San Juan, Puerto Rico, April 28, 2020 – To help mitigate the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the arts and culture sector in Puerto Rico, the Flamboyán Arts Fund has joined forces with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from Broadway Cares, to launch a $1 million emergency relief fund to support individual artists and cultural organizations. The Flamboyán Arts Fund is a partnership between Flamboyán Foundation, Lin-Manuel Miranda, his family, and the Hamilton musical.
“In these times of crisis, we have turned to the arts as a source of entertainment, comfort, and education. This Emergency Relief Fund will provide much-needed help for the arts and culture sector, which is suffering from a dramatic loss of income due to canceled events, closure of venues, and inability to sell goods and services. We are honored that the Mellon Foundation and Broadway Cares have partnered with us to bring economic relief and support to Puerto Rico’s artists,” said artist Lin-Manuel Miranda.
“These grants are designed to ensure that we have strong arts programming to come back to post pandemic. Our commitment to our grantees -and the larger arts community- is unwavering and these funds will ensure that organizations can not only take their programming virtual during this time, but also ensure they can operationally survive this unprecedented health crisis,” said Carlos Rodriguez, Executive Director of Flamboyán Puerto Rico.
Emergency relief funds will be made available to support arts organizations and individual artists. These arts organizations can apply through a very flexible process for grants of $5,000 to $20,000 to use toward covering staff salaries, rent, and other basic needs during the emergency. Organizations can also use grant funds to cover the cost of creating or expanding virtual programming, including staffing and technology equipment and services. Grant sizes will be determined based on the need and size of the organization.
The Emergency Relief Fund will also partner with local organizations Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico and Km 0.2 to deploy grants of $600 to over 200 individual artists. These organizations previously launched efforts to provide micro-grants to artists, to overwhelming demand. These additional funds from the Emergency Relief Fund will match these micro-grants and provide funding to even more artists impacted by the emergency who had previously applied. There will also be limited funding available for artists who did not previously apply. Artists of all disciplines can apply for funding through either Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico or Km 0.2.
“As Puerto Rican artists and arts organizations confront these challenging times, which come in the midst of a decade of economic crisis, significant declines in government funding, and a stream of natural disasters, they continue to remind us of the unique power of the arts to cultivate hope, process collective trauma and grief, create light, and imagine new possibilities,” said Mellon Foundation President Elizabeth Alexander. “We are proud to support this vital effort and call on others to join us in investing in the future of Puerto Rico’s vibrant and resilient culture.”
To document the impact of the crisis on the island’s arts and culture sector, the Flamboyán Arts Fund conducted a needs assessment survey among organizations currently supported by the Fund. Across 44 arts organizations in Puerto Rico, organizations reported $1.8 million in economic losses since the beginning of March, with projected losses reaching $2.5 million by June. The most pressing needs reported were funds for staff salaries, technology and infrastructure, and funds for operations.
“The COVID-19 emergency represents a serious risk to artists and arts organizations, most of whom were already in a precarious economic situation after a decade of economic crisis, significant declines in government funding, and three years of natural disasters such as the 2017 hurricanes and 2020 earthquakes on the southeast coast,” said Rodriguez. “That’s why this Emergency Relief Fund is a crucial measure to protect our arts and cultural sector.”
Arts organizations can submit applications for these funds online. The priority deadline will be May 5th, but applications received after that date will also be reviewed and evaluated.
About Flamboyán Foundation:
Guided by the belief that all children deserve the opportunity to live a fulfilling life, the Flamboyán Foundation works to ensure every child in the US and Puerto Rico receives an outstanding education. In D.C., Flamboyán is accelerating student learning by helping educators and school systems transform their relationships with families. In Puerto Rico, Flamboyán 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 Flamboyán Arts Fund:
The Flamboyán Arts Fund is a partnership between Flamboyán Foundation, Lin-Manuel Miranda, his family, and the Broadway musical Hamilton to preserve, amplify, and sustain the arts in Puerto Rico. Since Hurricane Maria 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.