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    Puerto Rico Public Art Project Files
  Introduction   Requirements for Presentation
  Criteria of Eligibility   Selection y Contracting
  Evaluation Critiria   Evaluation Committee
  Official Announcement  


For ancient man it wasn't enough to satisfy his hunger and thirst, nor to adapt his body to a cold and hostile environment. From the first day of history, man needed to express himself artistically, to find his place in a universe that he hardly understood, with the hope of controlling it through an aesthetic spell. The first artistic expression occurred in the intimate surroundings of the cave, where the most profound fears and the most basic desires acquired form in a private ritual performed by a human being with a desire to live and with an innate feeling for pleasure and beauty.

The birth of civilization coincided with the emergence of a creature that had learned to express his fears through art. Back then, long before there were any cities, art was already public in the first bonfires of history. It was born together with language, or perhaps it surged ahead like a restless twin who is the first to cry, while the other cried out at the wrong moment in an echo of confusion and life.

Since then, people of all ages and of all levels of intelligence, in rich nations and poor, drew near to art, in their own manner and in their own time.

The millennium has not dissipated our thirst for art. The confusion of humanity's first days has apparently not surrendered to history. The assertions of civilization provoke more questions, some new, others, not so new. As long as doubt exists, there will be art.

Millions of years have changed our universe and our place in it. We no longer see or feel things the same way. The acceleration of change in the 20th century transformed our cities and our fields. The market came to stay and its influence has irreversibly affected the way we make and understand art. We're no longer what we once were; we too have changed. Where is our art headed?   Where will it take us?

The place, which once served as a point of reference to situate ourselves in the universe, has become a confusing network where what is local and what is global co-exist. Both spheres overlap in such a way that we often confuse them, without much thought to restoring their essence. Can art exist as a new point of reference, a hard or soft mark, permanent or ephemeral, clear or confusing, of our place in the universe, of our relationship with it and with ourselves?

Let us examine our surroundings and ourselves with the certainty of the native and the curiosity of the visitor. Let us reconstruct our surrounding landscape with art. Let's reinvent this landscape and reinvent art along with it. Let us look once again at our environment, as it was originally and as it has been transformed. Let us find beauty in the imaginary world and in the current hyper-reality of Puerto Rico. Somewhere, between the fantastic and the factual, we exist.

Artist and spectator, come and join the Puerto Rico Public Art Project.
Architect Miguel Rodríguez

Official Announcement

As part of a public policy aimed at revitalizing our public environment and our landscapes, the government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico invites Puerto Rican artists to participate in the project Puerto Rico Public Art.   This public art initiative will cover the entire island, bringing art to its landscapes, its communities, its people and all its virtual spaces.

The specific goals of the Puerto Rico Public Art Project are the following:

To project the country as a center and bastion of artistic activity, where experimentation blends with experience, avant-garde values combine with canon rules, within a diversity of means and expressions typical of the pluralistic and iconoclastic climate of our times.

To demonstrate the relevance of art in our lives and the capacity for dialogue that art fosters at different levels, areas and scales. Thus we can demonstrate the relevance of art as critical testimony and as an act of reaffirmation for the artist and his or her social medium.

To create scenes that juxtapose the singular and the subjective with the popular and collective in documents that are alive with dialogue, sound provocation and reconciliation.

To reconstitute the experiences felt in specific places in the urban, regional or virtual spheres, through the intervention of Puerto Rican artists in harmony with the culture, the landscape, history, the present and the people.

To revive renowned public places or activities with artistic projects or create the experience of new places/activities through the search of aesthetic languages and situations that reinforce the identity of the place or activity and its value in our collective memory.

To stimulate the artistic consciousness and perception of residents and visitors to our island through the reintroduction of art in commonplace surroundings, in our emblematic landscapes and in places associated with leisure activities.

To endow the country with a collection of works and other expressions that reflects our artistic moment, as a testimony to the present and as a bridge to the future.

The effervescence of our local artistic environment can be seen in the international recognition that our artists have received in recent years. Art in Puerto Rico enters a new century with a mix of adult maturity and adolescent curiosity. The rules of the past coexist with new generations that put the medium to the test, shaking tradition and awakening international interest among those who see something new under the sun.

But there exists an imbalance between the cultural development that we can see and a disinterested public that lacks points of reference and a greater awareness of what its artists are doing. Public art anywhere in the world, but particularly within our cultural context, has to build shortcuts between educated opinion and the vox populi. Maintaining a vibrant dialogue, without paternalisms, is a task that requires an effort by all concerned: by the artist committed to his or her culture, of a public committed to its artists and with a government committed to both.

