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CEC, Mellon Foundation announce $8M ‘Maniobra’ initiative

The Mellon Foundation and the Centro de Economia Creativa announced the creation of “Maniobra,” an $8 million cultural work initiative designed to facilitate stable employment opportunities for artists.

In its inaugural stage, “Maniobra” will provide support including salaries, fringe benefits, medical plan, and other support and during the first year, the project will impact 25 organizations and 37 artists through 12 municipalities in Puerto Rico.

For the past few years, Puerto Rican artists have played leadership roles within their communities, however, they sometimes live in a state of financial precariousness, with a median annual income of $16,000 and 46% of artists generate an income of less than $12,000 per year.

Through “Maniobra,” the CEC and the Mellon Foundation stress the importance of artists’ work by modeling compensation that reflects the formal education, experience, and contributions of these artists to society.

“This initiative provokes an important reflection on the economic and personal well-being of the community of artists as a priority for philanthropy and cultural policies,” said Javier Hernández-Acosta, founder of the CEC and Dean of the School of Arts, Design and Creative Industries from Sacred Heart University.

“Maniobra” provides the financial support necessary to hire at least one full-time artist and an allocation of $20,000 per year to support the organization’s programming and creative projects over a three-year period.

The project will not only strengthen the organization’s arts programming and financial stability, but also has the potential to expand its reach through other foundations and partners who help benefit more artists and organizations.

“Celebrating the creativity of Puerto Rican artists means providing them with the resources they need to pursue their mission, supporting artists from the archipelago and cultural organizations and encouraging the work and preservation of Puerto Rican culture at a time when stable work and funding for these efforts have been in jeopardy,” said Elizabeth Alexander, president of the Mellon Foundation.

Prior to the launch of “Maniobra,” the CEC and the Mellon Foundation have collaborated on initiatives aimed at artists, including the development of Nido Cultural, a platform that offers management services for artists and cultural organizations in Puerto Rico, as well as a research initiative for create a cartography of cultural work in Puerto Rico.

“Maniobra” was inspired by “Creatives Rebuilding New York,” a $125 million investment by the Mellon Foundation created to help revive New York State’s creative economy and secure the future of its artists.

The artists selected for “Maniobra,” who began their jobs in early April, were selected by an advisory team made up of key individuals from the local artist community.

Considering the diversity of practices and approaches throughout the island, the groups and organizations were selected based on their extensive experience in artistic and cultural programming.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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