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Defying Darkness: The Need for Creative and Cultural First Responders
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5/2/2019 at 6:16:46 PM GMT
Posts: 115
Defying Darkness: The Need for Creative and Cultural First Responders

By Barry Bergey ––

“This year the CERF+ Board of Directors held our annual spring meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from March 20 – 24. The Board chose to meet there to provide us with more opportunities to deeply engage with and understand the culture, community, and needs of artists with whom we have been working closely since Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017. During our stay we met with many of the individuals who received our assistance, witnessed first-hand the positive impact CERF+ has had on Puerto Rican artists, and experienced the vibrant community of artisans on an island that is still in a state of recovery.

In some ways, San Juan is getting back to normal after the hurricane. Cruise ships are visiting, street festivals are occurring, and people are visiting markets. As the CERF+ Board was meeting at the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, we could hear the sounds of a large festival taking place across the street that featured Yo-Yo Ma and José Andrés’World Central Kitchen. Despite these promising signs, we were constantly reminded that tourism is not the cure for all ills and that the average cruise visitor only spends $60 on the island. There is no doubt that progress has been made, but many, especially in the more rural areas are still struggling and need additional assistance.


To continue reading, visit the full article on CERF+’s website.

Bergey, Barry. "Defying Darkness: The Need for Creative and Cultural First Responders.” CERF+. (April 2019). <>



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