The Rich Heritage of Ateneo Puertorriqueno

The Ateneo Puertorriqueno, or Puerto Rican Athenaeum, has been a significant role player in the intellectual and artistic side of Puerto Rico. It has seen many struggles, celebrated triumphs and felt the sorrow of the Puerto Rican public through every loss and disappointment. The “Decolonization Torch” of the Ateneo Puertorriqueno, which was designed and created by Jose Buscaglia Guillermety, was lit on 25 July 2008. The torch is said to be a reminder of the colonial problems still suffered in Puerto Rico, and the torch will remain lit until these issues have been addressed.

The founding of the Ateneo Puertorriqueno on 30 April 1876 was welcomed by the government and the public as it was the closest Puerto Rico had ever come to establishing its own university up until then. It became an institution that offered everyone, even mid-wives, the opportunity to perfect their skills or to simply study another. The Ateneo Puertottiqueno remained true to its mission to promote literature, art and music in the community, while offering educational opportunities. The building as seen today in Ponce de Leon Avenue in San Juan was only commissioned in 1922, and after Aguadillano Roldan Francisco Arce put his architectural knowledge to use to design the building, the first brisk was laid on 27 May 1923.

Visitors to the Puerto Rican Athenaeum will be fascinated by the old architectural design and detailed interior that remains home to a performance hall, school, library and a museum. The establishment’s dedication to the community and to the world of music, art and literature was carried through the years and still inspires people today. Of course visitors come to the Ateneo Puertorriqueno to admire the historical beauty of the building and its ancient relics of the past.

Within the walls of this cultural centre are many historical documents, photographs, art work collections and memorabilia. The pride of the establishment is without a doubt, the Ateneo Art Gallery, which is home to approximately four hundred and fifty artistic masterpieces. Some of the lecturers and professors of the Arteneo Puertorriqueno offer their teaching services free of charge to the establishment, as they too have fond memories of the fine establishment. This magnificent establishment also hosts art competitions each year and offers specific courses.

The influence the Ateneo Puertorriqueno has on Puerto Rico and its community, past and present, has been seen in politics, music, science literature, art, and theatre throughout the country. It is an establishment that strives to bring out the best in its people and its leaders, and to document the rich and fascinating history that has brought Puerto Rico to where it is today.