Ateneo Puertorriqueño

The Ateneo Puertorriqueño (Puerto Rican Athenaeum), is a cultural institution in Puerto Rico. Founded on April 30, 1876,[3] it has been called Puerto Rico's oldest cultural institution,[4] however, it is actually its third oldest overall and second culturally, after the Bar Association of Puerto Rico[5] and the Casino of Mayagüez.[6]

Puerto Rican Athenaeum
Ateneo Puertorriqueño
Ateneo Puertorriqueño logo 1876.jpg
Ateneo Puertorriqueño
Nickname"El Ateneo"
(English: "The Athenaeum")
Named afterAthenaeum
MottoAd Majorem Patriae Gloriam
(English: "For the greater glory of our country")
Founded30 April 1876; 144 years ago (1876-04-30)
FoundersManuel de Elzaburu y Vizcarrondo, José Julián Acosta, Alejandro Tapia y Rivera, and Francisco de Paula Acuña y Paniagua
Founded atSan Juan City Hall
TypeNot-for-profit cultural institution
Registration no.352044
PurposePromote the affirmation and development of the Puerto Rican nationality, as well as engage in cultural, educational and social activities.
HeadquartersPuerta de Tierra, Old San Juan, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Official language
Junta de Gobierno del Ateneo Puertorriqueño[1]
Endowment$466,636.00 (2018)[2]
Puerto Rican Athenaeum
Ateneo Puertorriqueño
Ateneo Puertorriqueño (01).jpg
General information
Architectural styleSpanish Morisco
Groundbreaking27 May 1923; 97 years ago (1923-05-27)
Technical details
Floor count2
Design and construction
ArchitectFrancisco Roldán Arce
Other information
(Disabled: 1)

One of its founders was the playwright, Alejandro Tapia y Rivera.[3] The Athenaeum was the first to give accolades and awards to artists and writers such as José Gautier Benítez, José de Diego, Manuel María Sama, Francisco Oller, Manuel Fernández Juncos, Lola Rodríguez de Tió and Luis Lloréns Torres.[7]

Nilita Vientós Gastón became its first female president in 1946 and was the incumbent until 1961.[8] In 1976 the Athenaeum celebrated its centennial with Eladio Rodríguez Otero at the helm as president, who gave a speech in presence of the then governor Rafael Hernández Colón, Hiram Torres Rigual, in representation of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, and former governor Luis A. Ferré.[9] To commemorate the event, the Athenaeum also commissioned a medal to be awarded to those who represent "the highest national values expressed through [Puerto Rican] culture." The Centennial Medal of the Puerto Rican Athenaeum was most recently awarded to the musical salsa group El Gran Combo.[10]

The Athenaeum serves as a museum, school, library, and performance hall for the arts in Puerto Rico. It hosts a number of contests, conferences, and exhibits each year, presenting Puerto Rican art, literature, and music.[11][12] Since 1937 the use of the spaces of the Athenaeum has been limited to activities it sponsors.[13] Its headquarters are located in Puerta de Tierra, adjacent to Old San Juan, in a strip that also houses the "Casa de España", the Carnegie Library, the Capitol complex and the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee headquarters.

The Athenaeum BuildingEdit

In 1922 the Aguadillan architect, Francisco Roldán Arce was asked to draw up plans for the present building. The cornerstone was laid on 27 May 1923 in the presence of José Coll y Cuchi.[14] The architecture of the building, Spanish Morisco, was introduced to Puerto Rico by Pedro de Castro, who also built some of the structures that neighbor close by. De Castro's tropical and mediterranean conscience objected to the architecture imported from the north, giving preference to the luminosity of the Caribbean, to the visual continuity of the spaces, to the galleries and balconies that served as a transition between interior and exterior spaces, shaped by the urban environment, the countryside or the inner courtyards.[15]

The Athenaeum Art GalleryEdit

The Athenaeum's pride is its gallery of art, which consists of 459 artworks.[16] Among the artworks held at the Atheneum one of its most recognizable is Francisco Oller's 1890 painting "La Escuela del Maestro Rafael Cordero".[citation needed]


The membership of the Athenaeum is divided between four classes:

  • Founders-48 inscribed before the inauguration of the institution.
  • Of Merit-Those who gave services to the Atheneaum.
  • Of Number
  • Accidentals-Those who pay their monthly dues.


