Altos de Chavon

Davidoff Art Initiative breaks ground in Chavón for first new construction in 38 years!

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Dominique Bludhorn Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard Stephen Kaplan Claudio Silvestri“38 years ago we had shovels here as well, and that might have been the last time we had shovels here.. and it was when another very forward thinking and visionary chairman decided to start the construction of Altos de Chavón,” were the opening words of Dominique Bluhdorn, president of the Altos de Chavón Cultural Foundation at the recent groundbreaking ceremony for the Davidoff Art Initiative in Altos de Chavón. 

38 years ago, Charles Bluhdorn, the father of Dominique and head of the Gulf + Western empire, who at that time owned Casa de Campo and the South Puerto Rico Sugar Company, today Central Romana, founded Altos de Chavón. Nothing more than, what Dominique describes as “the top of a hill with a lot of vegetation on it and nothing else”, Altos de Chavón has, over the last 38 years, blossomed into a cultural and artistic centre not just in the Dominican Republic, but in the entire Caribbean.

Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard Claudio Silvestri

Today with the start of the Davidoff Art Initiative, and the first new construction in Altos de Chavón for almost 4 decades, we celebrate the start of a new chapter in the history of Altos de Chavón and the arts in the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean.

“We are creating something special in Altos de Chavón. Our secret mission is to make sure that Chavón is positioned as the greatest place of arts in the entire Caribbean,” said Claudio Silvestri, president of the Casa de Campo resort.

The groundbreaking of the new artist studio facilities for the Davidoff Art Residency at the Altos de Chavón School of Design took place on Saturday March 1st and was the culminating event of the first Davidoff Art Weekend. At the future location of the facility, designed by architect Adolfo Despradel director of planning and design for Costasur, Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, President and CEO of Oettinger Davidoff AG alongside Dominique Bluhdorn, Claudio Silvestri and Stephen Kaplan dean of studies at the School, took part in this momentous occasion.

“The establishment of the international residency program at Altos de Chavón is the next significant step for the Davidoff Art Initiative,” said Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, President and CEO of Oettinger Davidoff AG. “For Oettinger Davidoff, our aim is to give back to the cultural community, where much of our production and so many of our employees are based. The inaugural Davidoff Art Weekend brought the arts community together to focus on a shared mission. We are delighted to be working with Altos de Chavón School of Design and Casa de Campo to help make our long-term mission a reality in the Dominican Republic.”

Also in attendance to witness this pivotal moment was a number of former Altos de Chavón students, international guests and artists, as well as a number of Casa de Campo VIPs such as Philip Silvestri, CEO and founder of SILGON, creators of CasaLife and whose web design division recently launched the new website of the Altos de Chavón School: www.altosdechavon.edu.do

Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, Stephen Kaplan, Raquel and Eduardo Lima
Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard Stephen Kaplan Raquel Lima Eduardo-lima

Following the ceremony guests enjoyed a cocktail celebration at The Gallery in Altos de Chavón, where the impressive works of students of the School as well as former artists-in-residence were on display as part of the Art Chavón exhibit. Joining the group for the cocktail was Eduardo Lima of Central Romana, who has been instrumental in making the Davidoff Art Residency a reality.  The celebration then continued with dinner served on the romantic terrace of the La Piazzetta restaurant in Altos de Chavón.

Construction of the new artists in residence facility will start this year, and The Davidoff Art Residency at the Altos de Chavón School of Design will welcome its first five international artists in January 2015, thus helping further the ties between the local art community and the larger art world.

The following collection of photos were taken during the groundbreaking ceremony for the new artist studio facilities for the Davidoff Art Residency at the Altos de Chavón School of Design in Casa de Campo on Saturday March 1st: 

Davidoff Art Weekend in the Dominican Republic

Among other events of the weekend were: the Davidoff Art Dialogue at the Museo de Arte Moderno in Santo Domingo; a private preview of the solo exhibition by Dominican artist Jorge Pineda (who will be participating in the Davidoff Art Residency at Künstlerhaus BethanienBerlin, in April 2014); and cocktails at the Museo de Arte Moderno, as well as several museum and gallery visits (Centro de la Imagen, Bellas Artes, Casa de Chavón, Lucy Garcia Gallery and Lyle O. Reitzel Gallery). Guests, including Amanda Coulson, co-founder/executive director of VOLTA and director of the National Gallery of The Bahamas, Holly Bynoe, co-founder and editor of ARC Magazine, Annalee Davis, founding director of The Fresh Milk Art Platform in Barbados, and Irene Hofmann, director/chief curator of SITE Santa Fe and SITElines, were introduced to the arts community, galleries and artist studios in Santo Domingo before traveling to Casa de Campo and Altos de Chavón for the groundbreaking ceremony.

The program was aimed at continuing the dialogue to bring critical attention to the arts and artists of the Caribbean and Dominican Republic, and to celebrate the groundbreaking presence of the Davidoff Art Initiative in the region.

The Davidoff Art Residency

Construction of the new artists in residence facility will start this year, and The Davidoff Art Residency at the Altos de Chavón School of Design will welcome its first five international artists in January 2015, thus helping further the ties between the local art community and the larger art world.

The Davidoff Art Residency is the cornerstone of the Davidoff Art Initiative and seeks to offer opportunities for the creative exchange between the Caribbean and Dominican Republic and the rest of the world. Beginning in January 2015, each year, the Davidoff Art Initiative will welcome five international artists to Altos de Chavón School of Design to be immersed in the culture of the Dominican Republic and explore the richness of the region for three months.

The Altos de Chavón School of Design

The Altos de Chavón School of Design is a study center of global impact, a pioneer in the teaching of art and design in the Dominican Republic. Founded in 1983 to meet the growing commercial and industrial demands of the Dominican Republic, The School offers degree programs in all areas of art and design in formats long and short duration: Graphic Design, Fashion Design, Fine Art, Illustration, Digital Design, Interior Design, Photography, Film Production and Architecture.

For more information, please visit: altosdechavon.edu.do

The Davidoff Art Initiative

The Davidoff Art Initiative supports contemporary art and artists in the Caribbean, strengthens art organizations in the Dominican Republic, shares knowledge and expertise about contemporary art, and fosters cultural engagement between the Caribbean and the rest of the world.

At the core of the Art Initiative, Oettinger Davidoff aims to give back to cultural community of the Dominican Republic, where much of the company’s production and many of its employees are based, bringing opportunity and visibility to the art and culture of the Caribbean region and extending the company’s long-standing commitment to artistry, craftsmanship, community, and quality.

The Davidoff Art Initiative’s four global program areas are: Davidoff Art Residency, Davidoff Art Dialogues, Davidoff Art Grants, and Davidoff Art Editions.

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