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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Arts & design school to undergo significant improvements

Prof. John Rivas

By The Star Staff

As the island Legislature recently reappointed John Rivas, a graphic design artist and professor at the University of Puerto Rico Carolina Campus, to the board of the School of Studio Arts & Design (Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Diseño) in San Juan, the school’s management will upgrade the facilities, incorporate new technologies and create a master’s degree program in 2023.

“As a board member, I intend to give continuity to projects that benefit the school, which has received support from [various] entities and is currently modernizing its equipment,” Rivas told the STAR. “I urge the government to continue supporting an entity that gives glory and honor to Puerto Rico. I want to acknowledge the work of the chancellor and I will continue to help the school also as a UPR Carolina professor.”

Chancellor Ileana Muñoz Landrón said that unlike in the past, under the current central government administration the school has received funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was used for digital printers and large TV printers as well as interactive screens to allow students to create art works.

“I have to say that the government has supported me,” she said.

The school is benefiting from almost $33 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding allocated for cultural entities early this year. It has also received $200,000 in energy funds and will work with the Department of Economic Development and Commerce to install solar panels at the facility.

Among the plans this year are to begin renovating the former Manicomio Insular in Ballajá and Conception Hospital, which the school shares with the Arts League, as well as the Lorenzo Omar Gallery and other facilities, Muñoz Landrón said.

Some $2.8 million in Title V funds allocated over a five-year period including the coronavirus pandemic allowed the school to upgrade the design center, purchase materials and make other upgrades.

Through the ARPA allocation, Muñoz Landrón said, the school will be able to launch an arts master’s degree program that is expected to be approved by accrediting agencies.

“We are starting to work on curricular development,” she said.

Another goal for the school is to increase the salary of workers and professors, who have not obtained a raise in years, she said.

The chancellor said the reappointment of Rivas to the board is very positive as he is a prominent graphics design artist who has worked hard for the school.

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