Puerto Rico is so much more than a tropical paradise.
Puerto Rico is synonymous with culture. You can experience the island’s identity through its art, music, dance, literature, theater, and much more as you travel across the island. It is an amazing time to appreciate the island's creative output because Puerto Rico’s vibrant arts community is experiencing a renaissance.
Following the extreme damage caused by Hurricane María in September 2017, the island’s cultural organizations faced serious reductions to funding from grants and sponsorships, as well as drops in attendance. Committed to giving back to the island that is so dear to his heart, Lin-Manuel Miranda, his family and the production of HAMILTON, partnered up with the Flamboyán Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, to create the Flamboyán Arts Fund – an effort dedicated to revitalizing and invigorating the arts community in Puerto Rico.
“As someone whose life has been transformed by the power of the arts, and who has witnessed the incredible healing, growth, stability, and well-being that arts and culture can bring to local communities, I cannot stand idly by and watch Puerto Rico’s arts and culture scene suffer, and that is exactly why we have created the Flamboyán Arts Fund,” said Lin-Manuel during the introduction of the initiative at the Puerto Rico Museum of Art.
Providing Aid to the Arts
The Fund is intended to aid organizations in the arts, cultural, and creative fields — including theater, dance, music, visual arts, film, and literature — for the implementation of artistic and educational programming, as well as outreach, technical assistance and other vital aspects that are essential for long-term sustainability. Puerto Rico’s arts community has many stories to tell, and the Fund’s mission is to help stabilize the creative sector and ensure that families and communities have spaces to connect and share.
The $14.5+ million fund includes corporate sponsorships from the historic three-week engagement of HAMILTON at the Luis A. Ferré Performing Arts Center in January 2019 (starring Lin-Manuel Miranda), as well as private donations and proceeds from premium tickets. Private donors include Oprah Winfrey, who committed $1 million donation to the Fund. Arts and cultural institutions in Puerto Rico, and independent cultural workers, were asked to submit proposals in the Spring of 2019 for a third round of grants.
Projects already funded include $1 million for the restoration of the Theater of the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus, birthplace of the world-renowned Casals Classical Music Festival. The iconic building reopened in March 2019 with a concert by Puerto Rico’s legendary Salsa music ensemble, El Gran Combo.
Other grantees include Andanza Dance Company, CREARTE (asts-in-education organization), Beta Local, Ballets de San Juan, Música Pa’ Culebra, Taller Cinemático, Taller Folklórico Central, Y No Había Luz Theater Company, Puerto Rico Museum of Art, Decimanía, and the Puerto Rico Museum of Contemporary Art.
“I was so moved by Lin-Manuel Miranda’s commitment to bring HAMILTON to Puerto Rico and support the community that served him growing up that I wanted to join in the revitalization efforts of an island so rich in culture, beauty and heritage,” Winfrey told Reuters.
While in Puerto Rico, make sure to check out the island’s cultural and artistic offerings, and experience this exciting rebirth! From concert arenas and museums, to theaters, art schools, music and films festivals, small cabarets, historic site tours, and more, you’re bound to find something for you and your family.
While much has been accomplished to redevelop the island’s arts community since the storm, there is still much to be done to continue to restore opportunities for the island’s artists. The Flamboyán Arts Fund has facilitated the first steps into a long-term commitment to generate a renaissance of the arts across the island.
To find out more about the Flamboyán Arts Fund, as well as ways in which you can help arts and culture community continue to thrive in Puerto Rico, visit the organization's official website here.