When Graffiti HeArt President, Stamy Paul, scheduled her annual vacation to Puerto Rico to visit family, she had done so this year keeping in mind the devastation that Hurricane Maria had made on the Island, ensuring that the roads and infrastructure would be stable for travel to the City of Cayey where her mother-in-law’s family resides. Second, she decided to plan the timing of her trip to coincide with the Cleveland Indians’ regular season games scheduled for April 17th & 18th at the Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan.
What she didn’t initially plan for, was the possibility of her vacation turning into a philanthropic trip, painting art murals in Cayey, Puerto Rico, while also helping to provide additional resources along the way. What happened next, was a series of introductions of many new acquaintances, once strangers, now friends, collaborating together to make this idea come to reality.
Since January, artist, Danielle Mastrion, has been engaged, the Mayor’s office of Cayey has been engaged, two large walls have been selected and secured, more than 7 Corporate Sponsors and several individual donors have donated funding and supplies, totaling more than $7,000 raised as part of the project fundraising efforts. “The outpour of support has been enormous and things have just been falling in place, with a lot of help from many people,” shared Paul.
Selected artist, Danielle Mastrion, is from Brooklyn, NY, and has experience painting large scale murals in various parts of the world, including LatinAmerica. “I wanted to select a female artist for this project, and someone who has had some experience with painting murals in Puerto Rico,” said Paul. “Danielle painting a mural in Arecibo, Puerto Rico a few years back. I was familiar with her work through social media, and had followed her for a few years and thought her experience and talent would be perfect for this project and the community. She’s an amazing artist and I was looking to keep the theme of this trip as one focused on the women in our lives and also a tribute to Puerto Rico, with emphasis on Cayey. My mother-in-law is from Cayey, much of her family including her sisters, live in Cayey, and I will be traveling with her and her daughter, Luz.”
Through the power of social media, Stamy was able to connect with Kia Rosario, part of the Angel’s Wings Foundation Corp., who helped Graffiti HeArt get connected directly with the City of Cayey Mayor’s office. The rest is history. Lizbeth Rosario, the Director of Public Relations for the City of Cayey, has helped identify proper walls for this project, which include a large wall for Danielle’s main focus, and a smaller wall, one that is intended to be the focus for the students from 3-4 schools in Cayey, including a local art school.
Much planning and preparation has been done over the past several weeks, including calls with the city of Cayey, the artist and the Graffiti HeArt crew, to discuss potential themes as well as plans for the first couple of days upon arriving to Puerto Rico, including visits to art museums, engaging with the local community of Cayey, and meeting with the students from the various schools.
Please follow our journey over the next two weeks as we document and share our story of our family, friends, and citizens as we bring color to the community of Cayey, Puerto Rico!
Official Corporate Sponsors for the Graffiti HeArt Mural Revitalization Project include:
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