ROCIO HERRERO RIQUELME

 Rocio overlooking the village of La Alberca during a Pueblo Inglés English immersion.

Rocio overlooking the village of La Alberca during a Pueblo Inglés English immersion.

In 2012, I discovered an amazing program called "Pueblo Inglés," where I went to Spain for 8 days to volunteer in an English immersion for Spaniards.  Little did I know then that this trip would literally change my life, and introduce me to some of the best people on the planet.  At the top of that list is my dear friend Rocio. Since 2012, I've returned to Spain many times, and each time Rocio has taught me more about that beautiful country and its many wonderful historical secrets and art treasures. Plus, we've had a lot of fun, both in Spain and the US. I think everyone should know get to know Rocio, learn about her love of art, and find out why she is indeed so very Agenda Worthy.

Name: Rocío Herrero

Hometown: Algeciras - Cádiz - España

Current City: Madrid - Spain

Past work experiences: Lecturer of Art History at the university. 

Can you tell me a about your how work as a university professor helped you to prepare for your current role at Mapfre?

I’ve taught several subjects related to Art History at the university for 18 years. Some of my specialty fields are artistic posters, Spanish Cultural Heritage, and Spanish Tourism History. 

Mapfre Foundation is an important cultural entity in Spain and America. I was commissioned by the director of Mapfre Foundation, because he arranged a show related to the art collection which is exposed in the PARADORES NACIONALES (State Hotels). That´s how my collaboration with MAPFRE Foundation began.

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Rocio, when I think about art and art appreciation, I immediately think of you. Have you been an art lover your entire life? 

For sure! I’ve loved art my entire life. I remember perfectly when I was a child and I saw for my very first time the palace of the Alhambra in Granada, the Prado Museum in Madrid, and the church of Santa María del Mar in Barcelona.

But, the best is that I remember not only when I visited these places but also, I remember my feelings and the happiness in my soul. I wanted to know what they meant, who created them, why they are there…. and above all, I sensed the need to learn more about them.

When I was traveling and finding other artistic treasures in Europe or America, I felt the same feelings, and the conclusion was always the same: to learn is to respect.

What are your favorite art museums around the world?

Well, I have a lot of favorite museums. Some of them are the Prado Museum (Madrid), MNAC (Barcelona), MOMA, Whitney Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, D´Orsay, Uffizi (Florence), and Bargello (Rome). 

But honestly, any setting where a work of art is found is perfect - a small museum, an archaelogical site, a charming old street - it is a good place to stop, to feel, to smile, and to keep walking ahead. 

For instance, the last “magical moment” which I felt this sensation was at the Milwaukee Art Museum with Cornelia Parker’s work, “The English Edge” and Gabrielle Munter’s painting, “Portrait of a Young Woman.” It’s just to get into a place and discover the “treasures” that people have created over the years with vocation and care.

  Gabriele Münter  (German, 1877–1962)  Portrait of a Young Woman (Bildnis einer Jungen Dame) , 1909

Gabriele Münter (German, 1877–1962)
Portrait of a Young Woman (Bildnis einer Jungen Dame), 1909

What are five places you’d advise a visitor to Madrid to see? 

Ok, here we go: 

Paseo del Prado, a promenade where several important institutions are located - City Hall, important museums, and the most important fountain of the city, Cybeles, an icon of Madrid. 

Cristal Palace in Retiro Park. It´s a hidden and romantic place.

The Temple of Debod, an Egyptian temple which was made in the 2nd century BC. It isn´t only the architecture of the monument that makes it special, it´s also the setting, in the most western part of the city. During the sunset everything changes - colors, rhythm, atmosphere, air… and there is a beautiful view of the cathedral and the Royal Palace. 

The Basilica of San Francisco el Grande has a dome of 33 meters which covers the entire building. It´s awesome to attend a concert in its interior. I remember listening to the Requiem by Verdi here. It was unforgettable. 

The old taverns in the center of the city.  If one walks through Madrid de los Austrias, where time has stopped, you can find small and gorgeous places to have a glass of wine. The possibility of imagining how the city was in the past is something I try to recreate as much as I can.

Speaking of Madrid, it’s interesting to hear how women around the world go through a “day in the life.” Can you tell me what a typical day looks like for you? 

Usually, I go to work happy and with energy because I learn something new every day. It’s very important to enjoy my tasks and to make the day easy for my collegues.  We spend many hours at the office, and, sometimes work can be hard. That’s why I try to work with kindness and respect.  I read a lot of things about art, but I also read poetry (I think poetry gives peace to the soul.) and I always take time to speak with friends and family (they are my suport and my “fuel”). I also like to run on weekends. The best is the time I spend with Rodrigo. He is not just my husband, he is my friend, my buddy, and he makes me laugh every day!!! After 20 years together, he can’t understand how I’m still in love with him. (He says, “Cupid didn’t throw an arrow at my heart, but Cupid threw me a stone in the head.”) But, the fact is, he has always risen to the challenges and the most difficult times of my life. He is a gentleman.

 Enjoying art with Rodrigo.

Enjoying art with Rodrigo.

How do you stay balanced/healthy?

I stay balanced by enjoying the tasks of my job, listening to people (I love the stories of everyday people), learning from the simple things which are around me, and taking my time to think-meditate for a while.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?

If I could live anywhere in the world, it would probably be the South of France or Italy. But, I think I haven´t found yet that “special place in the world.” Probably it doesn’t exist, because we have it inside of ourselves. 

Favorite Book: Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel García Márquez)

Favorite Quote: Your mood (or state of mind) is your destiny. Tu estado de ánimo es tu destino. (Herodoto, Greek geographer and traveler who lived in the 5th Century BC)

Favorite artist:  It´s impossible to name just one artist… each one has given something original and creative. That´s why they are different and special. 

Advice to Younger Self: The important thing is not to be the first/best, the most important thing is to accomplish your goal, sooner or later, but always enjoy life. We must learn and fill ourselves with knowledge, experiences and sensibility while we follow our goals. 

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Who would you say is an Agenda Worthy Woman in your life? 

My sister Kika, and many friends of mine: Nora, Charo, Teresa, Beatriz, Carmen, Macarena, Eugenia… all of them are wonderful women and I learn from them every minute I am with them. That´s why I try to get time to share time with them. It´s pure magic. It´s LIFE.

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