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"La Perla, Abiertamente" 
  La Perla, Abiertamente
(La Perla, Openly)
Ana Rosa Rivera

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Competition Guidelines

La Perla, San Juan

This historic ward, located at the outskirts of Old San Juan, is the home of a vibrant community that   enhances cultural life in the old city. La Perla has overcome the persistent stigma of its marginality to endow the city with the authenticity of its human types and small-town ambiance.


About the Area
Public art, because of its monument-building capacity, may establish a questionable and excluding, one-way relationship between the artist and his or her audience. The community workshop is a means of creating works of art for sites where daily living challenges the vitality of artistic creation, and questions the very relevance of art. More than an artistic object, these places demand affirmative artistic statements from the community, expressing itself with the assistance of the artist as intermediary. Such collaboration should occur in an atmosphere of authentic respect, free from paternalistic attitudes or a false sense of generosity. This category is for artists who see in art a social commitment that, far from endangering their subjectivity, renews it in a fertile and productive exchange. Proposals in this category must provide details about the structure of community participation to be used and the exact site of the intervention. The workshops should leave a lasting public mark in works coauthored by the community, and worthy of their appreciation.

The community of La Perla, established at the end of the 19 th century, has maintained its cohesion and constantly asserted its values. Thanks to the soundness of these values, the community has survived, overcoming obstacles and promoting the participation of its residents in collaborative networks.

With this background in mind, a piece was proposed to provide the sector with a vehicle for recording and preserving the outstanding events of its history. This piece consists of the construction of marble plaques engraved with texts from the oral tradition of the community. The plaques will be ready for installation over the concrete grandstands at the basketball court of La Perla, displaying the collective memory of the sector. Ana Rosa chose this specific site because it is a meeting place where joyful experiences, stories, secrets, games, activities and social events are shared.

Residents were convened and asked to tell stories about the most significant moments of community life. Among those narratives, the artist chose the ones to be engraved on marble. This activity shall be recorded in photographs and videos that will be kept in the archives of the Community Center for the community's use and enjoyment.
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