Flamboyan is working closely with twelve arts organizations on the island to preserve, amplify, and sustain the arts in Puerto Rico with an additional round of grantees to be announced this summer. This series will spotlight all twelve Arts Fund grantee organizations.
Fall 2017 is a season Puerto Ricans will never forget. Hurricanes Irma and Maria made landfall and devastated the island in ways many people and infrastructures have yet to recover from. For artists – many of whom made their living as entrepreneurs – the economic impact of those storms has been overwhelming, as they’ve worked to not only piece together their lives and livelihoods back together, but also use the same artistry from which they’ve made a living, to begin their healing. For arts institutions – cultural organizations like museums, theaters, arts education programs, and music venues – decisions to cut back programming or shutter their doors altogether were realities they had to face everyday.
That is a travesty. From the dance of Bomba to the art of Décima and sounds of Trova, the arts are deeply embedded into Puerto Rican culture. When we polled residents on the island this spring to find out if they feel the arts are important to culture, It was no surprise that 100% of participants reported a resounding “yes!”
Those cultural implications, along with years of research-backed evidence that demonstrates the importance of the arts to student achievement, led Flamboyan Foundation to expand our work into the revitalization of Puerto Rico through the arts. Together with Lin-Manuel Miranda, his family, and Hamilton, we’ve created and house the Flamboyan Arts Fund. The Arts Fund is game-changing for the arts sector on the island and we expect that it will have far-reaching implications in promoting appreciation of Puerto Rico’s contribution to the arts worldwide. We’ve launched the fund with nearly $15 million raised from the historic run of Hamilton Puerto Rico in January 2019. The funds will support all genres 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 and for generations to come.
Because we recognize the inherent urgency of this work, before Hamilton Puerto Rico even opened, we announced funding commitments of $4 million to 12 truly incredible arts organizations working to preserve and promote the arts island-wide. The Arts Fund’s first grantees are: Andanza, Y no Había Luz, Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, Teatro de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Crearte, Decimanía, Taller Folklórico Central, Taller Cinemático, Música pa’ Culebra, Beta Local, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo and Ballets de San Juan.
These grantees have demonstrated their deep commitment to the arts and to education and we want you to get to know them as we have since the launch of the fund. Over the next twelve weeks, we will be introducing you to them through their responses to five questions we’ve asked them to reflect on.
Be sure to tune in next week as we get to know Decimanía, an organization that promotes international exchange among “trovadores”; incentivizes children to learn how to write and improvise in the art of the Décima; and educates audiences about one of the most important poetic traditions in Puerto Rico.
To learn more about the Flamboyan Arts Fund check out www.flamboyanartsfund.org.
Neeltje van Marissing Méndez is the Senior Director of Communications in our Puerto Rico office. Learn more about her at http://flamboyanfoundation.org/team_members/neeltje-l-van-marrissing-mendez/.