By Flamboyan Arts Fund
Text by Rosalía Ortiz Luquis
For years, artists and organizations from the cultural sector have had as a central axis of their work to promote a reflection and dialogue, open and accessible to all audiences, about the connections between the arts, critical thinking and social justice, from intersectional perspectives. This has been achieved through the mobilization, increased reach, and promotion of dialogue on artistic work from critical, feminist, non-binary, anti-racist and decolonizing perspectives. Both virtual and in person events and programming by community libraries, museums and arts organizations have incorporated accessibility features to make sure their work can reach functionally diverse audiences.
An important shift —that has been growing for years now— in community work models has taken place: we have moved on to a vision and aspiration to work with the communities, instead of taking to communities pre-devised work that doesn’t take into account the people’s needs, aspirations, collective history and interests. These organizations / artists have made visible people whose voices and bodies are traditionally relegated to the margins, not only of social representation, but of the circulation of knowledge and culture and to its production itself. Listening to their own voices and to the stories of their diversity experiences and paths has made us a better people.
Such is the impact of the work done by performance and arts education organizations such as the Rafael Cepeda Atiles Puerto Rican Folk Institute, which teaches Afro Boricua heritage music and dance to children and adults in their school at sector Villa Palmeras in Santurce; the Corporación Piñones se Integra (COPI), which serves one of the oldest Afro-Puerto Rican communities on the island through cultural and ecotourism entrepreneurship; and of the community work done by theater groups like Agua, Sol y Sereno and Y no había luz, whose projects challenge stereotypes and discrimination through collective artistic work.
Agua, Sol y Sereno
Corporación Piñones se Integra (COPI)
Y No Había Luz