Island to receive $50 million in federal funds for ‘cultural rescue’

By John McPhaul

Gov. Pedro Rafael Pierluisi Urrutia announced on Monday the distribution of $50 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to support the financial liquidity of cultural institutions and boost the “orange” economy in Puerto Rico.

“Our culture and our traditions are an integral part of the tourist and economic offer of Puerto Rico,” the governor said in a press conference. “In fact, the so-called orange economy is based on the creative ecosystem, and our island is rich in culture, music, art, theater, crafts, history and museums. To enhance the impact on our economy and on our quality of life, it is essential that we manage to invest in those elements that help us take advantage of everything that Puerto Rico can offer, of everything that makes us special.”

Pierluisi noted that about $10 million will be used to restore the budgets of different entities in need of funds for their operation, since as a result of the pandemic they have had substantial losses. Some $40 million will be allocated for various programs of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture and other entities, as well as arrangements for historic buildings, digitization of historical documents and conservation of historical objects.

Regarding the tax rescue of cultural entities, the government reported that they will be assigned as follows:

Institute of Culture of Puerto Rico, $2.5 million; Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico, $500,000; Musical Arts Corp., $2 million; School of Studio Arts and Design, $500,000; Puerto Rico Fine Arts Corp., $3 million; Reserve Fund, $1.5 million (if needs arise that cannot be covered under the pre-established allocations of funds, this reserve fund will be created so that agencies can request additional funds). Total: $10 million.

“This cultural rescue program will ensure that Puerto Rico’s cultural entities have the necessary funds to continue mitigating the impact of COVID-19, and consequently, their operation,” said Omar Marrero, executive director of the Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority. “In turn, it will provide significant relief from the difficult situation cultural institutions are going through after budget cuts. As the fiscal agent and financial adviser to the government, we will work with these entities so that they can use these allocations efficiently, and in compliance with the regulations established by the federal government.”

The governor said further that an additional $40 million will be used to promote various cultural programs, as well as repairs and maintenance in some historical buildings that belong to the government, among other purposes.

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