The Puerto Rican Atheneum names members of Puerto Rico's cultural community to endowed chairs which cover a broad spectrum.[citation needed]

Experimental Theatre of the AthenaeumEdit

The Athenaeum commenced its work with theater under the auspices of Alejandro Tapia y Rivera and took course with the contests it has held since 1911. Emilio S. Belaval founded the first professional theater groups in 1938. The Experimental Theatre of the Puerto Rican Antheneaum was founded in 1952 as the first incumbent company of the institution. As such, one of the greatest Puerto Rican playwrights of the twentieth century, René Marqués, commences a dissemination and creative project of drama that continues to this day, totaling over 500 productions and 26 Avant-Garde Theatre Festivals.[17]

Many participants of the Festivals are members of Puerto Rico's thespian community. The Experimental Theatre Hall, which has capacity for 200, has been the premiere of many works that are now considered classical Puerto Rican drama. The most well-known of these is René Marqués' La Carreta, which premiered in 1953 under the patronage of the Athenaeum. Other dramatists of note whose work has also premiered have been Manuel Méndez Ballester, Francisco Arriví, Luis Rafael Sánchez and Myrna Casa.[17]

Theatre FestivalsEdit

Started in the 1970s, the Theatre Festivals of the Puerto Rican Athenaeum with the intent of showcasing new works, both Puerto Rican, as well as of foreign extraction. Between 1973 and 2003 there were 36 editions of the Theatre Festival. During each edition approximately 10 productions were presented, except in the XIX Edition, where twenty works took place, of which fifteen young authors or Puerto Rican authors of note, and the XX edition, which premiered 26 plays.[citation needed]

Music ChairEdit

The Music Chair was one of the first created in the Twentieth century. It is in charge of the String Quartet of the Atheneaum.[18]

Contemporary Puerto Rican Music FestivalEdit

Started in 2005, it has had eight editions.

Cinema and Video ChairEdit

Created in 1985, the Cinema and Video Chair is dedicated to the development of the production of film in Puerto Rico. It also encourages the development of plans and infrastructure for the financing of the local cinematographic industry.[citation needed]

To date, it has produced two feature-length films.

The “Decolonization Torch”Edit

The sculptor José Buscaglia Guillermety designed and created[19] a sculpture titled "La Antorcha de Descolonización" (English: Decolonization Torch). Its purpose being to "leave consigned our right and our interest in a non-colonial political status."[20]

It was inaugurated by the then president of the Atheneaum, Eduardo Morales Coll, on the night of 24–25 July 2007 in front of the Atheneaum Building, where it will remain until the United States propitiates the opportunity[20] for Puerto Rico to resolve its problems as a colony.[16] Political, cultural and sports figures participated in the inaugural ceremony.[20]

The cauldron has the engraved phrase "Fin a la Colonia" (English: End to the Colony).[20]

Wakes at the AtheneaumEdit

Many wakes have been held at the Atheneaum.

Wednsdeay, 4 March 2015, from 10:00 a.m. till 2:00 p.m. the actor Braulio Castillo, The Athenaeum is custodian of the film library and documentation of the actor's career.[21][22][23][24][25][26]

March 2017 from 1:00 p.m. onward[27] actress and writer Brunilda García.[28][29][30][31][32]

7 November 2019 from 10:00 till 2:00 p.m. the television astrologer Walter Mercado Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced went and told the family she had decreed a one day of mourning.[33][34][35][36]

During the morning of 3 January 2020 from 9:00 till midday[37] of activist author Marisa Rosado of the Hostosian National Independence Movement, famed for her biography of Carlos Albizu Campos,[38] was mourned there.[39]

6 March 2020 from 1:00 p.m. till 6:00 p.m. Rafael Cancel Miranda. Maria Lourdes summoned female members of the PIP to receive him at the stairs in front.[40][41]


