The Museum of Art of Puerto Rico is experiencing one of the most significant challenges in its history after the violent landfalls of two major hurricanes in less than two weeks’ time: Irma and María.
On the night of September 20, basic services collapsed throughout Puerto Rico. The Museum was left structurally damaged, with a ravaged garden and no electricity service to ensure our most valuable possession: the works of art from the 17th century to the present that comprise our collection.
To meet the emergency, we depended on a power generator consuming hundreds of gallons of diesel daily. The initial assistance of the Smithsonian Institution, to which the Museum is affiliated, allowed us to protect our collections and lead the rescue efforts of the artistic and cultural heritage of Puerto Rico. Dozens of museums and cultural institutions on the island were left in darkness and helpless, that is why, being their support became our main focus. The MAPR transformed into a great cultural vault in order to guarantee the permanence of our artistic heritage for future generations.
Almost 50 days after the hit of Hurricane Maria, finally, around noon of Tuesday, November 7, the Museum got electric power. The relief of that moment, however, would not last very long. That same night, torrential downpours fell in San Juan, which, combined with the sodden terrain and the debris still stuck in the drainage system of the City, led to a massive flooding.
The MAPR suffered the greatest disaster in its existence. The Museum’s Education Department that for 17 years has served hundreds of thousands of students, teachers and families, was destroyed. More than four feet of water swamped the building, shattering art workshops, with materials and equipment, the Museum’s library, audiovisual rooms and workspaces, in a matter of hours.
The amount of unexpected expenses that the Museum has had to assume during this time is enormous. The damages caused by the hurricane to the structure and the garden; the disbursement of cash to operate the generator and keep collections safe; the transfer, materials and workforce of the Museum professionals in the patrimonial rescue; the work that will have to be done in the restoration of the artworks that have been affected, and, then, this new and serious emergency, represent a severe economic blow to the Museum, which had been already hurt by the fragile economy of Puerto Rico. All of this translates into an unexpected debt of more than 3 million dollars.
The uncertainty about what the post-María future holds is a constant thought in our minds. Our greatest wish is to be able to continue the mission that has guided us since the first day: to make the knowledge, appreciation and enjoyment of art accessible to everyone. That is why we are reaching out to you.
There is much to be done. This is why we need your generous support.
Our campaign SÚMATE asks you to be part of something bigger. Your donation will guarantee that future generations can have access to these magnificent art collections to study and enjoy the rich and diverse legacy of Puerto Rico’s visual artists. As you support MAPR, you will directly contribute to the preservation of Puerto Rico’s visual arts heritage and culture.
Make your donation today. Join us! ¡SÚMATE!
If you wish to contact MAPR directly to make a donation, please email Myrna Z. Pérez, MAPR's Development Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.