Several weeks after Hurricane Maria blew through, fewer than 15 percent of Puerto Ricans have electricity, according to governmental reports, and living conditions have grown increasingly dire. Some in the art world are looking to help, and the latest news includes two notable foundations: the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, which together will work with Hamilton actor and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda to offer a grant of $300,000 for hurricane relief. (Miranda will be working on behalf of the Hispanic Federation Relief Effort.) The grant will go to El Serrucho: Hurricane Maria Emergency Fund, which is being run by the San Juan-based arts organization Beta-Local, a nonprofit that supports artists and institutions in the U.S. territory.
In a statement, Kathy Halbreich, the newly appointed executive director of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, said, “When something unsettles our field as urgently as Hurricane Maria did to the thriving artists’ community in Puerto Rico, prompt and collaborative action can make a real difference to people’s sense of immediate security as well as their ability to imagine a productive future. I am thrilled that the organizations of three deeply innovative and fearless artists—Warhol, Rauschenberg, and Lin-Manuel Miranda could quickly band together to make a difference in the lives of artists in dire need.”
Beta-Local will now create a new series of artist grants to continue work after the devastating storm. The organization’s co-director, Sofía Gallisá, said in a statement, “This is a defining moment for our country and our cultural scene, and we want to do all we can to foster its continued development because we know cultural agents will be invaluable in this recovery process.”