After creating the Broadway musical Hamilton, Tony Award–winning playwright, producer, actor, and singer Lin-Manuel Miranda has kept busy. He appeared in last year’s film Mary Poppins Returns, and now he has a recurring role on the HBO TV series adaptation of the “His Dark Materials” trilogy. As it turns out, he has an art-related project in the pipeline, too.
As part of a partnership with Miranda, the online platform Google Arts and Culture has embarked on a massive digitization project at four art institutions in Puerto Rico. The collaboration was formed after Miranda’s recent visit to the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña in San Juan, which currently lacks a permanent space for exhibitions of its collection. Miranda, who is of Puerto Rican descent, joined forces with Google Arts and Culture to spotlight the territory’s history and art in a forum that is accessible around the world.
The project, which launched on Thursday with 350 artworks added to Google Arts and Culture’s website, will highlight pieces from the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico, and the Museo de Arte de Ponce. Thousands of additional works will be photographed using Google’s ultra-high resolution Art Camera, and they will be digitized by international Google Arts and Culture teams in the coming months.
María del Mar Caragol, editorial director of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, told ARTnews that Miranda and his family “have been doing incredible supporting efforts towards the art community in Puerto Rico” in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, adding that this digitization effort will give international audiences “an idea of our national identity.” (One of Miranda’s past efforts was the establishment of a multi-million dollar fund to support the arts in Puerto Rico.)
“Even though so many Puerto Ricans have migrated out of Puerto Rico to look for other opportunities, this is a way for them to reconnect to their roots and and stay connected to who they are,” she said.
Artworks of a range of mediums—including paintings, works on paper, engravings, and wood carvings—created by Puerto Rican artists will be available for viewing online. Pieces by José Campeche y Jordán, Rafael Tufiño Figueroa, Francisco Oller, Daniel Lind-Ramos (whose work appeared in the 2019 Whitney Biennial), María de Mater O’Neill, and others figure in the first group of works to be digitized.
Simon Delacroix, U.S. lead for Google Arts and Culture, said that this “first step towards sharing these artistic treasures with the world” aligns with the platform’s mission to “democratize access to art, making it accessible to anyone, anywhere…. We hope people feel inspired to learn more about Puerto Rico’s culture.”