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Resilience in Action: CERF+ Conducts Arts Resiliency Workshops in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands

Tom Clareson (left) from Performing Arts Readiness shows artists how to recover and salvage papers, media, books, and more in Puerto Rico. Workshop participants (right) practice what they learned together.

During the first two weeks of June, CERF+ conducted workshops in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands to support artists in incorporating emergency preparedness and career protection measures into their ongoing recovery efforts from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Sponsored by FEMA and the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña in Puerto Rico, and the Reichhold Center for the Arts in the Virgin Islands, workshops were held at the Museo de Arte of the Universidad de Puerto Rico in Mayagüez, the Universidad de Puerto Rico in Ponce, the Archivo General y Biblioteca Nacional de Puerto Rico in San Juan, the St. John School of the Arts, and the Little Theatre at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas.

CERF+ partnered with Performing Arts Readiness (PAR) in Puerto Rico, and the workshops on the island included both CERF+’s resilience training, focusing on how to safeguard an artist’s studio and career, and PAR’s training, led by Tom Clareson, on how to triage and salvage water-damaged materials. When asked what the best part of the workshop was, one participant in Mayaguez commented, “Everything: the orientation, the information on the different types of insurance, and the training on how to save some property that may be important for the individual.”

From Puerto Rico, CERF+ workshops trainers Carrie Cleveland and Jenifer Simon traveled on to the US Virgin Islands to teach workshops on St. John and St. Thomas. Both workshops were live-streamed through the Reichhold Center’s Facebook page and are also available for viewing on CERF+’s Facebook page. While on St. John, Carrie and Jenifer were able to see the beautiful work of CERF+ emergency relief grantees Casey Giakas and Kaye Thomas Eichner in person at Bajo El Sol Gallery & Art Bar. They also had the opportunity to visit Seven Minus Seven Gallery on St. Thomas and learn about how director Clay Lindol Jones is engaging artists both locally and around the world.

Special thanks to the following individuals and everyone who made these trips such an impactful experience: Jessabet Vivas Capo, Tom Clareson, Marcus Daniel, Pedro Fortunato, Denise Humphrey, Cecilia Cordero Muñoz, Gretchen Ruiz Ramos, Amy Schwartzman, and Ian Turnbull.

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