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Solidarity from the plastic arts

“It is always better to give than to receive”. It is a maxim that the gallery owner and art dealer Sylvia Villafañe has always practiced, but in times of crisis like the ones we are experiencing these days, after the devastation left by Hurricane Fiona, she understands that it is essential to be in solidarity with all those who need help, especially children and adolescents who are in foster homes waiting to be adopted.

“But on all the occasions that tragedies have occurred in Puerto Rico, we have come together to support those most in need,” says Villafañe, owner of Galería Petrus, an art space in Santurce that celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary in November. In fact, she says that since the opening of this space in 1997, she began to involve artists in fundraising events for that purpose.

This is what he intends to do now with the Adopt Now Foundation, a private non-profit organization that promotes the adoption of children between the ages of 6 and 17 who are in different institutions and foster homes under the custody of the Department of the Family. “In addition, all the artists who exhibit at the Petrus Gallery are making a contribution of 30% of the sale of the works that are sold to donate it to these causes and help the communities that need it”explains the gallery owner, who points out that donations can be made through the foundation because as it is a 501(c)(3) organization, the donor can receive a tax refund.

In addition, Villafañe indicates that the gallery has become a collection center that is open every day, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. “We are receiving water, canned food, bedding, children’s clothing and household items. first need in the home.

Among the artists exhibiting at Galería Petrus, Villafañe mentions Carlos Dávila Rinaldi, Sofía Maldonado, Karlo Ibarra, Bobby Cruz, William Bass, Jaime Suárez, Miguel Trelles, Orlando Meléndez, Iván Alejandro Báez and Lorna Otero, among many others who exhibit in the gallery.

For the artist Sofía Maldonado, putting herself at the service of the communities “that surround us” is a responsibility. “In my case I have given workshops, donated murals and other educational services due to the evident lack given by the hurricane and our colonial situation. I remain at the disposal of the most needy sectors for the speedy recovery of Puerto Rico.”

The renowned architect, ceramicist and sculptor Jaime Suárez expresses himself in a similar way, emphasizing that, in times of crisis, artists have always said they are present “either individually or through facilitating institutions”. He also highlights that it is no longer a surprise to arrive at Galería Petrus and see the space as a collection center “for the multiple social interests in which Sylvia Villafañe is involved throughout the year with her Adopta Now foundation.”

And it is that, according to Villafañe, it is a task that excites him a lot and that, through the Adopt Now Foundation, allows him to help children and young people who are waiting for a family that wants to adopt them. “During this year we have managed to impact 28 substitute homes throughout the island and we are talking about around 450 children and young people. In addition, during the summer we had art and technology camps and another one for good manners,” explains Villafañe, while clarifying that any family with children who directly asks for their help is taken care of “because that is part of our mission.”

The gallery owner adds that Adopt Now is an entity that is nourished by the private sector and works with donations from companies and individuals “who want to help these children have a healthy and safe adoption.” “In addition, we have a campaign called ‘Adopt a love story’ and we continue throughout the year offering educational workshops and positive messages,” he adds, while emphasizing the importance of more people being interested in adopting children. who are already a little older, between six and 17 years old.

“We look forward to the public’s support to immediately impact the needs of this population around the island, including the region most impacted by Hurricane Fiona in the south, but also the towns in the east, as well as Vieques and Culebra.”

For additional information on the adoption of children and youth in Puerto Rico, you can access the page The Petrus Gallery is located at 726 Hoare Street, in Miramar, with the telephone number: (787) 318-8993

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