  1. ^ As of April 20, 2020. "Board of Governors". Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  2. ^ As of April 11, 2019. "Anual Report". Puerto Rico Department of State. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Ateneo-Ateneo Puertorriqueño". Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  4. ^ "Renuncia el presidente del Ateneo Puertorriqueño". El Nuevo Dia (in Spanish). March 5, 2015. Retrieved October 15, 2016.
  5. ^ "Historia". Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  6. ^ Gaudier, Martín. "El Casino de Mayagüez, la institución más antigua en su clase". Mayagüez Sabe a Mangó. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  7. ^ Ramos-Perea, Roberto (2011-11-18). "Lo que es y lo que vale el Ateneo Puertorriqueño". 80 Grados. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  8. ^ "Conferencia Magistral Nilita Vientós Gastón". Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  9. ^ Rodríguez-Otero, Eladio (2008). Obras Completas (PDF). San Juan, Puerto Rico: D’vinni. pp. 128–144. ISBN 978-0-9795080-5-9.
  10. ^ "El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico recibe prestigiosa Medalla del Centenario del Ateneo Puertorriqueño | ..:: La Prensa Salsera ::." (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  11. ^ "El Ateneo Puertorriqueño: 140 años de la Casa de la Nación Puertorriqueña" (in Spanish). 16 April 2016. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  12. ^ "Ateneo Puertorriqueño". Puerto Rico. 3 May 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  13. ^ "Reglamento del Ateneo para concesión de salones. 1937". 2015-05-11. Archived from the original on 2015-05-11. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  14. ^ Olivencia, Ricardo (2020-03-31). "Colocación de la primera piedra del Ateneo Puertorriqueño: Emilio del Toro, José M. Lago, Francisco de Paula Acuña, José Coll y Cuchí, Manuel Calderón, Ferdinand Cestero, Armando Miranda, Manuel Quevedo, Luis Villaronga y Ramón Carbia. San Juan, Puerto Rico. 27 de mayo de". @ricardoolivenc1 (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  15. ^ "Reglamento del Ateneo para concesión de salones. 1937". 2015-05-11. Archived from the original on 2015-05-11. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  16. ^ a b "El Ateneo". (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2020-07-27. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  17. ^ a b "Cátedra de Teatro-Ateneo Puertorrqueño". Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  18. ^ "Cátedra de Música". Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  19. ^ "The Rich Heritage of Ateneo Puertorriqueno". Archived from the original on 2020-07-27. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  20. ^ a b c d "Antorcha por la descolonización" [Decolonization Torch]. Primera Hora (Puerto Rico) (in Spanish). 2007-07-25. Archived from the original on 2020-07-27. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  21. ^ "Exponen los restos de Braulio Castillo en el Ateneo Puertorriqueño". Telemundo Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  22. ^ Expondrán a Braulio Castillo en el Ateneo, retrieved 2020-04-20
  23. ^ "Velarán cuerpo de Braulio Castillo, padre, en el Ateneo". Primera Hora. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  24. ^ Univision. "Velan con todos los honores a Braulio Castillo, padre". Univision (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  25. ^ "Don Braulio Castillo: Misión cumplida – Fundación Nacional para la Cultura Popular | San Juan, Puerto Rico" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  26. ^ Marzo 2015, Por: EFE | 04 de. "Familiares y amigos despiden al actor Braulio Castillo en San Juan". El Diario NY (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  27. ^ "Una serenata en memoria de Brunilda García Ayala". El Nuevo Dia (in Spanish). 2017-03-06. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  28. ^ Paralitici, Che (2017-03-06). "Continúa en el Ateneo Puertorriqueño el homenaje póstumo a la actriz-patriota Brunilda García. Esta noche un homenaje artístico es sumado". @Cheparalitici (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  29. ^ santiago, anamin (2017-03-06). "Cimarron en velorio de Brunilda". @anaminsantiago1 (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  30. ^ "Hacia lo alto, Brunilda García – Fundación Nacional para la Cultura Popular | San Juan, Puerto Rico" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  31. ^ Services, Inter News. "Muere actriz y escritora Brunilda García". Metro (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  32. ^ Services, Inter News. "Colegio de Actores de Puerto Rico llora la partida de Brunilda García". Metro (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  33. ^ Garced, Wanda Vázquez (2019-11-07). "Ofreciendo mis respetos al astrólogo y actor, Walter Mercado y su familia en el Ateneo Puertorriqueño. Les notifiqué el decreto de un día de duelo ante su fallecimiento. Que descanse en". @wandavazquezg (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  34. ^ "Gobernadora decreta un día de duelo por el fallecimiento de Walter Mercado | La Fortaleza". Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  35. ^ "Un día de duelo en el gobierno por Walter Mercado". Primera Hora. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  36. ^ "FOTOS Y VÍDEOS: Segundo día de actos fúnebres de Walter Mercado". Primera Hora. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  37. ^ Reveron, Wilma Esther (2020-01-02). "Los actos fúnebres de la escritora, líder cultural y patriota puertorriqueña Marisa Rosado: mañana desde 9 am a 12 pm en el Ateneo Puertorriqueño y luego de 3 a 9 pm en la funeraria Suchville en Caparra". @ReveronWilma (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  38. ^ "LC Catalog - Item Information (Full Record)". Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  39. ^ "Información sobre exequias de Marisa Rosado". Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  40. ^ Lourdes, María de (2020-03-05). "A las compañeras de "Las Lolitas": Como parte de las actividades de mañana viernes en la despedida de don Rafael Cancel Miranda, estamos convocadas para estar en el Ateneo Puertorriqueño a la 1 de la tarde para recibirlo en las". @marialourdespip (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  41. ^ "Muchos llegan para despedirse de Rafael Cancel Miranda". Primera Hora. Retrieved 2020-04-21.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 18°27′51″N 66°6′31″W / 18.46417°N 66.10861°W / 18.46417; -66.10861