Centro de Economía Creativa and Mellon Foundation Announce “Maniobra” in Puerto Rico

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New Three-Year, $8 Million Initiative, Funded by the Mellon Foundation, Employs 37 Artists at 25 Organizations Across the Archipelago

(San Juan, Puerto Rico – May 2, 2022) The Mellon Foundation and the Centro de Economía Creativa (CEC) today announced Maniobra – a newly launched $8 million cultural employment initiative created to facilitate stable employment opportunities for artists while strengthening the administrative bandwidth of community-based cultural organizations across Puerto Rico. In its inaugural stage, Maniobra – named in reference to “the work of one’s hands” – is providing support  including salary, training, health and other benefits, and more to 37 artists and 25 artist-centric organizations across 12 municipalities. 

Puerto Rican artists play critical leadership roles within their communities, yet often live in a state of financial precarity, earning a median annual income of approximately $16,000 for their work, with 46% generating less than $12,000 annually. Through Maniobra, CEC and the Mellon Foundation underscore the labor of artists as valued work, while modeling remuneration that reflects artists’ formal education, experience, and contributions to society. 

“This initiative shines an important light on the economic state and personal well-being of the artistic community and centers both as priorities for philanthropy and cultural policy,” said Javier Hernández Acosta, Founder of the Center and Dean of the School of Arts, Design and Creative Industries at the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón. “Equity and salary justice within the arts had previously been relegated to a secondary agenda item, but we are now thrilled to work with the Mellon Foundation to advance this important work through real action.” 

Maniobra provides participating organizations with the financial support needed to hire at least one full-time artist and $20,000 yearly budget to support the organization’s programming and creative projects over the entirety of the three-year initiative. The funding will not only strengthen organizations’ artistic programming and financial stability, but will also serve as a pilot that could be expanded in the future and has the potential of driving philanthropic support to a more holistic approach. 

“Lifting up and celebrating the creativity of Puerto Rican artists, writers, and performers means granting them the resources they need to pursue their callings, supporting the archipelago’s artistic and cultural organizations, and broadly fostering the work and preservation of Puerto Rican culture at a time when stable employment and funding for these efforts has been imperiled,” said Elizabeth Alexander, President of the Mellon Foundation. “We are honored to support Maniobra, and excited to see the work that comes from this remarkable initiative.” 

Prior to the launch of Maniobra, CEC and the Mellon Foundation collaborated on artists-centered initiatives including the development of Nido Cultural – a platform created to support management services for artistic and cultural production in Puerto Rico, as well as on an initiative aimed at Mapping of Cultural Work in Puerto Rico. Maniobra was inspired by Creatives Rebuild New York (CRNY) – the $125 million Mellon Foundation-backed initiative created to help reactivate the creative economy of New York State and secure the future of its artists. 

The artists selected for Maniobra, which commenced in early April, were selected by an advisory team of key stakeholders from the local artistic community. Considering the diversity of practices and approaches across the islands, collectives and organizations were selected based on their rich experience in artistic and cultural work. 

“In addition to supporting these artists, we also expect to strengthen the work of the collectives and organizations by providing technical and managerial support as well as operational budgets for the execution of the initiatives,” said Sonia Méndez, Program Manager of the Centro de Economía Creativa, Inc. “It also represents a unique project that not only offers the artist a salary, but also fringe benefits and health care coverage.”
 
To learn more about the projects and initiatives of the Centro de Economía Creativa, you can visit its social media accounts or Centro de Economía Creativa Website. 

List of Artists and Organizations

Agitarte, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Deborah Hunt (visual and performing arts)
Marian Annette Rodríguez Morales (visual arts)

Agua, Sol y Sereno, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Cristina Vives Rodríguez (music and performing arts)
Kenneth Salgado Barreto (visual and performing arts)

Archivo de Vieques, Vieques, Puerto Rico
Sofía Gallisá Muriente (visual arts)
Diana Ramos Gutiérrez (cultural agent)

Barrioization, Manatí, Puerto Rico
Rubén Rolando Solla Rosario (visual arts and cultural agent)

BEMBA PR/ Taller Lumpen, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico
Cristian J. Laracuente Vázquez (visual arts)

Beta-Local, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Michael Linares Vázquez (visual arts)
Nibia Pastrana Santiago (performing arts)
Pablo Guardiola (visual arts)

Casa de Arte y Cultura Playa Ponce, Ponce, Puerto Rico
Diógenes Ballester (visual arts)

Casa Pueblo Adjuntas, Adjuntas, Puerto Rico
Hector Danny Torres (visual arts)    
Verónica Aponte Sepulveda (visual arts)    

Casa Silvana, Humacao, Puerto Rico
Edwin Velázquez Collazo (visual arts and cultural agent)

Colectivo Ilé, Caguas, Puerto Rico
Angellie González Jorge (performing arts)

Colectivo Moriviví, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Raysa Raquel Rodríguez García (visual arts)
Sharon N. González Colón (visual arts)

Corporación Piñones se Integra (COPI), Loíza, Puerto Rico
Malcom Ferrer Andino (visual arts)
Maricruz Rivera Clemente (cultural agent) 

El Ancón de Loíza, Loíza, Puerto Rico
Juan Pablo Vizcaino Cortijo (visual arts)

El Cuadrado Gris, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Osvaldo Forbes (Ozzie Forbes) (cultural agent)
San Juan

El Lobi, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Vanessa Hernández Gracia (cultural agent)

Hidrante, San Juan, Puerto Rico
José López Serra (visual arts and cultural agent)

Km 0.2, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Karlo Andrei Ibarra (visual arts) 
Roberto “Yiyo” Tirado (visual arts)

La Casa de los Contrafuertes, Proyecto de Artista, Inc., San Juan, Puerto Rico
Charles Juhász-Alvarado (visual arts)

La Impresora, Isabela, Puerto Rico
Amanda Hernández (literature)
Nicole Delgado (literature)

LaBoriVogue, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Edrimael Delgado Reyes (performing arts)

Taller Malaquita, Bayamón, Puerto Rico
Rosenda Álvarez Faro (visual arts)
Zuania Minier Jiménez (visual arts)

Parceleras Afrocaribeñas por la Transformación Barrial (PATBA), Carolina, Puerto Rico
Carla Denise Santiago Quirós (performing arts)

Taller Comunidad La Goyco Inc, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Mariana Reyes-Angleró (cultural agent)

Taller Libertá / Vuelta Abajo, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico
Ketsia Camacho Ramos (cultural agent and literature)
Noa Dimedetti (visual arts)

Taller Salud, Loíza, Puerto Rico
Saudi Morales Rodríguez (performing arts)

About The Centro de Economía Creativa

The Centro de Economía Creativa, Inc. is organized as a non-profit civic entity founded in 2020 in order to provide support to the nonprofit sector through educational tools, management services, and identification of resources for their sustainability. The organization focuses its services and support in arts and culture with the belief of the important role these activities have in society and the economy. More information at Centro de Economía Creativa. 

About the Mellon Foundation

The Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. Learn more at mellon.org.



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