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After we presented the story of a young fashion design graduate of the Altos de Chavón School of Art and Design (see part 1) and the interesting points of view of an artist who also graduated from the school (see part 2), there is no doubt how valuable the Chavon experience is to all who study there.
But the fact that a whole family has decided to start their academic studies in this school, reveals the important role the Altos de Chavon School of Art and Design plays in the education of Dominican and international artists.
We are talking about the family of Eddy Guzmán and Silvia Conde, who married in 1979, now have 3 daughters: Laura Amelia, Hulda and Julia. Incredibly all 5 family members have studied at Chavon.
The entire family have focussed their artistic careers in filmmaking, while one of the daughters has achieved recognition, with 2 films which has won a selection international awards.
The Guzmán-Conde family in Samana, Dominican Republic
Now lets get to know the Guzmán-Conde family and their passion for art…
Eddy Guzmán – Father
Eddy Guzmán describes himself as “a young man of sixty years”, who has been a photography lover since he was a child, and who was a pupil of Max Pou (an important Dominican filmmaker) in photography and film.
Amongst his studies, his experience with theatrical scenery in California stands out. “When I first arrived there, foreign films were just starting to be made throughout the US, I started from the bottom, learning from experienced people. My first job in film was to be an interpreter and driver for 9 months for the famous English Production Designer John Box, who worked on Sorcerer, and who at that time had 4 Oscars for Production Design. I remember he asked me to let him rest – because I asked him so many question.”
At that time Guzmán did many jobs as an assistant and then as an art director in films, videos and shorts.
Photography by Eddy Guzmán
“I first discovered Altos de Chavón when they invited me to be an Artist-In-Residence in 1982 after a scandalous photo exhibition at Casa de Teatro (in Santo Domingo). My work is based on portraits of my surroundings and friends, it was a very interesting experience, with which I could have fun and become close friends with other artists such as Anne Parker and Avon Neal, and also to share with teachers and the school team”, he explained.
At that time Guzmán was given a house located next door to the Altos de Chavón Archaeological Museum (what is now Rusticos y Mas) and there he mounted his exhibition with help from friend Jochy Russo, using white and black plastic curtains, a jukebox playing Bachata and a open bar for visitors.
Photography by Eddy exhibited in Altos de Chavón in 1983
“Actually it was very funny, I think that everything you do should be fun,” he said.
Eddy Guzmán graduated in 1984 in architecture from the Pedro Henríquez Ureña University (UNPHU). He describes architecture as one of his great loves and today works as an architect.
Sylvia Conde – Mother
Sylvia is an art film director in local and international productions.
She and her husband Eddy have been members of the community of Altos de Chavón since the 1980s, maintaining friendships with teachers and students of all generations.
“She was the first to support and encourage our daughters to start their studies at the Altos de Chavón School of Art and Design – which has a vision of excellence with impressive results,” Eddy Guzmán told us.
Sylvia Conde with Julia, her grandson and another artist in Chavón
“The leadership of Stephen Kaplan following the dream of Dominique Bludhorn, has always been accompanied by the highest professional and ethical sensibility, which has left indelible grooves in the history of the development of the Dominican Republic – always with an excellent team of professionals and teachers of high value, such as Carlos Montesino, Mark Lineweaver, Elías Roedán and the great Raúl Miyar.”
Laura Amelia – Daughter
Having graduated in Fine Arts and Illustration from the Altos de Chavón School of Art and Design, Laura Amelia continued her studies in the Film School of San Antonio de Los Baños in Cuba.
Laura with her 2 children; Bosco and Costa
Her first two films – “Cochochi”, made in Mexico and “Jean Gentil”, made in the Dominican Republic, both in co-direction with her Mexican husband Israel Cardenas – have won multiple international awards.
Jean Gentil –which is about a Haitian teacher seeking employment in a developing Dominican city– recieved numerous good reviews from international film critics after its premiere in 2011 (click here to watch the trailer), as well as being praised with multiple awards; Venice 2010, Thessaloniki 2010, Las Palmas 2011 and Guadalajara 2011.
Laura with her husband Israel and famous actress Geraldine Chaplin
Laura and Israel along with Dominican cinematographer Jaime Guerra now have a company called “Rayo Verde Post” based in the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo, where for the first time they will be able to do the post production and digital color correction of feature films produced in the Dominican Republic.
Currently Laura and her husband are working on a production that will be filmed this fall in Samaná with the famous actress and movie star Geraldine Chaplin (daughter of Charlie Chaplin).
Hulda – Daughter
Hulda is the second daughter of the couple, and graduated in Fine Arts at the Altos de Chavón School of Art and Design in 2004. There, she took advantage of a cooperative alliance between the Chavón School and the Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) to do a 3-year course of murals there.
In 2009, she was the winner of the Dominican National Visual Arts Biennial with her artwork “Omega marries my sister” and in 2012 was one of the winners of the Eduardo León Jimenez Art Contest with her piece called “Party in the Batey”.
Also, she had a self-portrait ( the right one) exhibiting- from June 19 to July 5 2013- in the prestigious William Road Gallery in London as part of the exhibition “Under Construction”: New Perspective on the Dominican Identity”.
Hulda (in the center) with her sisters
Julia – Daughter
She is the youngest of all the daughters and graduated in Fine Arts at the Altos de Chavón School of Art and Design in May of 2013. She is seen by her grandmother as the most complete of all her sisters.
She has already started working in film. We are sure a bright future awaits Julia…
This family has had a long and successful career in the world of art, which has been greatly influenced by the Altos de Chavón School of Art and Design. We look forward to hearing more about the successes of the Guzmán-Conde family!
Altos de Chavón School of Art and Design
The Altos de Chavón Cultural Center Foundation is a U.S. not-for- profit public charity that has a cultural and educational mission here in the Dominican Republic. The school is on a university level and offers an associate degree, with many students continuing on to Parsons School of Design (now called The Parsons New School For Design) in NY. Founded in 1983 to meet the growing commercial demands of the Dominican Republic, the School of Design offers an intensive two-year program leading to the degree of Associate in Applied Science.