Puerto Rico – more than just beach

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The skies in Puerto Rico know how to put on a damn good show. I don’t recall being away on vacation and spending so much time looking at clouds. Perhaps it was due to the fact that Hurricane Gonzalez was in the neighborhood but the clouds were spectacular whether they were aflame with the last rays of sunset, white and puffy or heavy with grey menacing underbellies. If you want to see beautiful art on the island, look no further than Puerto Rico’s natural resources.

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I did see a few galleries in Old San Juan that are definitely worth a visit. I was curious to check out The Butterfly People Art Gallery that specializes in artworks created using exotic butterflies from around the globe. I had visions of dark walls lined with dusty pinned Lepidoptera, so I was unprepared for the light-filled Spanish colonial whose crisp white walls were decorated with a kaleidoscope of multi-colored butterflies in flight. It was a unique and exquisite sight.

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Before you get squeamish about the thought of these gorgeous creatures being abused or endangered, rest assured. The Butterfly People have been in operation for over three decades, working exclusively with farm raised butterflies and adhering to all permit and licensing procedures enforced by the US Fish and Wildlife Services. The gallery’s charming owner, Cirene Revan, represents the third generation in her family to find their life’s passion in butterflies. Once I was reassured of the gallery’s ethics, I was able to fully appreciate the beauty of the work and the artistry of the butterfly compositions, many of them created by Cirene’s husband, Resat Revan.

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Just a few blocks away I wandered into Galeria Botello. Besides showcasing Angel Botello’s bronze sculptures, the gallery also features an array of local contemporary artists working in a variety of mediums. I was drawn to the works of Julio Cesar Diaz. He combines figurative clay sculpture with finely worked wood.

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Galeria Botello will be featuring a solo show by this artist opening November 13, 2014. And if you’re looking to buy one-of-a-kind accessories by local designers and jewelers, I would recommend dropping into a little sliver of a store by the name of Luca at 255 Cruz Street Old San Juan. 

If any reader has art recommendations for Puerto Rico, please add a comment. Buen día!

PS. Check out my latest international exhibitions on www.liliannemilgrom.com

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