By ARNALDO J. LÓPEZ
– We are proud to share a recent spate of top-tier honors awarded to our company and its leadership for artistic and organizational excellence. Summer 2018 has proven to be nothing short of transformative, fueling our creative selves and yielding substantial new resources for major works in progress!
In June, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation announced that playwright, director, and actress Rosalba Rolón, also our founding Artistic Director, was named a recipient of the 2018 Doris Duke Artist Award for her continuing contributions to the theater. She is rightly identified on the Foundation’s website as “a revered visionary and a passionate creator of musical theater that celebrates Latinx voices and culture.” On the press release, DDCF president Edward P. Henry states, “This award frees artists to be artists by providing them with the financial security to take risks and to make great work.” In Ms. Rolón’s case, the first two new theater productions to benefit from this recognition will be her stage adaptation of La guaracha del Macho Camacho by Luis Rafael Sánchez, first dreamed up in collaboration with the late Miriam Colón, and a rousing new musical about the Bronx fires, drawing from accounts by survivors and first responders. Each of seven 2018 Doris Duke Artist Award winners receives a mix of flexible individual artist funding and incentives for contributions to retirement savings. The other distinguished recipients are Dee Dee Bridgewater, Regina Carter, and Stefon Harris for jazz; Michelle Dorrance and Okwui Okpokwasili for contemporary dance; and Muriel Miguel also for theater. We’re immensely proud to labor beside Ms. Rolón at Pregones/PRTT!
In July, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced twelve transformational projects in the South Bronx as part of his statewide Downtown Revitalization Initiative, including a capital grant to Pregones/PRTT. Funding is for early phase redevelopment of our property at 571 Walton Avenue, directly adjacent to our Bronx theater and known to the community as La Casa Blanca. The award is part of a larger capital undertaking, also supported by Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. and the NY City Council, to replace the existing structure with a new state-of-the-art facility that will serve as our organizational headquarters, and provide additional artist rehearsal, studio, and performance space. Referring to the award in an interview with News12 The Bronx, our theater’s longtime Development Officer, Arnaldo J. López, noted, “We have been doing fantastic work here, so it was a validation of that, and an investment to make sure that we’re here for the long haul.” Speaking enthusiastically to press and awardees, Governor Cuomo also explained the DRI’s greater goals, saying, “These projects will advance the Borough by leaps and bounds, increasing amenities to existing South Bronx residents and bringing further investment and community pride to the Bronx.”
And this week, the Booth Ferris Foundation approved a capacity building grant to help Pregones/PRTT expand its executive staff. Funding is for the addition of a senior-level Development Director. The new hire will join an already seasoned team of artist leaders and managers —helmed by Ms. Rolón and Dr. López, who is also stepping up to the role of Managing Director— to secure the company’s sustained excellence in all areas. They will be leveraging a strong portfolio of support, and upping the ante with new skills, knowledge, contacts, and experience. The team gets additional boosts from a new slate of Board officers, chaired by creative media producer Soldanela Rivera, and a brand new strategic plan crafted in dialogue with Michael Kaiser, Chairman of The DeVos Institute of Arts Management at The University of Maryland. Pregones/PRTT is fortunate to count with the support and advisement of the best in the field, and to plan for growth in ways that are always assertive and arts-forward.
Credits: Photo of Rosalba Rolón by Marisol Díaz. Photo of Pregones/PRTT’s ensemble in our production Dancing In My Cockroach Killers, June 2018 at GALA Hispanic Theater, by Stan Weinstein.