Puerto Rican Arts Development Initiative

  • Rivera-Servera, Ramon H (PD/PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Between September 6 to 16, 2017, Puerto Rico was hit by hurricanes Irma and Maria in what amounts to the most damaging environmental disaster in its recorded history. Over one million were left without electricity for months in the longest continuous blackout in the United States, tens of thousands lost their jobs, thousands lost their homes, and over sixty their lives. Significant infrastructural, agricultural, environmental, health, and economic challenges remain in what has been an immensely difficult rescue and recovery effort. More than 400,000 Puerto Ricans have left the Island territories over the six month period since the summer storms. The cultural and artistic sector was especially hit as theatre, exhibition, and workshop spaces went dark and artists, who depended on employment in the service sector, lost jobs to shut-down establishments. Most affected have been artists in performance, ephemeral, and community engaged art genres whose work does not necessarily yield collectible objects. It is in response to this critical situation in Puerto Rico, and with an understanding that artists and their practices should play an important role in the recovery efforts, that Northwestern University (NU) proposes to partner with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation on an arts development initiative to support contemporary artistic practices with strong community engagement components on the Island. The Artist Incubator will offer a cohort of ten early to mid-career artists a professionalization and developmental residency experience, a project commission, and mentorship support (by ten established artist active on the Island) over the course of the grant period. The project is being developed in close collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Puerto Rico (MAC) and La Espectacular Artist Residency Program, two key platforms for contemporary arts practice on the Island with sustained residency programs. To support this program, NU requests $500,000 from the Mellon Foundation, to be spent over two years beginning July 1, 2018.
Effective start/end date7/1/186/30/20


  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (1803-05644)


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