Janice Aponte is a Chicago based fine artist from Ponce, Puerto Rico. She grew up in Manhattan, New York and relocated to Puerto Rico to continue her studies obtaining a business degree in Accounting. She chose to live in Chicago with her family and now currently works at her art studio at Workshop4200 located in the heart of Logan Square. Her pieces are inspired by her travels, her native island of Puerto Rico, and now her hometown Chicago. She uses a variety of tools to create texture in her paintings, including pallet knives, brushes, sponges, combs and her bare hands. She work in layers, to add more depth and substance to her pieces. Her work is a mix of expressionism and realism that evokes femininity, love and her cultural roots through the dance of color. Aponte founded Arte al Rescate alongside Erica Sanchez and is on a continuos journey to aid Puerto Rico through the visual arts.
Erica Sanchez is a Chicago native, and has lived in Logan Square all her life. She received her BS from Roosevelt University. Currently she is a Senior Accountant for a Commercial Real Estate Firm. Erica has a strong sense of community and draw to the not for profit sector. She counts youth art programs, theater and travel among her interests.
Denise Aponte, AAR Board Member,New York
Denise Aponte is a New York City Primary School teacher. She completed a BA in Social Work in the Pontifical Catholic University of Ponce, Puerto Rico and a Masters Degree in Special Education from Bank Street College of Education in the City of New York. In 2018, she was awarded the HEART AWARD at her school for her compassion and dedication to her students. On her down time, she enjoys writing and painting in acrylics. She enjoys spending time with her grown up kids and her greatest passion is her grandson. She enjoys watching him learn new things and providing him with many, many learning experiences.
Katherine Rodriguez, ARR Board Member - Forth Worth,Texas
Katherine Rodriguez is a Dallas, Texas based artist originally from Ponce, Puerto Rico. Since her childhood Kathy always surrounded herself with arts and crafts. As an adult, the love of art was born from the darkest depths of her soul. Her active depression caused emotions that were instrumental in her artistic development and expression. Her work materialized in 2014 as the only Puerto Rican artist to collaborate in "Painting One Parking Meter at a Time" in Oak Cliff in Dallas, Texas. This is where the artist was born, with freedom to reflect the colors of her soul. Today, her creations capture her personality on canvas and express the great love of living. Rodriguez’s fascination with acrylics and watercolors translates into emotional art pieces capturing her spirit, giving her the ability to connect and move people. In her work you can feel and see the love of her origins through the portrayal of nature and her cultural roots. Her art is a reflection of her soul and deepest emotions, stimulating all her senses and that of the viewer who sees it.
Antonio Sierra Velazquez, ARR Distribution and ART Workshop Leader - Puerto Rico
Artista visual, educador y gestor cultural. Graduado de maestría en Artes en Educación con especialidad en Museología de la Caribbean University en Bayamón. Posee un bachillerato en Educación del Arte de la Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Diseño de Puerto Rico. Actualmente se destaca como artista plástico y miembro activo de la junta administrativa de la Asociación de Artistas Plásticos de Puerto Rico (AAPPR). Es Co-Fundador y Director Creativo del Colectivo Sembrando Conciencia (2010). Ha transmitido cursos de artes visuales y talleres culturales en instituciones como la Escuela Especializada de Bellas Artes en Ponce, el Museo de Arte de Ponce, Centro Residencial de Oportunidades Educativas de Villalba (CROEV), entre otros. Como artista muralista ha coordinado proyectos en Morovis, San Juan, Ponce, Coamo y Peñuelas. En el 2017 obtuvo el premio del público en el 1er Salón Bienal de la AAPPR y Mención Honorífica en la categoría de Pintura en Certamen Artístico y Literario 2013 del Ateneo Puertorriqueño (2015). Como gestor cultural ha trabajado el registro y coordinación de exhibiciones de arte como “Convergencia en medio de la pandemia” (2020), “Eva” (2019), “Cenizas” (2018) y el “Proyecto de Arte: Pintando Tus Valores Humanos” (2019-2020). Desde el año 2020 colabora con la organización sin fin de lucro Arte al Rescate y el Colectivo Artistas Pa’l Sur.
