Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017, and its aftermath significantly changed the local cultural industry's funding infrastructure. Philanthropic foundations in the United States (US) have provided financial support to local artists, educators, cultural managers, and institutions after the storm for over four years. Based on semi-structured interviews with eight participants and fieldwork, this study provides insight into the colonial and neoliberal policies that progressively stripped the cultural industry's public funding infrastructure and ushered in a US-led "impromptu Institute of Culture." This study proposes that Puerto Rico's cultural industry was founded on a vulnerable system shaped by colonialism, resulting in a financial deterioration mitigated by autonomous organizing. Furthermore, I explore how artists, educators, cultural managers, and museum professionals experience the post-Hurricane Maria cultural industry to inform a critical evaluation of US foundations' roles within a Puerto Rican context. Through an application of disaster anthropologists' vulnerability framework and critical philanthropy literature, I provide an analysis of Puerto Rico's cultural industry, its historical and post-Hurricane Maria development, and a view into an alternative future.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Ocasio Cruz, Andrea, "Puerto Rico's Cultural Industry (Re)Construction: A Study on Vulnerable Systems, Post-Disaster U.S. Philanthropy, and Autogestión Through Puerto Rican Artists and Cultural Managers' Perspectives" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1789.