Project Arte Sana

In response to the devastation cased by hurricane Maria, Villa Carmen Atelier has created project Arte Sana to support the process of healing and rebuilding. At this turbulent time in Puerto Rico's history, the arts are needed to stimulate growth and innovation in our communities. Project Arte Sana is designed to spearhead projects for arts advocacy and cultural preservation of Puerto Rican art and culture. Our initiatives invite international artists to focus on community-based projects in Puerto Rico. Through our diverse partnerships, the museum and residency- this initiative will create free programs and a safe space for art while promoting creative and financial stimulus for our communities.


Current Project

Sin Cita

Sin Cita (“Without Appointment”) is a learning journey across Puerto Rico – an opportunity as artists to listen and engage with vibrant and vulnerable communities, while examining our own approaches and strategies to instigate positive social change. In a symbolic effort to mark two years since the arrival of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, members of four arts and culture organizations are initiating a 114-mile solidarity walk across Puerto Rico, from September 7 - 20, 2019.

Screen Shot 2019-10-02 at 2.35.30 PM.jpg

Our intention is to explore what’s possible when people look inward to revive traditions and cultural practices that support the spiritual and material development of communities. 

The walk will be captured in a series of video vignettes and a short documentary film featuring interviews with artists, community leaders and others along the route who can express the change, growth, joy, and adversities that residents on the island continue to experience today.

Starting in Quebradillas, in the northwest corner of the island where Hurricane Maria rejoined the sea, the group will walk a diagonal trajectory across the Cordillera Mountains to the southeast coast where the storm first made landfall in Yabucoa on September 20, 2017. 

At the conclusion of the walk, the collective will convene at the historic Villa Carmen Atelier, where we will share our experiences and findings with the artist community in San Juan.

In 2017, Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated vast tracts of land across the archipelago of Puerto Rico, leaving in their wake an unprecedented natural disaster, exacerbated by a man-made disaster - by way of the U.S. government’s willful negligence in providing a timely or adequate response to the crisis.

“The essential is invisible to the government”.

“The essential is invisible to the government”.

The organizations and individuals participating in the Sin Cita/Without Appointment collaboration are: ArteSana (, a San Juan-based community museum and art space dedicated preserving the cultural legacies of Puerta de Tierra; Amber Art & Design (, a Philadelphia-based public art collective that facilitates social/economic/political transformation through the arts; and Ken Johnston, an intrepid hiker responding to the call of social change, history and ancestral spirits (

Sin Cita was born out of our shared interest as a group of concerned international artists focused on ways of advocating community partnership, collaboration and the development of individual cultural expressions towards the advancement of social justice and in defense of basic human rights in Puerto Rico and beyond. 

For more information, groups or organizations wishing to participate in the walk, or to serve as a host family in Puerto Rico, may email us at


Villa Carmen Artist in Residence: 

Johan Figueroa-González

Johan Figueroa in Washington Square Park, NYC

Johan Figueroa in Washington Square Park, NYC

On November 15th a New York Times front page article introduced the art of Johan Figueroa-González to the world. Since then his “living statues”, which he presents in public spaces and monuments, has captured the imagination of people the world over. During this Arte Sana residency Johan will develop new works to be presented in the Festival de San Sebastian in Puerto Rico as well as upcoming festivals in Belgium and London.

While working at Villa Carmen Atelier Johan will be in collaborating with Puerto Rican theater group Sembrando Conciencia. In addition to developing new performances, this collaboration will produce an ongoing program at Villa Carmen to train other artists in these public theater techniques. This program will help Puerto Rican artists to generate money during this difficult time and revitalize public spaces across Puerto Rico. 

Johan's work has captured the imagination of notable figures who've come to Puerto Rico to document his work. Danielle Rose, award winning film maker from Columbia University is currently shooting a documentary on Johan Figueroa's acclaimed performances in New York. She will finish her shooting at Villa Carmen during his residency. Johan's work was also documented by world renown National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry.