In today’s accelerated news consumption cycle and with a surplus of disasters — man-made and natural — it seems that we quickly forget yesterday’s big news. But in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, with numerous vulnerable communities still suffering, stateside indie musicians have decided to take matters in their own hands and look out after their own.
After Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rican musicians and artists have lost their gigs, equipment, studios, homes, and income. The independent musician’s way of life was already difficult, and after the disaster many are simply unable to stay afloat.
Ani Cordero and Raquel Berrios (Buscabulla) co-founded a new emergency fund for musicians and artists in Puerto Rico called PRIMA, a collective of Puerto Rican musician friends working raise funds to support fellow musicians on the island. They are providing direct financial assistance to members of the music arts community in the form micro-grants which are being hand-delivered to recipients as US Postal Money Orders — this is a peer-to-peer artist relief drive, with no intermediary delivery costs.
Each week they review and prioritize the list of applicants (which also can include deejays, illustrators, graphic/web designers, sound engineers, music photographers and videographers, independent show producers). In less than two weeks, they have already sent 10 grants on their way.
Artists like Cordero and Berrios clearly understand what Eric Kandel, the Nobel-winning neuroscientist has noted — art is an evolutionary adaptation that helps us survive, because it crucial to our well-being — and they’re working to aid fellow artists stay on the island to be able to rebuild the arts scene when the time surely comes.
You can learn more about PRIMA and donate directly to Puerto Rican artists and musicians here.