Emerging Artists Readiness Program in Puerto Rico
The Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF+) is excited to announce that we recently concluded our first Emerging Artists Readiness Program in Puerto Rico, thanks to funding from the Windgate Foundation. CERF+ partnered with Centro de Economía Creativa to conduct the Emerging Artists Readiness Program in Puerto Rico, which began with focus groups and conversations with artisans to learn about their needs. These early conversations revealed that most of the participants lacked formal business training, adequate workspaces, and equipment necessary for healthy and sustainable work practices. This program was then tailored to address these areas to help the artists strengthen their careers.
Eighteen artisans participated in the program. Half were craft artists representing a variety of disciplines, and the other half consisted of percussion instrument makers. The program focused on general training, specialization training, and direct technical support through mentoring and funds to help them develop their work plans. Training workshops were held during the spring of 2023 and focused on improving skills in marketing, business development, product design, and manufacturing. Each workshop lasted two hours. Two of the workshops (Development of Proposals and Work Plans and Budgets and Finance Projections) were mandatory and attended by all participants. In addition, participants were free to attend other workshops in business planning, marketing and communications, and business operations. All participants achieved the eight hour training requirement, and most voluntarily exceeded that requirement.
Upon completion of the workshops, participants worked individually with professional mentors to develop their own work plans. The mentors for this program were Arq. Javier De Jesús, Dr. Siri Rolón, Dr. Marlene Colón, Dr. Javier Hernández, and Sonia Méndez, all of whom have significant expertise in multiple areas of cultural business development.
When the participants submitted their final work plans and completed all other requirements, they were each awarded a $10,000 grant to implement their work plans and the professional business practices they learned. During the closing activity, all of the participants expressed how positive their experiences were. CERF+ is extremely pleased with the positive results of this project and thanks Centro de Economía Creativa, the Windgate Foundation, and each of the participants and mentors.
The Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF+) serves craft artists across the United States and territories by providing education programs, advocacy, network building, and emergency relief.