Following the destruction to Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria, many organizations have volunteered to help rebuild the island. One of those organizations, Puerto-Rico based MAOF (Materials and Crafts), will visit SMU on November 15 for a lecture to promote the post-Hurricane Maria initiative “RESPOND: Puerto Rico.”

Their visit was scheduled several months ago as part of the Meadows Division of Art’s Visiting Artist Lecture Series, but takes on new meaning and urgency in the wake of the hurricane.

What is “RESPOND: Puerto Rico?”

The “RESPOND: Puerto Rico” initiative was launched by the Meadows School’s Division of Art and Ignite/Arts Dallas in collaboration with several other North Texas arts groups to benefit ecologically sound, sustainable rebuilding efforts in Puerto Rico after the hurricane.

The Visiting Artist Lecture is one of several local events in support of the initiative.  MAOF, an organization that salvages discarded trees on the island and uses them as art materials and as compost for a plant nursery, will speak to students and the local art community to show how their work will help the island.

Currently, MAOF has both the knowledge and tools to help Puerto Rico, but more resources are needed in order to help them continue their work and make a bigger impact on island recovery. MAOF’s work includes helping clear debris, turning fallen debris into building material, and supporting the local artist community of Puerto Rico, as well as supporting the reforestation of the island and helping restart Puerto Rico’s agriculture and internal food supply.

Coming to SMU to talk with North Texas artists and community members allows MAOF to expand their reach and invite more people to help support reconstruction.

Puerto Rico Dallas

Organizers note that the efforts to rebuild Puerto Rico will last decades, and renewable solutions are needed.

MAOF is working with Beta-Local Inc., an official 501c3 organization based in Puerto Rico that is assisting with the sustainable rebuilding of the island. The proceeds collected from the “RESPOND: Puerto Rico” events will go to Beta-Local, then funds will be distributed directly to MAOF and other organizations involved in the ecologically sound restoration efforts on the island.

Want to help “RESPOND: Puerto Rico?”

Interested in attending the Visiting Artist Lecture Series to learn more about “RESPOND: Puerto Rico?” Follow the SMU Division of Art on Facebook and Instagram for more updates. The lecture will take place on November 15 at 7 p.m. in room B600 of the Owens Art Center.

Looking for more ways to help support “RESPOND: Puerto Rico” this month? See other opportunities to help here.