Faced with this great challenge, the Puerto Rico Public Art Project has been structured around twenty-one (21) aesthetic areas, in which we have tried to identify spaces and activities as diverse as the different generations of artists that coexist in our island and the mediums they use. Each area includes a list of places and/or activities, as well as a discussion of the general parameters that seek to stimulate the imaginations of our artists and promote ample participation. These parameters should not be viewed as prescriptive measures, but rather they should be seen as a pie forzado or guiding theme for lyric expression.

Each place selected belongs to the network of public spaces and right of ways of the government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and are subject to the regulations that govern their public use and the protection of the environment. Artists can propose projects for other locations (in fact, in various categories we have deliberately avoided defining the specific locations), but they should confirm first that they belong to the state network.

Although autonomous pieces, not tied to any specific place, will be received, the official announcement emphatically recommends that you submit works that are conceived for a specific site.

The autonomous pieces will be evaluated on their own merits, but seeking to incorporate them in a situation/location in which their qualities will stand out and the objectives of the project are fulfilled.

  Criteria of Eligibility

An Evaluating Committee, comprising representatives from diverse sectors that are involved in cultural activities and the world of art, will be convoked to select the works to be incorporated in the program. The criteria for participation are presented in the following pages, along with the requirements that must be met by the submitted proposals. Artists will have two and a half months from the public announcement of the convocation to submit their proposals.

The official announcement is directed principally at Puerto Rican artists or residents of Puerto Rico for more than three years, since the project is meant to reflect the country's cultural activity and promote local artistic production.

The participation of artists of different backgrounds, mediums and experiences is encouraged. The definition of 21 aesthetic areas leaves room for works representing different mediums and formats.

This project seeks to be a forum of experience and experimentation. It seeks the participation of the young artist as well as more experienced ones. The quality of the work will be the determining factor.

The Puerto Rico Public Art Project will only receive proposals from the artists and authors of the work themselves without the mediation of other professionals or third parties. Gallery owners, professors, collectors and groups of individuals cannot submit works since the contracting of the selected works will be done directly with the artists. Any pre-arrangement that the artist may have with his or her representatives and which requires economic remuneration will not be included in the budget for the work nor in the dispositions of the contract. Representation costs to third parties will not be covered by the contract.

The Puerto Rico Public Art Project reserves the right to acquire or commission 10 to 15 percent of the works from artists outside the island based on the recommendations of the Evaluating Committee.

Requirements for Presentation

The presentation requirements seek to establish an understanding of the work and provide the information necessary to speed up the subsequent contracting of those works that are selected. Works that systematically evade matters of a practical nature and focus instead on strictly conceptual strategies will not be considered in the selection process. It is the artist's responsibility to reconcile his or her aesthetic vision with the limits imposed by the materials, the climate, safety and the structural stability of the artwork, among other aspects.

The selection of a particular work implies a contractual relationship that is binding on both the artist and the contracting entity. The artist will assume complete control of the project and will coordinate the work of consultants (structural engineers, mechanics, electricians, among others) and the different phases of constructing the project, together with the supervision and the assistance of the directors of the Puerto Rico Public Art Project.   The artist will delegate in the consultants the filing of all the required permits and endorsements. The Puerto Rico Public Art Project will rely on the services of an inspection firm that will be contracted during the construction or installation of the large format works.

In the proposal, the artist should link the presentation technique to the nature of the concept and its location. The Evaluating Committee should be able to obtain a clear idea of the artist's thinking with relation to the place/activity. The works will be evaluated principally for their specificity within their context, be this a place, a use or a subject, as defined in the twenty-one (21) areas that are described further on.

he technique of photomontage and/or sketches that incorporate the work to the selected environment or area is recommended. The works should be circumscribed to the budget assigned to each place or activity.

Proposed works should be submitted on or before Friday, March 29, 2002 in the office of the Secretary of Urbanism, Minillas Government Center, South Building, 16th floor, De Diego Avenue, Stop 22, Santurce. Proposals will be received between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

The following details the specific requirements that should be included in the proposals based on what has been previously described:

• Fill out the accompanying application form with the data on each work submitted and its author.

• A 24" x 36" foam board panel (1/8" thick) with drawings and representations of the work in its context and a brief explanation of the concept and its relation to the location, the composition and the materials that are used. Drawings made to scale should be incorporated in the panel in order to get a clear idea of the size of the project. (Proponents of autonomous pieces should concentrate on explaining the intrinsic values of the work and how its intentions suggested the form and material strategy.)

