Collection of santos, other artwork opens gallery anniversary

September 9, 2014

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Kicking off University Gallery’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2015 is “Come Home; Selections from the Collection of Hector Puig,” featuring selections from the art collection of Hector Puig.

A native of Puerto Rico, Puig is a Gainesville resident who has acquired an outstanding collection of Puerto Rican santos, or carved items, along with artwork ranging from regional to international, and including influential University of Florida art faculty members, students and alumni, as well as renowned artists from the U.S., Mexico and South America. The exhibition is on display in UF’s University Gallery through Nov. 7.

The exhibition is free and open to the public and includes a public reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Sept. 25. The reception will feature DJ music by John Polefko, dancing in the University Gallery courtyard, carving demonstrations by guest artists (santeros) and a special film screening at 8 p.m. of “La Churona” by the Latino Film Festival in the Fine Arts B theatre, which will be attended by the film’s director, Maria Cristina Carrillo. Additionally, “Come Home; The Santos of Pedro Pablo Rinaldi, Jose Luis Pena Burgos, Orlando Luque and Eric Saunders”will be on display in Grinter Gallery through Oct. 31.

“Come Home combines 250 santos, representing 250 years of this 500-year-old traditional carving medium history in Puerto Rico, with approximately 200 pieces of other contemporary work,” said Amy Vigilante, director of University Galleries. “An inclusive catalog features two essays by UF professor Efrain Barradas, images as well as commentary by artists in the show about each other. In conjunction with ‘Come Home is Por Amor al Arte,’ a celebration of Latino culture created through a community collaboration.”

Here is a look at the other “Por Amor al Arte”events happening throughout Gainesville Sept. 25-27:

Sept. 26:

  • 10 a.m.-noon: Selections from the Puig Collection will be on display and there will be a santeros carving demonstrations at the Oak Hall Cofrin Gallery; free and open to the public
  • 6-10 p.m.: Artwalk Gainesville will feature Selections from the Puig Collectionin 4Most Gallery, 534 SW 4th Avenue; free and open to the public
  • 8-10 p.m.: A Night in el Barrioin Downtown Gainesville will feature Latin Fusion music by Tropix and guest santeros carving demonstrations; free and open to the public

Sept. 27:

  • 6-9 p.m.: A reception for “The Heart of a Culture: The Santos of Xavier Colón Marrero”will be held at the Thomas Center in Gainesville. The exhibit, on display Sept. 27 through Jan. 3, 2015, features 25 santos carved by the 23-year-old artist who was recently honored with the prestigious Fomento Medal as Young Artisan of the Year by PRIDCO.

For more information, please contact the University Gallery at 352-273-3000 or visit