Shortly after officially entering the chair of the direction of the Department of Art and Culture of the Municipality of San Juan, the until now theater and film producer and community leader, Antonio Morales, already has an agenda formed on what he envisions in his new management as a public servant.
Based on his career, promoting various educational and recreational initiatives around theater and cinema in disadvantaged communities, Morales has as a priority the creation of alliances with agencies such as the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and the Office for Development. Socioeconomic and Community of Puerto Rico (ODSEC), as well as with private companies, to bring artistic education closer to residential and other housing spaces lacking this type of education.
“It is important that our capital once again has that magic that the arts give to the city”, Declared the newly appointed by the new mayor of the capital, Miguel Romero.
To do this, it will develop a census that allows it to identify the different organizations and art and culture guilds in the capital, and together with these, make viable artistic and cultural development programs for the communities, especially to impact children and youth.
“A young man who grows up with the arts is not the same as a young man who grows up without them and, without a doubt, that sensitivity that the arts give you in that training is very importantis more important than people think, and that is why one of my greatest emphasis is precisely that young people have access, and the results that this will bring will be seen over time, “said Morales, who will tell for this, with a budget of approximately $ 4 million, which is assigned annually to the Department of Art and Culture, in addition to the private-level collaborations that it hopes to achieve. He is also looking for an experienced professional in creating proposals to be able to have the benefit of different federal funds or non-profit institutions destined to art and culture.
He argued that “we all need a bank of artists in all disciplines, and to be able to give these artists an itinerary so that on weekends we can send them to different locations and that when people go to these spaces they can feel that we have a full city of art everywhere ”. The Luis Muñoz Marín Park, in Hato Rey, would be one of those spaces.
The development plan of this artistic training program for the communities already has it, because after Hurricane María, in 2017, through its Teatro por Amor foundation, it raised “four different theater groups in four disadvantaged communities”, achieving positive results, he said. On this same model or pilot, he would work to create new artistic activities in the capital’s communities.
State of “lacerated” situation
Morales in his preliminary analysis of the financial and infrastructure status regarding what corresponds to the Department of Art and Culture of San Juan indicated that “we are in a very lacerated position.”
With the exception of the Luis Muñoz Marín Park, which remains in good condition and whose budget he plans to maximize, the other programs or projects that now fall under his direction, he indicated, “stopped” after Hurricane María in 2017 to meet other needs. then.
“The Department of Art and Culture could not continue active as I would have loved it to happen, because what our leaders still do not understand is that art and culture should be one of the priorities, especially when we are in times of emergency, because although it contributes to health and basic necessities, but what about the soul, and that is one of the wonderful things that art does, it works with people’s souls, among many other benefits ”, he pointed out.
He wants to premiere a salsa musical
The creation of plays and films is what abounds in Morales’ professional background. One of the most successful productions was the movie “Por amor en el caserío” (2014), with over 500 performances between Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
From that producer mentality, this professional of the arts keeps creating and one of the works that he has written and has not yet released is a musical of the salsa genre that, at the suggestion of the new municipal First Lady, Maritere González, has the intention to establish it as a residence, so that it remains on the billboard for a long time in some space, which may be a theater, or another place.
Meanwhile, his first project will be the virtual edition of the San Sebastián Street Festival, which will begin on Friday, January 29, until Sunday, January 31.