The $25,000 Fellowship, Newly Open to Playwrights, Will Begin Accepting Applications in March 2024
(SAN JUAN, PR AND NEW YORK, NY – Embargo Until January 23, 2024 at 11 AM EDT/ 12 PM AST) Today, the Mellon Foundation and the Flamboyan Foundation’s Arts Fund announced a three-year continuation of the Letras Boricuas Fellowship. With three new cohorts added, the Fellowship is projected to support 100 writers over five years, awarding over $2.5 million in total.
Established in 2021, the fellowship aims to identify, elevate, and amplify the voices of emerging and established Puerto Rican writers across literary genres, including fiction, creative nonfiction, children’s literature, poetry (including spoken word), and the newly added category of playwriting. Individuals interested in applying visit www.letrasboricuas.org for more information; applications will open on March 15, 2024, at 8 am EDT/9 pm AST. Writers selected to receive a fellowship will be awarded an unrestricted grant of $25,000 each to further their literary practice.
The continuation of the Letras Boricuas program underscores the enduring commitment of the Mellon and Flamboyan Foundations to empower and uplift Puerto Rican writers and to bolster the dynamic and diverse literary heritage on the archipelago and across the U.S. diaspora. In its first two years, Letras Boricuas awarded a total of $1 million to forty writers, many of whom have persevered in their craft despite significant challenges, including natural disasters, political unrest, and limited funding opportunities.
“The Letras Boricuas fellowship gave me hope, strengthened my relationship with my fellow authors on the island, and connected me to a community of Boricua writers that transcend the geographical boundaries of Puerto Rico,” said Carlos Vázquez Cruz, Letras Boricuas Fellow.”
“The Letras Boricuas fellowship recognizes the work of writers representing the different voices that, through various literary genres, encompass the spectrum of the Puerto Rican experience,” said Carlos Rodríguez Silvestre, Executive Director of Flamboyan Foundation Puerto Rico. “The Flamboyan Arts Fund works tirelessly to support all facets of the arts community, including literature, a part of the artistic sector that is often ignored or left behind. This renewed commitment from the Mellon Foundation is proof of the great work both organizations have done and the positive impact the fellowship has had in the Boricua literary sector.”
“This renewal of the Fellowship for an additional three years reinforces Mellon’s commitment to the vast multiplicity of Puerto Rico’s literary tradition and to the brilliant writers who continue to lead it,” said Elizabeth Alexander, President of the Mellon Foundation. “We are pleased to join the Flamboyan Foundation again in honoring the discipline, artistry, and craft of writers in the archipelago and diaspora, and we look forward to the powerful work that these fellows will create.”
The Letras Boricuas Fellowship further reinforces the Foundations’ commitment to investing in the archipelago’s cultural infrastructure and ensuring that the ideas and creative visions of Puerto Ricans today have the opportunity to reach a wider audience. Since 2018, the Mellon Foundation has invested over $60 million in a multi-year initiative aimed at rectifying past underfunding on the archipelago and within the U.S. diaspora. The initiative addresses pressing needs and establishes enduring artistic, educational, intellectual, cultural, and archival resources for the future.
The Flamboyan Foundation has worked through its Flamboyan Arts Fund initiative to preserve, amplify and strengthen the arts in Puerto Rico. In the past three years, the Fund has disbursed over $12 million and has provided critical support to over 600 artists and 100 arts organizations. In 2020, the two foundations worked together in immediate response to the COVID-19 pandemic to establish a $1 million Emergency Relief Fund to help alleviate the devastating impact of the pandemic on the arts and culture sector in Puerto Rico, providing crucial support to 89 art organizations and 600 individual artists.
To be eligible for consideration for the Letras Boricuas Fellowship, writers must be 21 years or older at the time of application, current residents of Puerto Rico or the United States, and self-identify as Puerto Rican. Fellows will be chosen through a two-step nomination and selection process by committees members, including experienced writers and literary experts selected by the Mellon Foundation and the Flamboyan Arts Fund.
Applicants for the Fellowship’s third cohort can submit applications at www.letrasboricuas.org starting on March 15, 2024, at 8 am EDT/9 pm AST through April 30, 2024, at 4 pm EDT/5 pm AST, and fellows will be announced in fall 2024.
For more information, visit: https://flamboyanfoundation.org/beca-letras-boricuas/
About The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. Learn more at mellon.org.
About Flamboyan Foundation
Guided by the belief that all children deserve the opportunity to live a fulfilling life, the Flamboyan Foundation works to ensure every child in the US and Puerto Rico receives an outstanding education. In Washington, DC, Flamboyan is accelerating student learning by helping educators and school systems transform their relationships with families. In Puerto Rico, Flamboyan is ensuring students are reading in Spanish on grade level by third grade while building a thriving philanthropic and nonprofit sector, which includes arts and cultural organizations. http://www.flamboyanfoundation.org
About Flamboyan Arts Fund
The Flamboyan Arts Fund is a partnership between Flamboyan Foundation, Lin-Manuel Miranda, his family, and the Broadway musical Hamilton to preserve, amplify, and sustain the arts in Puerto Rico. Since Hurricane María devastated the island last year, many artists and arts organizations like museums, theaters, arts education programs, and music venues are at risk of cutting back services or closing. The fund supports all facets of the arts community including music, theater, visual arts, dance, literature, and youth arts education to ensure that the arts and culture continue to flourish during the rebuilding of Puerto Rico.