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.
CREARTE is synonymous with Ubuntu, a South African word that encompasses the philosophy of community and loyalty, respect and trust towards others, teamwork, sharing, solidarity, and avoiding individualistic thinking. Ubuntu! is the motto that drives CREARTE every day in the communities they serve.
CREARTE is an artistic institution that offers services aimed at helping children and young people between 4 and 21 years old residing in high-risk communities to develop values through the arts. CREARTE offers social services and educational programs in the communities it serves, operating two centers in high-risk communities in San Juan and Yabucoa, Hurricane Maria ground zero.
We have asked them to answer five questions about their work and the future of their organization. Here is what they shared:
What’s the story behind the creation of CREARTE? What motivated you to found it?
CREARTE Inc. began to offer its services in the community of San José, San Juan, in September of 2001. Its history goes back several years prior, when a group of young Catholics who were concerned about the social inequity children in Puerto Rico were facing decided to put words into action for the benefit of this population.
The main objective was to help establish the necessary connections and skills that children and young people need to achieve their full potential as individuals. They are invited to actively participate in programs aimed to build character and acquire values that promote healthy emotional development. Young people participate in an integrated curriculum of artistic and recreational activities, support in academic performance, and non-traditional strategies addressing different learning styles. CREARTE has impacted more than 5,000 children and exhibited their creative work in more than 15 venues around the island.
What are your major achievements?
We have won the Tina Hills Award twice, once in 2007 and again in 2018. This award is given by the Ángel Ramos Foundation and is the most important recognition a nonprofit organization in Puerto Rico can receive. We have also been awarded the Miranda Foundation Solidarity Prize in 2010, and the Premio Uno given by First Bank of Puerto Rico in 2014, among others. Also, for our commitment to the environment, we received the Green Flag recognition by the Sustainable Pro-Environment Organization (OPAS), in recognition that both of our facilities sustain a highly ecological environment. In 2008, the Non-Profit Evaluation & Resource Center gave us an honorary distinction for demonstrating institutional excellence.
In the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and María, we provided first response attention to over 8,000 families, including the installation of solar electrical systems to 65 homes, lighting poles, and the distribution of electrical appliances to 22 families.
What was the reality of your organization before receiving the Flamboyan Arts Fund grant?
Hurricane Maria accelerated the economic crisis that already existed on the island. Before receiving the Flamboyan Arts Fund grant, CREARTE was in a delicate fiscal situation as a result of the reduction and cuts in funding from the government and other institutions.
How are you using the funds you received?
It has been a privilege to receive this grant from the Fund. They believed in our work and encouraged us to continue with our artistic projects with greater enthusiasm. Therefore, we are using the funds to continue our programmatic work and support the team so we can carry on with the work that has characterized us for the last two decades.
What do you think about this collaboration between the Flamboyan Foundation, Lin-Manuel Miranda, his family and the producers of Hamilton to create the Flamboyan Arts Fund to support arts and culture in Puerto Rico?
The extraordinary importance that has been given to the arts, the visibility to the organizations, the contribution to the communities – among others- is indispensable to us. The passion, the love, and the commitment shown to the island through this initiative makes Puerto Rico stand out, and it motivates the growth of the finest and most beautiful attributes in our people. The Flamboyan Arts Fun is keeping the spirit of Ubuntu with us!
Look out next week for another opportunity to meet a Flamboyan Arts Fund inaugural grantee! Learn more about the Arts Fund @ http://www.flamboyanartsfund.org.
Rosiris Ramos Meléndez is the Communications Manager in our Puerto Rico office. Learn more about her at http://flamboyanfoundation.org/team_members/rosiris-a-ramos-melendez/.