The Museo de Arte de Ponce Announces Important Appointments

(Ponce, Puerto Rico – February 24, 2022) – The Director of the Museo de Arte de Ponce, Cheryl Hartup, announced the appointments of Iraida Rodríguez-Negrón, as the new Curator of the Museum and the promotion of Rubí Rodríguez-Bustillo to Deputy Director of Operations and Sustainability of the institution.

The appointments come in the context of the reconstruction of the Museum’s exhibition galleries, the launch of a major capital campaign aimed at raising a portion of the funds needed to pay for the construction work and the new projects with allied institutions in Puerto Rico and the United States. “Both are high-caliber professionals who have distinguished themselves by the achievements obtained in their respective fields and possess an excellent academic background. I am confident that, from their respective positions, they will contribute greatly, together with our team, to achieving our goals of keeping the Museum’s collection alive and accessible and directing our fundraising efforts towards the reconstruction of the Edward Durell Stone Building, which was severely affected by the earthquakes of 2020,” Hartup said of the appointments.

The new Curator holds a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in Humanities and Art History from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, a Master of Arts with a concentration in Art History from The George Washington University, in Washington D.C. and a Master of Philosophy in Art History and Archaeology, from The Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, where she studied with the renowned Hispanist, Jonathan Brown.

Rodríguez-Negrón is no stranger to the Museum. Among her publications is an essay in the catalog of the Spanish Collection of the Museo d Arte de Ponce. The professional experience of the new MAP Curator is extensive; she worked at the renowned New York museum The Frick Collection and received the first Meadows/Kress/Prado curatorial residency from the Meadows Museum. Rodríguez-Negrón has also published countless essays in books and various specialized magazines in the United States and Europe. After her return to Puerto Rico, she has dedicated herself to university teaching at the Bayamón and Carolina campuses of the University of Puerto Rico, contributing to the foundation of the UPR Art Gallery in Carolina and the curatorship of its exhibitions.

On her appointment, Rodríguez-Negrón expressed with great enthusiasm that she has always felt a special affection for the Museo de Arte de Ponce. “I remember when I visited the museum as a child for the first time on a school field trip. When I began to seriously study art history and even more so when I decided to specialize in the history of European art, I confirmed the importance and historical value of its collection. Being the Curator of the Museo de Arte de Ponce was always my professional goal. Although I left abroad after completing my Bachelor’s Degree in Art History at the University of Puerto Rico to continue my studies in the discipline, I did so with the intent to prepare myself to return and contribute to the development of my country,” she said. The Curator also added, “Don Luis A. Ferré collected to and for Puerto Rico. The Museo de Arte de Ponce is his legacy and it is our responsibility to protect it, our duty is to study the collection and our obligation to share it with Puerto Rico and the world.”

On the other hand, Rubí Rodríguez-Bustillo, who since January has served as the Museum’s Deputy Director of Operations and Sustainability, began at the institution in November 2016 as Director of Development in charge of fundraising efforts and search for grants at both the state and federal levels. The newly appointed Deputy Director of Operations and Sustainability holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Puerto Rico and has a law degree since 2010. In addition to being a lawyer, she has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, with a concentration in Accounting from the UPR, Ponce Campus. Prior to joining the Museum, she worked in the Department of Economic Development and Commerce occupying different positions, including Assistant Secretary in charge of efforts aimed at promoting Puerto Rico as a business destination and contributing to initiatives aimed at formalizing agreements with foreign and local companies to expand or establish their headquarters in Puerto Rico.

During her five years as Director of Development, the Museum managed to raise more than one million dollars in its historic annual gala (currently on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and raise a significant amount of funds from activities organized in the United States, which resulted in a considerable increase in the institution’s donor network. She has also managed to secure funds to cover operational expenses, artistic and community programs through institutions such as the Mellon Foundation, Ford Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Frankenthaler Foundation, Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, Chamber Music America, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Ángel Ramos Foundation, Banco Popular Foundation, Fundación Puertorriqueña para las Humanidades, Para la Naturaleza,Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, Fundación Flamboyán: Fondo para las Artes and the Comisión Conjunta de Fondos Legislativos para Impacto Comunitario.

Born and raised in Ponce, for Rodríguez-Bustillo the Museum is an institution particularly close to her personal experiences and a source of great pride. “Working at the Museo de Arte de Ponce in order to establish its continuity and relevance in the community, even in adverse times, has been rewarding. Ponce watched me grow up. The Museum was our family destination on Sundays and the fact that I can help it continue to exist for our future generations fills me with great satisfaction. All Puerto Ricans have the right to enjoy their Museum, an artistic heritage of Puerto Rico and the world. That is why I work hard every day so that in a few years we can achieve the reopening that we all long for,” said Rodríguez-Bustillo.

The President of the Board of Trustees of the Museo de Arte de Ponce, María Luisa Ferré-Rangel, reported that both appointments are part of the interest of the Board of Trustees in strengthening the institution to effectively face this new stage in the history of the Museum, “we are focused on achieving our objectives of raising the necessary funds for the reconstruction of the emblematic Edward Durell Stone building, that houses our showrooms, while we continue to work hard to continue formalizing important collaborations with allied institutions in Puerto Rico and abroad. “These collaborations will allow us to make our collection accessible to the Puerto Rican community and other cultures that do not know the universal character of the artistic heritage of our island. Our work is titanic, but we assume it with the courage and responsibility that our people deserve.” Ferré-Rangel reiterated that both appointments provide the institution with resources prepared and, above all, committed to the Museum. “I congratulate Iraida and Rubí, and thank them for their willingness to take on the challenges and responsibilities involved in their new roles. Above all, I wish them every success in their duties,” concluded Ferré-Rangel.