Fine Art Fridays: Historiadores en Formación

For this edition of Fine Art Fridays, we are very proud to present Historiadores en Formación (“Historians in Formation”). A group of students from the University of Puerto Rico that major in History of Art and have dedicated themselves to offering a free, non-profit art program to students from different high schools. I met them when I participated in a few of the workshops as a sign language interpreter for a deaf student who was participating in the workshops as well. I was amazed by the amount of work and dedication they put into each workshop, by their patience, by their efforts, and their mission as art historians. I can definitely say that I learned a lot about the history of art on the Saturdays I was with them, so I couldn’t waste the opportunity to interview the coordinator of Historiadores en Formación, Karina García Vázquez.

HCUPR Contributor: How did this idea came up?

Karina: Historiadores en Formación (HEF; “Historians in Formation”) was born by the worries of a reduction in tuition for a Major in the program of History of Art. Because of this, I gave myself the task to talk to a few of my classmates; I showed them the project I had in mind, and I also showed it to the Director of the program, the professor María T. Ghigliotty, and to the Dean of Student Affairs of the Humanities Faculty, Dr. Mirersa González. They did not doubt nor hesitate in involving themselves in the project and in providing everything that was necessary to make this project happen


HCUPR Contributor: What is the purpose of this project? What does it consist of?

Karina: HEF is a recruitment program, addressed to students from different schools that are currently in 10th, 11th, and 12th grade. It’s a student-led project that seeks to encourage and link school communities with the History of Art program of the University of Puerto Rico, to become a space of practice and commitment for future art historians.

HCUPR Contributor: What are your goals as art historians with this project?

Karina: As art historians and lovers of this discipline, we want the new generations to know and immerse in this wonderful profession, we want them to understand the importance of the arts and their relevance as a principal component of cultural heritage of each country.  

HCUPR Contributor: What do you expect from the students taking these workshops?

Karina: From the participating students in these workshops, we hope that they will continue to become aware and sensitized of the arts, to develop their academic skills, and for what they have learned to not remain only in the classroom, but rather be used to educate the people around them about the arts and their ramifications.

HCUPR Contributor: How important is the teaching of the arts to our youth and to our society?

Karina: The arts are the main engine that sensitizes all human beings, they are means of expression and they are part of the documentation that prevails to tell the story of an individual and a people. Removing and separating young people from the arts would imply depriving them of one of the basic tools for development and performance within society.


HCUPR Contributor: How do you expect to feel when this project finishes?

Karina: We are now very proud of the achievement we have reached by impacting 20 students from various parts of the island. We are very excited about the enthusiasm and passion they arrive with Saturday after Saturday, the desire they have to gain knowledge, and how encouraged they are. Undoubtedly, when we finish this edition of Saturday workshops we will feel happy because we have established links with wonderful young people and future colleagues, yet at the same time we will feel emptiness because we will not continue with our dynamics [workshops] in the classroom.

HCUPR Contributor: What advice would you give to young people interested in pursuing a career in Art History or in the arts in general?

Karina: To all those young people interested in the arts or history of art, our advice is that they fight for what they are passionate about, that they don’t give up no matter what people around them say.


HCUPR Contributor: Where can we find you [social media]?

Karina: You can find us on Facebook as Historiadores en Formacion, on Instagram as historiadoresenformaconupr, and on Twitter as HistFormacion.

HCUPR Contributor: Are there plans for more workshops in the future?

Karina: This is our first edition of Saturday workshops of Historians in Formation, from which about 6 students have been admitted in the program of History of Art at UPR Río Piedras and at UPR Bayamón. We do not hesitate to continue with these workshops the next semester and we hope that they become Saturday workshops that take place during the semester, offered by the program with the support of the Dean of Student Affairs of the Humanities Faculty.

I want to thank the students who have worked in this workshop as teachers and staff: Sara Isabel Rodriguez, Gabriel Santiago, Daniela Silva, Glorisabel Santos, Aisha Pérez, Griselle García, Mireily Rodriguez, Alex Orta, Doris Medina, Hery Olivera, Laureliz Antuna, Monica Dávila, Natalia Mattei, and Yentl Rodriguez. To our sign language interpreters: Héctor Torres, Daniela González, Nadja Quiñones, Tanymarie Reyes and Ángel Gastón. To the professors that offered special conferences: Johnny Lugo and Lcdo. Marcos Montero. To the director of the History of Art program, Maria T. Ghigliotty, for always being present and for always supporting us in all our projects. And finally, to the dean of Student Affairs of the Humanities Faculty. And last but not least, to Chakira Santiago and the Museum of History, Anthropology, and Art. 

We, as Her Campus, feel very proud and honored to publish news like this: students helping each other in following their dreams. In a society where a career in the arts tends to be looked down upon, we congratulate Historiadores en Formación for breaking that stigma and for teaching students the importance that art has in this world. Even though the workshops had to be cut short due to the strike, and they couldn’t have their graduation ceremony either, the impact they placed upon the high school students will be marked forever as the foreshadowing of a future artist and future revolutionary. We share this example of perseverance, support, hard work, and inspiration to all readers, with the hope that they will feel as moved as we are. We hope to see more of Historiadores en Formación soon!


*Pictures obtained by Historiadores en Formación's Facebook page