Art at the Service of the People: Posters and Books from Puerto Rico's Div. of Community Education

Carlos Raquel Rivera (Puerto Rican, 1923-1999), <em>Nenén de la ruta mora</em> [Nenén of the Moorish Way], 1956, lithograph.  On loan from the Collection of Marisel C. Moreno and Thomas F. Anderson

Carlos Raquel Rivera (Puerto Rican, 1923-1999), Nenén de la ruta mora [Nenén of the Moorish Way], 1956, lithograph. On loan from the Collection of Marisel C. Moreno and Thomas F. Anderson

SNITE Museum of Art January 22–March 11, 2012

This exhibition included twenty-eight posters and ten books produced by Puerto Rican graphic artists who worked for the island's Division of Community Education (DIVEDCO), a government agency formed in 1949 as one of the initial acts of the territory's first-elected governor, Luis Muñoz Marín, a poet, journalist and politician. "A unique and powerful adaption of New Deal-era programs," DIVEDCO placed didactic art at the center of a massive public education campaign that aimed—through the production of posters, books, and short films—to teach the island's predominantly rural population about important issues such as community-building, democracy, conflict resolution and public health. Many of the works by the DIVEDCO artists also drew attention to Puerto Rico's rural cultural traditions, many of which were disappearing due to industrialization and ever-increasing U.S. influence on the island. 

Most of the posters and book covers produced for the DIVEDCO and included in this exhibition were designed by the island's best-known and most accomplished graphic artists: Lorenzo Homar, Rafael Tufiño, Antonio Maldonado, Carlos Raquel Rivera, Eduardo Vera Cortés, Rafael Delgado Castro, and José Meléndez Contreras. Their graphic works made silkscreen technique the most popular one in Puerto Rico The exhibition comprised a selection of works from the private collection of professors Marisel C. Moreno and Thomas F. Anderson and was used during the semester as an instructional tool by them and other ND faculty for classes in Spanish language and literature.

The following University units generously provided underwriting support for the exhibition and catalog: The José E. Fernández Caribbean Initiative, The Boehnen Fund for Excellence in the Arts; The Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts; The Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies; Multicultural Student Programs and Services; The Institute for Latino Studies; The Office of Undergraduate Studies; The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures; and Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures.