo sale a la calle” (The Museum goes out to the streets) to bring workshops to shelters and schools, reaching more than 1,400 people in seven municipalities from the Southwestern region of the island. A collection center was also established in the Museum premises, which gathered personal care and hygiene products, which aided approximately 70 families in the Municipality of Guayanilla.

When the Commonwealth issued an Executive Order for the control of the coronavirus pandemic in Puerto Rico, the Museo de Arte de Ponce set out to expand its digital platform through a series of projects that have fostered interaction with an audience of approximately 734,000 people since March of this year. Undoubtedly, the main digital initiative of the Museum is ConectARTE, which offers the public a daily and varied program that includes short clips about the Museum’s permanent collection; drawing, painting, art therapy and mindfulness workshops; yoga and Puerto Rican Bomba classes; storytelling and arts & crafts tutorials for the whole family; and special events like the popular storytelling live music offering, “HAPPY ART,” in its new digital version.

The Museo de Arte de Ponce will continue working on the development of projects that create spaces for learning, interaction and dialogue, upholding our vision to promote culture, reflection and the general well-being of our community.

ABOUT MUSEO DE ARTE DE PONCE 

The Museo de Arte de Ponce is a non-profit organization, founded in 1959 by Luis A. Ferré (1904-2003) and credited by the American Alliance of Museums since 1987. The institution is recognized worldwide as an important center of European art in America, and continues to offer its visitors a rich panorama of Western art, from the end of the Middle Ages to the dawn of the twentieth century. For six decades, the Museum has spurred in the areas of research, conservation and education, connecting the community and its visitors with the arts.

Contact:

María Magriñá Catinchi 

Communications Manager 

Mobile: 787-234-8476 

Email: [email protected]