• A scale model of the project. (The inclusion of information regarding the context is optional in the model.)

• A graphic summary of the work in an 11"x 17" format with a descriptive memorandum (There is no limit on the number of pages.)

• A detailed estimate of the work, including the following:

  • Cost of the materials to be used with a breakdown on prices per amount of material.
  • Cost of construction based on the technique and resources employed. (With details on the cost of production, mobilization, excavation, assembly, transportation, bonds, etc.)
  • Consultants (Broken down by tasks performed and their respective disciplines.)
  • The artist's fees (from 15% to 25% of the total cost.)
  • Unforeseen or incidental expenses.
  • Work itinerary for the design and construction of the project. Curriculum vitae with samples of previous work. (Exposition catalogs will be accepted as samples.)

Evaluation Critiria

The artist should be able to detect, throughout the text of the official announcement, the qualities sought in the selection process. Some minimum evaluation criteria are outlined here to serve as a guide and to reiterate what has already been implicitly stated in this document.

The criteria listed here reflect the overall motives of the Puerto Rico Public Art Project. The twenty-one (21) aesthetic areas that are detailed below constitute the project's conceptual framework.

All works that are submitted should seek to accomplish the following:

• Critically interpret the area that it will form a part of.

• Adopt siting strategies that are intrinsic to the work and that bear a direct relation to the selected or proposed location.

• Recognize the scale of the location and demonstrate a clear position towards it.

• Adopt an attitude of invitation and participation towards the public and its diversity. The work and theme should take into account the characteristics of the nearby communities and establish the basis for a fertile dialogue between the artist and his or her social medium.

• Comply with all the applicable rules and laws and avoid situations that could pose a danger.

• Avoid materials and techniques that require intense maintenance and whose fragility could constitute an inconvenience over the long range.

• Demonstrate an understanding of the structural behavior of the materials used in the composition and of the construction strategy that can make the work viable.

Selection y Contracting

Following the necessary deliberations, the Evaluating Committee will declare three selection categories that can be summed up as follows:

The first category includes works that are accepted in the proposed format and location. The second category will consist of those works that generate an interest in the Committee, but in a location different from the one proposed, with the adaptations that this might require, provided it meets with the artist's approval.

A third category will be reserved for works to be commissioned or acquired in areas that are declared vacant by the Committee, after having evaluated all of the submitted works. A category will be declared vacant when none of the works results adequate for the proposed area or when no works are submitted for that area. The third category constitutes an invitation for the artist to submit a proposal for the place indicated, but requires the endorsement of the Evaluating Committee after having evaluated the proposal.

The Puerto Rico Public Art Project is not obligated to place or commission works in all of the areas proposed in this official announcement, after its Evaluating Committee has completed the process of deliberation.

Evaluation Committee

Art Critics and Educators:
Mirna Rodríguez
Former President, Puerto Rico Association of Art Critics (AAC). Member of the Evaluation Committee, Public Art Project, Municipality of San Juan.
Dr. José Antonio Pérez Ruiz
Former professor of history at the University of Puerto Rico. A founder of AAC, and its honorary president, Pérez-Ruiz was an art critic of the newspaper El Mundo. From 1993 to 1996, he was a Vice President of the International Association of Art Critics, attached to UNESCO. President of the Plastic Arts Section, Puerto Rico Ateneo.
María Ángela López Vilella
Deputy Director of the Museum of the Americas since 1995. She earned an M.A. at New York University and worked as an intern at the MOMA.
Dra. Tere Tió
Executive Director, Institute of Puerto Rican Culture
Marimar Benítez
Director, Puerto Rico School of Plastic Arts

Cultural Critics:
Dra. Silvia Álvarez Curbelo
Distinguished social historian. Dr. Álvarez is the director of the Research Center at the School of Public Communication, University of Puerto Rico.

Curator/ organizer of collection and exhibits:
Marilú Purcell
Curator/ organizer of the Ponce Art Museum for the past eight years. She holds a master's degree in modern and contemporary art criticism from Christie’s Education.

Pedro Muñoz Marín
Collector of contemporary Puerto Rican art
Dr. César Reyes
Collector of contemporary art

International Critics:
Michael Kimmelman
New York Times art critic
Dr. Bruce J. Altshuler
Director, Department of Museology, New York University. Executive Director, Isamo Noguchi Foundation.
Héctor Feliciano
Cultural journalist. Distinguished author of The Lost Museum, a book about the international plundering of works of art during World War II.

Urban Planners:
Juan Vaquer
Director of the Land Authority/ urban planner

Asesor para el Tren Urbano:
Architect Javier Mirandés