Dallas Artists Come Together to Support “RESPOND: Puerto Rico”

Three November events to benefit sustainable rebuilding of the island

Several Dallas area arts groups are working together to raise funds for “RESPOND: Puerto Rico,” an initiative to provide ecological, sustainable options to the Puerto Rican people that will last well beyond current hurricane relief endeavors as well as help maintain day-to-day needs.

Three public events will be presented in Dallas, with support from organizations including SMU Meadows School of the Arts’ Division of Art and Ignite/Arts Dallas initiative, Journeyman Ink, Life in Deep Ellum, Foundry Club, Sunset Art Studios and Wild Detectives, in addition to the Puerto Rico-based nonprofit charity Beta-Local Inc. and Puerto Rican artist collective MAOF.

On November 15, SMU Meadows will present a lecture by MAOF, a group that undertakes and actively promotes the ecologically sound use of natural resources in the island. Meadows will also co-sponsor two fundraising events: an art show at Sunset Art Studios on November 10 and a gathering at Life in Deep Ellum on November 17.

Organizers note that the efforts to rebuild Puerto Rico will last decades, and renewable solutions are needed. The goals of “RESPOND: Puerto Rico” are:

  • Support established local working artists and communities that are dedicated to sustainable living on the island;
  • Foster the local economy;
  • Support the reforestation of the island, and turn fallen trees into rebuilding material;
  • Support the restart of Puerto Rico’s agriculture and internal food supply; and
  • Support efforts to establish autonomous renewable energy on the island.

“Our fundraising efforts respond to the need to rise from this disaster as well as to contribute to a new type of development based on local resilience and alternative ways of living in accordance with the ecology of the island and the world,” said Sofia Bastidas, director and curatorial fellow of the Pollock Gallery in SMU’s Division of Art and a co-organizer of the events. “Funds raised will go directly to community-led and artist-led organizations that have established deep roots on the island before the storm and will continue to be there long after the short-term relief efforts have disappeared.”

“RESPOND: Puerto Rico” is collaborating with Beta-Local, a Puerto Rico-based 501(c)3 organization focused on developing an emergency fund in support of cultural workers and their communities in the aftermath of the storm. Beta-Local is committed to devoting funds raised through the North Texas effort to guarantee the sustainable rebuilding of the island. Beta-Local maintains an incubator program in Puerto Rico, where it supports organizations such as MAOF. A number of arts organizations nationwide are supporting Beta-Local; earlier this month, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, together with actor and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda, provided a $300,000 grant to Beta-Local for hurricane relief.

For more information about RESPOND: Puerto Rico and how to donate, email respondpuertoricotx@gmail.com.

Event Details

Art Show & Fundraiser
Friday, November 10, 2017
6-10 p.m.
$5 suggested donation
Sunset Art Studios
1811 Balboa Place
Dallas 75224
Participating artists include Sheryl Anaya, Matthieu Cartal, Erik Jacobson, Juan Alberto Negroni and Mariola Rosario. Sunset Art Studios is an artist-run, social practice studio and exhibitions space in Oak Cliff focused on breaking down barriers to the arts by offering free residency space, affordable studio space, free public programming, and critical dialogue on ethical and sustainable economic models of artistic production and community engagement. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.

SMU Visiting Artist Lecture: MAOF Puerto Rican Artist Collective
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
7 p.m.
Room B600, Basement level – Owen Arts Center
6101 Bishop Blvd. on the SMU campus
Dallas 75205
MAOF (Materiales y Oficios, or materials and crafts) is an art collective based in Puerto Rico. Members salvage tropical discarded trees and other goods of biological origin to make material for design and art projects, with a focus on creating a local woodworking culture that is both sustainable and economically feasible. Part of the wood is also turned into compost for their nursery, yielding plants that can be added back to the local landscape. They have conducted projects examining the local culture of use and consumption of resources in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Mexico and New York City. For information email abastidas@smu.edu.

RESPOND: REBUILD a gathering for Puerto Rico
Friday, November 17, 2017
7 – 11 p.m.
$10 suggested donation
Life in Deep Ellum
2803 Taylor St.
Dallas, TX 75226
Puerto Rican artist collective MAOF will provide information and show a video installation with details about their ongoing work in Puerto Rico post-Hurricane Maria. Additionally, the evening will feature several local performers and artists who will contribute their time and talents toward relief efforts, including 100x35 (Puerto Rican bomba and plena musical group), Will Richey and Alejandro Perez, S-Ankh Rasa, Nester Salazar, Len Barnett, Make Art with Purpose and several others. Traditional Puerto Rican food will be provided by Irving-based restaurant Adobo’s. The event is cosponsored by Ignite/Arts Dallas, the SMU Meadows Division of Art, Journeyman INK, the Foundry Club, Life in Deep Ellum, Make Art with Purpose and RESPOND: Puerto Rico.