Like many others who have contributed essays to CEGRA (Centro de Enseñanza Gráfico, Caracas) catalogues, the Venezuelan curator María Elena Ramos (b. 1947) was a teacher at this institute. She writes for her students, and does so with a teacher’s sense of pride. She also trains her curatorial eye on the various works in the exhibition and separates them into categories: some focus on the female body, others on the expressionist body, still others simply on the form, while others study color, light, or the landscape. Her essay presents a curatorial view of emerging artists trained by CEGRA that conveys a sense of the institute’s creative freedom grounded in technical rigor. The poet Ida Gramcko (1924–94), who was also a teacher at CEGRA, wrote an essay for the following graduation (“Última promoción”, CEGRA, 1990) [see 1154332], in which she reviews each graduate’s work, but her literary style is such that her descriptions are not as clear as those provided by Ramos. Little did she know that those were the institute’s heydays and this was actually the penultimate graduation. She discusses a couple of the exhibitions featuring recent CEGRA graduates at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, and claims that, in her opinion, CEGRA was “one of the most significant initiatives in Venezuela’s visual education,” barely three years before it closed.
CEGRA was in fact closed in 1990 and incorporated into the Instituto Superior de Arte, IUESAPAR (Instituto Universitario de Estudios Superiores de Artes Plásticas Armando Reverón, in 1991). It was subsequently absorbed by the Universidad Nacional Experimental de las Artes (UNEARTE, in 2008), both of which were schools in Caracas.