BY ROSALBA ROLÓN
We did it! Thanks to the generosity of many individuals, institutions, and sister organizations, our Hurricane María Relief Drive for Artists in Puerto Rico met and surpassed initial collective intentions. The initiative provided direct, no-strings assistance to 172 artists in all disciplines in just three short months! Starting 27 September 2017, donations translated into $500 micro-grants delivered by hand through an amazing network of spirited friends and volunteers spanning the Island, the nation, and the globe.

It’s more than we at first imagined, and of course just a fraction of what is truly needed in the aftermath of Hurricane María. For this reason, we also take pride in continuing to provide assistance in other ways in 2018. Notably, while Pregones/PRTT’s primary donation portal now transitions back to supporting our Annual Fund, we are extending collaboration with the PRIMA Fund to capture cash assistance for musicians in Puerto Rico through May 31. And we are happy to share that while our Drive was in full speed, the amazing cast of Spamilton, playing at our Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, collected funds after every performance. The funds were delivered to Hispanic Federation.

Please read my previous blog for details of the components of our micro-grants Relief Drive: http://pregonesprtt.org/well-never-be-defeated/

FROM RELIEF TO RECOVERY
We are now re-grouping to look at options that will make sense for continued support via our programs and networks. We wish to maintain the agility of our support mechanisms, the peer-to-peer connections and the interest of current and potential collaborators.

We have learned many lessons. Among them: the strength of our relief efforts relies on the strength of our theater organization, of the impact our programs and in the trust developed among our audiences and our colleagues in the arts field.

LOOK BACK WITH CONFIDENCE
As the 21st century approaches adulthood I feel compelled to look back not only at 2017 but at the past 17 years and what that means for Pregones + Puerto Rican Traveling Theater. And I feel the urge to peek into the next 12 months as a way to wrap, at least in my head, the significance of the first 18 years of life. It can be argued that institutional life is measured differently from that of individuals. But I do not agree. Institutions are led and run by individuals, who in turn measure life in very real, day to day terms.

2000-2017 in a Snap! – Pregones bought a set of properties on Walton Avenue in The Bronx, launched a capital campaign and converted the main building into a state-of-the-arts theater • • International tours and creative collaborations expanded our large theater family across the globe • National collaborations continued, forming steady bonds across the nation • Artistic collaborations with PRTT established the basis for our permanent relationship • Dozens of artists and companies were presented at Pregones and PRTT, including Artists In Residence • New original productions performed by Pregones Ensemble and guest companies on both theaters • Lobby exhibits showcased a broad variety of visual artists • Heightened presence in The Bronx and in the Theater District • Merger with Puerto Rican Traveling Theater was completed and Pregones + Puerto Rican Traveling Theater is born: Two Great Stages! One Great Theater!

In March 2017 we lost our friend, theater/film icon and founder of Puerto Rican Traveling Theater MIRIAM COLÓN. In December, we inaugurated MIRIAM’S at PRTT, a permanent exhibit suite beautifully designed to highlight her career. The exhibit includes the Medal of Arts Miriam received by President Barack Obama.

BUT WAIT! OF COURSE THERE IS MORE
I am confident that we have a strong foundation that will sustain us for another round of 18 years. But for now, I’m just happy to share what we’ll be doing in the next few months…

2017 Spring/Summer Season in a Snap! – Let’s Talk Series • March Is Music • Remojo – collaboration with artists from NY and the Bay Area and showcases by Ensemble members • Stage Garden Rumba • Partnerships between our Education Units and guest artists/companies • Showcases by our Artists In Residence • Workshop Production of brand new musical • Residency at Gala Hispanic Theatre in Washington, DC…and more…

So there’s no time to waste! Become a member, a volunteer, an active audience member, a donor.

Get on The Bronx Manhattan Theater Express today!