Summer Hogan and her husband Miguel moved to Rincon, Puerto Rico, in 2007. They acquired The Uncharted Studio 16 years ago from Anthony (Tony) Dooley, an artist, photographer, deep sea diver, and spear fisherman who has done positive things in the Rincon community. Established in 2005, The Uncharted Studio is an environmentally conscious silk-screening printing house and retail store located on Plaza Pública in Rincon. Summer had always admired The Uncharted Studio and thought it was an iconic business in Rincon. Tony wanted to pursue other avenues in his life, including starting a family. Summer happened to be at the right place at the right time; she felt like it fell right into her lap. Summer calls herself a “serial entrepreneur,” typically having more than one business running at one time, including her bikini brand Seaglass Swimwear. Her first business was online retail, and now she has come full circle 20 years later to have a brick and motor store. She said, “I thought they would be extinct by now.” The Uncharted Studio was already an established business, but she had her own ideas of how she wanted it. “It’s evolving into what I’ve dreamed it to become; it’s taken many years to get it to where it is now. I’m the kind of person that likes to take things one step at a time. One little change will lead to another little change and another little change.”
When Summer came to Puerto Rico, she heard from others that business is seasonal and that shops shut down during parts of the year, but she found that it was not exactly true. Yes, from the months of November through April, Rincon attracts its largest influx of travelers and vacation homeowners. This six-month season provides the year’s income for most businesses and families in Rincon, but she found the rest of the year holds a steady flow of tourism as well. Upon taking over The Uncharted Studios, there were four open businesses in the plaza. Noting that tourists were busy during the day, surfing, lying on our beautiful beaches, and all the wonderful things Puerto Rico has to offer, and very few people were walking around town shopping. The Uncharted Studio and other businesses in Rincon were only open during the day and missed out on a lot of foot traffic in the evening. Restaurants were open, but besides that, visitors didn’t have anything else to occupy their time. One of the first things Summer did was extend her hours and commit to being open 365 days a year, holding later hours of operation, and she is busy pretty much every single day.
A pivotal moment for Summer came in 2013 when she and Tony were discussing how to get more business in the downtown core and revitalize Rincón’s economic infrastructure. Summer felt that having her business open longer was a service to the community, but more needed to be done. That was when the idea of the Art Walk began, with the help of community members Vanessa Rodríguez, Anthony Smith (Taller Caribe), Melvin Cardona (Dulcis Vita), and Addie Canino (Sabai Tao), and many others Art Walk was created to support starving artists and business owners. According to an article in Rinconvenient Truth, Rodriguez remembered, “Artisans would be the ones coming into our store asking for help. They needed help selling their jewelry, selling their craft.” On Art Walk nights, Summer would transform her business into a live music stage and an art gallery for local talent. As Art Walk became more popular with the locals’ word quickly traveled, more artisans settled around the plaza to sell their original pieces, and more customers poured in every month to buy them, becoming a community effort, tradition, and economic hub in the small surfing town. Because of this constant growth, in 2014, the art collective decided to take Art Walk from a monthly event to a weekly one. Now there is rarely any empty business space available to rent.
The Uncharted Studio showcases local Puerto Rican artists from Rincon, Aguadilla, San Juan, and other areas that are using locally made products from the island. Our brick-and-mortar shop houses an array of our own screen-printed apparel, local one-of-a-kind artwork, photography, jewelry, accessories, and more. For things that we can’t make ourselves, we try to get artisans here to make them, but if we can’t, then we find other eco-friendly sources. Many of Summer’s artisans are displayed in the shop; this is their number one source of income. She said, “This makes me proud to be helping local artisans get their art out into the world.”
Art Walk isn’t the only event that Summer has collaborated with; there are many community entities that have approached her for fundraising help, and one of her favorites to work with are marine scientists Chelsea and Evan Tuohy at Isla Mar Research Expeditions. Whenever someone comes to her with a good cause and needs a helping hand with fundraising, they try to help in any way, it usually needs to have an eco-friendly motive, and she tries to get other businesses to help as well. Collaborating with others helps us use our resources, abilities, and strengths to come up with something greater for the community in Rincon. She believes that there is strength in numbers! We can make big changes when we are all working together. Living in Puerto Rico for 16 years, she has seen massive changes in Rincon when the community comes together. Education and continuing to work together is the key. Summer and her family have made it work, and so many others have as well.
The Uncharted Studio 6 Calle Sol Rincon, Puerto Rico 00677
Monday 11 am to 6 pm
Tuesday 11 am to 6 pm
Wednesday 11 am to 6 pm
Thursday 11 am to 10 pm
Friday 11 am to 8 pm
Saturday + Sunday, 11 am to 8 pm
The Art Walk is held in the town’s central plaza – Plaza Pública, every Thursday evening from 6-9 p.m. About 25 to 30 vendors of local artists selling handmade crafts, clothing, and jewelry using local and recycled materials in their art. You’ll also find live music, dance performances, traditional foods, and desserts.
Article about the Art Walk A Rinconvenient Truth Jun 27, 2019, by Lauce Colón Perez