Lin-Manuel Miranda

Source: Wiki Commons

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda, family and Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller announced on Sunday (July 22) the launch of the Flamboyan Arts Fund in partnership with the Flamboyan Foundation in a bid to support the arts in Puerto Rico after last year’s devastating Hurricane Maria.

The category 5 hurricane made landfall on the Caribbean island last September and a recent Harvard study estimates the death toll could reach as high as 4,600 – far greater than the official number of 64. By several estimates, damage to the island could be as high as $90bn.

The creation of the Fund, which coincides with Miranda’s return to the title role in Hamilton at the University of Puerto Rico from January 8-27, 2019, will be dedicated to supporting institutions and arts groups as well as independent artists, musicians, galleries.

One of the Flamboyan Arts Fund’s first philanthropic goals is to establish an Actors’ Equity-approved theatre at the University of Puerto Rico to entice future professional touring productions to the Caribbean island.

The repairs to the theatre, which was badly damaged by Maria, are being supported by the Fund with additional support from inaugural grants by Warner Bros, Loretta and Victor Kaufman, and anonymous donors. Airbnb will donate a portion of fees from trips to Puerto Rico over the June-September 2018 period to the Fund.

Since Hurricane Maria devastated the island last September, arts and cultural organisations have faced severe reductions to grants, government support and sponsorships, and lower attendance and revenue.

Some have reduced staff significantly, such as the Andanza Dance School and Company and the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, while others have closed.

“As someone whose life has been transformed by the power of the arts, and who has witnessed the incredible healing, growth, stability and wellbeing that cultural institutions can bring to local communities, I cannot stand idly by and watch Puerto Rico’s arts and culture scene suffer,” said Miranda. “And that is exactly why we have created the Flamboyan Arts Fund.”

The Flamboyan Foundation was chosen to house the Fund because of its decade-long track record of strengthening education in Puerto Rico and their deep commitment to and presence on the island.

“At Flamboyan, we want all children to live fulfilling lives,” said Carlos J. Rodriguez Silvestre, executive director of Flamboyan Foundation in Puerto Rico. “Access to the arts helps children thrive. We know that the arts provide immeasurable benefits to students, both socially and academically. As a cornerstone of Puerto Rico’s vibrant culture, the arts community provides important historical connection and creative expression that impacts education and spurs economic development. We are honored to partner with Lin-Manuel, his family and Hamilton to continue strengthening the arts community and preserve cultural connections for Puerto Rico’s families.”

All profits from Hamilton‘s engagement in Puerto Rico will be donated to the Flamboyan Arts Fund. And, in order to maintain accessibility to the arts for all, 9,600 tickets will be available for the Puerto Rico engagement of Hamilton via digital lottery for $10 each. Miranda’s blockbuster stage play Hamilton recounts the life of American founding father Alexander Hamilton and has won numerous Tony Awards, a Grammy, and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for drama. 

Local companies Banco Popular and Church’s Chicken are providing sponsorships that will support the Flamboyan Arts Fund. Marriott International is pledging a portion of each hotel room at its 11 local properties on the Island booked from December 2018–February 2019 to the Fund.

Initial grantees of the Flamboyan Arts Fund are: Andanza Dance School & Company, arts-in-education organisation Create, Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, Y No Había Luz Theater Company, and Teatro of the University of Puerto Rico.

As part of the initiative, Miranda and his family, in conjunction with Flamboyan Foundation, will also advocate for public and private funding for the arts to ensure that the momentum built over the next three years continues beyond the scope of the Fund.

For additional information about the Flamboyan Arts Fund, or to make a direct donation, click here.