Priscila Vidal Madariaga, ARR Distribution and ART Workshop Leader - Puerto Rico
Tanya Sanchez, ARR Distribution Coordinator - Puerto Rico
Tanya Sanchez is a teacher in Las Piedras, Puerto Rico.
SarahJoy Salazar Aponte, AAR Missionary Austin,Texas
In 2012 SarahJoy quit her desk job at a prestigious video game company to go work on an organic farm in the middle of nowhere Texas.The seeds planted during that time took root in her heart and her passion for organic agriculture continued to grow.
At the age of 20 she learned about her Puerto Rican roots after meeting her birth family for the first time. She took a few short trips to the island over the years, then decided to take a more extended trip in August 2017 to take Spanish classes and learn about the organic farming community there.
She was in Ponce with family when Hurricane Maria struck, laying waste to her farming plans and so much more. After several weeks, and as the news of how vast the devastation was came to light, she decided the best thing to do at that moment was to begin growing food. After two weeks in Ponce without power or communications she made her way to San Juan While brainstorming one night with a good friend and PR native, Alivio Verde was born. You can read more about what they are up to on the Alivio Verde page in our Sponsors tab of our website.
Tiffany Rivera, AAR Missionary - Florida
On December 2, 2017 Tiffany Rivera traveled to Ponce Puerto Rico to receive an award on behalf of her aunt Janice Aponte for Arte al Rescate. It was soon after seeing with her own eyes the level of destruction and the help needed in her hometown, she decided to take action and become an activist for the people and help through Arte Al Rescate. She called her aunt and shared her stories, her encounters with so many families that needed not only repair to their homes, but clothing, sandals, basic necessities, beds to sleep in, the list was endless. Tiffany was so moved emotionally she simply said..."I want to help, I can help" and another team member was born. Tiffany has a strong management background in the hospitality industry and currently resides in the state of Florida.
Erik Perez, Graphic Designer
Raised on the south side of Chicago, a childhood dream of Erik’s was becoming a Disney cartoonist, being able to draw Mickey Mouse and friends as a career. This dream was the fuel that lead him to picking up his first pencil. While growing up, drawing and doodles were everything, often choosing this over schoolwork. Knowing school was important however, he took a few courses in animation from Columbia College Chicago and later went on to attend Westwood College. It was here that Erik received an AA in Graphic Design and Multimedia, graduating at the top in his class. After receiving his associates degree Erik then decided to make the return back to Westwood College for his BA in Game Art and Design. Continuing his work as an artist, Erik has also participated on five independent comic books, and more than one series of comic strips. Some of which were published in the Aurora local news paper for over a year. Erik currently released his own line of children’s books based on his children Mia (10) and Lincoln (6). For more information visit
Maria Serbia, Event Coordinator
I grew up on the Northside of Chicago and have been involved in helping others from a very young age. As the daughter of Deacons “Love thy Neighbor” became a way of life for me. After graduating from High School, I obtained a Certification as a Financial Analyst and worked for several banks in the city of Chicago. After 21 years at Fifth Third Bank I returned to Citibank where I was one of the first Hispanic woman Personal Bankers. A divorce and a shift in gears later I started my first business "Sophimar Event Planning".
Fast forward today my life changed drastically due to living with Sarcoidosis. It was then I decided to begin my own business creating Non GMO organic Flans. Latinos love Flan and it is a staple at most of our celebrations but unfortunately diabetes runs rampant in the Latino community. This is how "Flancy Flan Creations by Maria" was born! I am excited about the future and the success of my Flans currently being sold at various restaurants in Chicago.
I met Janice and Erica last year and immediately knew I had to help these two brilliant woman with their passion to help our beloved Puerto Rico. I am honored and fulfilled to be a part of the restoration after the devastation caused by Maria. I have a daughter and two granddaughters and look forward to taking them to see our Island. It brings me a great sense of peace knowing that through Arte al Rescate I helped in a small way.