A variety of Louisiana artists will join together at Baton Rouge Gallery on Saturday, Sept. 15 (7 p.m. to 10 p.m.) to use their talents to benefit the hurricane-ravaged island of Puerto Rico upon the one year anniversary of Hurricane Maria’s landfall.
Titled "Louisiana Artists for Puerto Rico – a #PoetsforPuertoRico event," the benefit showcase is spearheaded by area poet and media professional, Leslie D. Rose, who is of Puerto Rican descent, in partnership with Baton Rouge Gallery - center for contemporary art. It will support island agency El Departamento de la Comida’s mission to rebuild 200 farms on Puerto Rico in 24 months, through earmarked funds donated to Americas for Conservation and the Arts, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization in Boulder, Colorado.
The event lineup is slated to feature talent from across south Louisiana, including former Baton Rouge Youth Poet Laureate, Brittany Marshall; National Poetry Slam Champion, Justin Lamb; Acadiana dance troupe Kabuki Dancers; actor Roger Ferrier as Usnavi from the acclaimed musical “In The Heights”; and musician Peter Simon of area band Minos the Saint; among other talented artists across a variety of genres. The evening will also feature a specially curated mix of Caribbean music by legend of the Baton Rouge nightlife scene, DJ Automatik. Rose along with her husband, Baton Rouge poet, Donney Rose will host the show as well as perform on the bill.
“Puerto Rico is a very special place for us,” said Leslie D. Rose, Chairperson of Louisiana Artists for Puerto Rico. “After a very hard 2016 and years without being able to take real vacations, Donney and I spent 10 days exploring and enjoying the island and its people. The recent hurricane hit us hard in the hearts and we quickly began brainstorming ways we could help. As Louisianans, we understand how long recovery actually takes, and we know that the island of Puerto Rico has many years of restoration to come. As artists, we are passionate people who have the superpower of empathy. Through this initiative, we are mixing our artistic passion and lived experiences to continually uplift and support our island family. This fundraiser is an exciting beginning for what we intend to be continuous work towards supporting the island’s ongoing recovery, and we are so thrilled that so many of our fellow artists in the community are joining us in this first effort.”
Louisiana Artists for Puerto Rico is inspired and supported by the #PoetsForPuertoRico movement that was started in New York City in 2017 by three Latinx artists – Denice Frohman, Noel Quinones, and Willie Perdomo. Events under this umbrella have since been launched in Philadelphia, the Bay Area, Chicago, and San Diego. When deciding to host such a function in Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge Gallery became an obvious choice for partnership.
“We couldn’t be prouder to host this special night at Baton Rouge Gallery,” said Jason Andreasen, Executive Director of Baton Rouge Gallery - center for contemporary art. “Our community knows all too well the devastating impact natural disasters can have and the relief that comes when others have picked us in Louisiana up when we faced such hardships. Artists and performers, specifically, have a history of lending their talents to help and we couldn’t be happier to be the venue for local artists to come together and help the people of Puerto Rico when they so desperately need it.”