Amidst all the chaos and devastation surrounding Puerto Rico, Alejandra Peña Gutiérrez - director of the Museo de Arte de Ponce - was resilient. He reopened the museum just one week later, and the art world collectively exhaled a sigh of relief.
Why? Because the museum is home to one of the world’s most famous paintings, ‘Flaming June’ by Sir Frederic Leighton, and has been since it first opened in 1965. Completely unharmed and still in its pristine condition, the museum wanted to reopen quickly to restore a sense of normality with their community.
At the entrance of the museum holds a plaque reading, “Este museo es de todos los Puertoriqueños”, which translates to, “This museum belongs to all Puerto Ricans”. Founder and governor Luis A. Ferré envisioned his museum as a way for Puerto Ricans to see the world.
When Hurricane María devastated the island, re-opening was their way of giving back to the community. As María Luisa Ferré Rangel, president of the museum, explained to Vanity Fair, “There are areas that are in the dark, have no cell phone reception, no Internet. People don’t even know what’s happening 10 miles from where they are. So, for the museum to open again shows we are here, connecting Puerto Ricans with each other and with the world.”
To learn more about the museum and the masterpiece, click here.