While San Juan’s got the buzz and the swagger, Puerto Rico’s second-largest city, Ponce, just a 90-minute drive to the south, maintains a quiet dignity. Gracious municipal buildings exemplify La Ciudad Señorial (The Noble City), especially its centerpiece, the Ponce Art Museum. Designed by famed architect Edward Durell Stone, who also planned Washington D.C.’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the museum reopened in late 2010 after a major renovation. The mid-1960s landmark is notable for its twin marble staircases, hexagonal galleries, and impressive collection of European masters (Rubens, El Greco, and Velázquez). Influential Puerto Rican painters such as José Campeche also get plenty of display space. The grounds showcase Roy Lichtenstein’s sculpture “Brushstrokes in Flight.” (787) 840-1510, museoarteponce.org.
This story appeared in the November/December 2011 issue.