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Ponce Museum of Art honored at IMLS award ceremony in DC


A 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service was awarded to the Ponce Museum of Art for its extraordinary community work after the earthquake that struck the southwest region of the island in 2020 and the digital programming it developed to meet the needs of the population during the COVID-19 pandemic.

By John McPhaul

jpmcphaul@gmail.com


The Ponce Museum of Art (Museo de Arte de Ponce) was invited by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to the annual National Medal award ceremony, held recently in Washington, D.C. and presided over by IMLS Director Crosby Kemper.


“At the Museo de Arte de Ponce we have distinguished ourselves by prioritizing the needs of our community. We recognize that we are an important center of cultural and artistic interaction in which we promote knowledge, dialogue and discovery,” said Cheryl Hartup, director of the Ponce Museum of Art, in a written statement. “It is our commitment to continue empowering our communities, supporting our artists and, despite the fact that our spaces are physically limited due to the impact of the earthquake at our headquarters in Ponce, to continue fostering alliances with local and United States museums, thus showing the great cultural heritage that Puerto Rico houses.”


The IMLS’s National Medal for Museum and Library Service is the highest honor bestowed annually on museums and libraries located on U.S. soil that, through their programs and services, have made an extraordinary contribution to the communities they serve. The Ponce Museum of Art received this important distinction in 2021. Due to the pandemic, the ceremony was not held in person, so in 2022 the winning libraries and museums from both years came together in a significant recognition and fellowship event held at the historic Anderson House in the U.S. capital.


A 2021 National Medal was awarded to the Ponce Museum of Art for its extraordinary community work after the earthquake that struck the southwest region of the island in 2020 and the digital programming it developed to meet the needs of the population in the face of the global emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.


After the earthquake, the institution launched the “The Museum Goes Out to the Street” program, which provided hundreds of people with art workshops aimed at channeling emotions through painting. The workshops were offered free of charge in shelters, schools under tents, National Guard centers and open spaces where people whose homes had been damaged spent the day and even stayed overnight. The museum visited the most affected populations in Ponce and other municipalities in the region.


Likewise, when the COVID-19 pandemic reached the island and the recommendation for preventive isolation kept the population confined to their homes, the museum reacted quickly by developing the ConectARTE program, which it conducted through its social networks for more than a year.


The Museo de Arte de Ponce is a nonprofit organization founded in 1959 by Luis A. Ferré (1904-2003) and accredited since 1987 by the American Alliance of Museums. The institution is recognized worldwide as an important center for European art in America and offers its visitors a rich panorama of Western art, from the late Middle Ages to the dawn of the 20th century.


For six decades, the Museum has excelled in areas such as research, conservation and education, connecting the community and its visitors with art.

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