U.S. Embassy Montevideo - Archives



Adair Margo, Chairman of the President's Council on the Arts and the Humanities completes extensive visit to Uruguay

October 4, 2004

The Honorable Adair Margo was in Uruguay last week on an extensive visit, liaising with local artists, learning about Uruguayan art and culture, and sharing the Council's work with the Uruguayan people through lectures and tours.

[U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi]
(R to L) Adair Margo with artist Carlos Paez Vilaro, accompanied
by the U.S. Ambassador's wife, Mrs. Audrey Silverstein,
and Paez Vilaro's wife Annette.
The visit kicked off with a tour of the Casapueblo Workshop Museum in Punta Ballena, where she met with renowned Uruguayan artist Carlos Paez Vilaro and his wife Annette. The museum houses a large portion of the artist's work, paintings, ceramics and sculptures, most of which he completed throughout his career in various countries around the world. Casapueblo is also the artist's home, a massive construction he designed and built over the past 50 years on a cliff overlooking the sea.

Mrs. Margo's tour of Punta del Este included a visit to Parque de la Percepción, a botanical park overlooking Laguna del Sauce that includes a studio where artists are invited to do their work in an inspiring natural setting.

In Montevideo, Mrs. Margo visited two widely known stores operated by the organization "Todos por Uruguay", a NGO which main objective is to provide improved income sources for artisans and women from rural areas. "Hecho Aca" sells a variety of products made by artisans from throughout Uruguay, while "Mesa Criolla" sells canned and other food products that are prepared by rural women living in areas of scarce income opportunities. The Uruguayan First Lady, Mercedes Menafra de Batlle, is closely involved in this project, and the stores are widely known for the quality of their products, form crafts to souvenirs, and home made breads to specialty liqueurs.

[U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi]
Adair Margo and Mrs. Audrey Silverstein are cordially
received by the staff of "Mesa Criolla"
Adair Margo lectures at Legislative Palace. [U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi]
Adair Margo tours Legislative Palace. [U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi]
Next day, Mrs. Margo visited the Legislative Palace, where she spoke to a group of artists involved in Ambassador Fernandez-Faingold's "The Uruguay Foundation for the Art". The topic was on "How the (p)arts contribute to the whole". Many of the artists had visited or exhibited their art in the U.S. and were interested in Mrs. Margo's presentation which included anecdotal references to her hometown El Paso, Texas, as well as her work with local artists, many of whom from Mexico and other Latin-American countries.

She also toured the Legislative Palace where she had the opportunity to admire its formidable architecture and the extensive collection of national artwork housed in its finely decorated halls.

On an unrelated leg of her tour, Mrs. Margo was invited by the U.S. Ambassador's wife, Mrs. Audrey Silverstein, to visit a women's shelter run by the Center for the Promotion of Human Dignity (Centro de Promoción por la Dignidad Humana - CeProDiH). Mrs. Audrey Silverstein is actively involved in this non-profit organization that works with women and children in precarious situations, to bring them off the streets and back on their feet, through training and reinsertion in the labor force. Ms. Adriana Abraham, director of CeProDiH explained how the center works to help these women who are mostly single mothers, often victims of spousal abuse or abandonment, and are unprepared to fend for themselves.

[U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi] [U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi]
Mrs. Adair Margo and Mrs. Audrey Silverstein are greeted by children and mothers at shelter run by CeProDiH

Education Minister Leonardo Guzman and Adair Margo. [U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi]On Wednesday, Mrs. Margo met with Uruguayan Minister of Culture and Education, Dr. Leonardo Guzman, in order to sign a shared commitment to bi-national cultural cooperation between the U.S. and Uruguay.

Through the agreement, both countries became committed to have the rich, diverse, and creative aspects of their cultural expression and heritage reach wider audiences, and to collaborate in the vital task of cultural preservation. Both governments thus recognize that a nation’s cultural life contributes to the vibrancy of its society, the dynamism of its economy, and the strength of its democracy, and the need to expand access to cultural markets to a larger number and variety of artists in both countries, involving a wider range of regions, cities, institutions, and individuals, through increased bi-national cultural exchange. (See related article.)

Later in the day, she visited former Uruguayan President Dr. Julio Maria Sanguinetti's residence, where, in company with U.S. Ambassador Martin J. Silverstein and his wife Audrey Silverstein, she viewed one the most impressive private art collections in Uruguay. Dr. Sanguinetti, an avid art connoisseur who also dabbles in painting, showed off some of his own work as well, and conversed at length with Mrs. Margo about the history and evolution of Uruguayan art.
[U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi]
Former Uruguayan President Dr. Julio Maria Sanguinetti, guides
Mrs. Margo, U.S. Ambassador and Mrs. Silverstein
through his art collection.

Adair Margo and Audrey Silverstein visit museum. [U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi]

Adair Margo lectures at the Bank Boston Foundation Center. [U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi]

Accompanied by Audrey Silverstein, Mrs. Margo later visited Uruguay's most prominent art museum, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. They were received by the Director, Dr. Angel Kalenberg, who guided them through a number of exhibits on display, including one featuring emergent female artists.

In the evening, Mrs. Margo gave a lecture at the Bank Boston Foundation Center for a group of cultural management students. She talked about the role of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Many of the students in the program are working professionals who after graduating from the program may seek positions in local museums, theatres, hotels, embassies, or local government. The students attending this lecture were interested in how the Committee works and Mrs. Margo own experiences with her gallery.

Wrapping up her 5 day visit, Mrs. Margo toured Museo Zorrilla, where in addition to a number of exhibits by local artists, she was able to see first hand the private studio where the renowned national sculptor Jose Luis Zorrilla de San Martin did most of his work. Upon arrival to the museum she was met by Ms. Susana Nunes, president of the board, along with several other board members, and very unexpectedly by Ines Zorrilla, daughter of the famous sculptor.

[U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi] [U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi]

[U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi][U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi]
Ines Zorrilla (sunglasses) accompanies Mrs. Margo and Mrs. Silverstein through Juan Luis Zorrilla de San Martin's private studio.



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