Published on May 29th, 2019 | by Mark Chesnut0
Gorgeous Public Art Splashes Across the Streets of Yauco, Puerto Rico
Yauco is a city of only about 41,000 on Puerto Rico’s south coast. But it now has an outsize reputation as a tourism destination for anyone who loves art, thanks to Arte Para Unir (Art to Unite), an arts organization based here that’s using vibrant colors and eye-catching street art to beautify the city, as well as to jump-start tourism in the region in the months after Hurricane Maria wrought havoc on so much of the island in September 2017. And now, the organization is debuting yet another round of public art in 2019.
The group’s first public art project, Yaucromatic, debuted in 2017 with 16 murals located in various parts of this historic city. After the hurricane struck, the need to continue the project was clear, and Yaucromatic2 launched in 2018, with another 13 murals. And now, Arte Para Unir is gearing up for Yaucromatic3, which launches on July 13, 2019, with 10 new works of art.
“I’m trying to let the world know what we’ve achieved in this city, on a voluntary basis,” said Pito Hernández, creator of Yaucromatic. “Once they know about it, they can do it too, and if they do it too, they can better the world with art.”
Indeed, public art can have a lasting positive effect on society overall. “The fundamental proposition of the project is to strengthen Yauco’s urban center through tourism,” Hernández said. “With this project, the urban economy has improved. Since the project started, five new businesses have been established.”
The most attention-getting work of art in Yaucromatic2 is a multi-part mural. “Brisa Tropical” (“Tropical Breeze”), created by the artist Samuel González, is a a riot of geometric colors splashed across some 20 houses — some of which are abandoned — on the hilly Eugenio Sánchez López Street. With its colorful steps and ready-made photo opps, this exhibit might feel a bit like Rio de Janeiro to some. It’s worth getting out of your car, walking up the hill and exploring — as well as, perhaps, buying some snacks or souvenirs on the street, to help support local vendors. You can also see the splendor of Yaucromatic in the video for “Luz Apaga,” a song by Puerto Rican singer-songwriter and actor Ozuna.
You’ll want to walk around downtown Yauco for a while, as a matter of fact, to fully appreciate the wide variety of street art and public that graces the walls throughout the city center. You can find a map of the artwork locations on the Yaucromatic Facebook page. You’ll also find lots of beautiful historic architecture as you wander through downtown Yauco, and plenty of opportunities to sample the region’s legendary coffee. It’s an ideal day trip from San Juan and other parts of the island, or a perfect stop when traveling around the region. There are a number of beautiful and uncrowded beaches near the city, as well.
There are lots of reasons to venture beyond San Juan when you take a Puerto Rico vacation. Every corner of the island has its own unique charm and beauty. And this brilliant open-air art exhibit is just one more example of why you should expand your itinerary the next time you go.