Puerto Rico recently launched the “Blank Canvas Initiative,” a call to street artists around the world to share their craft on larger-than-life blank canvases across the island, and add their stamp to the island's thriving art scene.

A blank white wall on a street in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is inviting street artists from around the world to share their craft on the island's walls ©Discover Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico street artists Alexis Bousquet, Celso González, Vero Rivera and Bob Snow are creating 'Reserved for' signs across the island on empty wall spaces. The signs, which are appearing in places like the art-centric barrio of Santurce in San Juan, are an invitation for street artists to come and enhance the uniqueness of the island by filling these empty spaces with colourful street art.

“As artists, we believe in expression, and I hope that my fellow artists around the world see this opportunity to express themselves while being a force for good," said Bousquet. “We welcome them to our island, to take part in our booming art scene and to explore a place that will surely capture their hearts.” 

Street artists Celso González, Alexis Bousquet, Vero Rivera and Bob Snow
Puerto Rico's street artists are calling on international artists to share their work alongside their own. (L-R) Celso González, Alexis Bousquet, Vero Rivera and Bob Snow ©Discover Puerto Rico

The project is called the “Blank Canvas Initiative” and it launched this week in partnership with Discover Puerto Rico, the island's official tourism board. Artwork from the initiative will be created and showcased live during Santurce es Ley, a street art festival set up by Bousquet that's now approaching its eighth anniversary.

Best of all, they'll be ready in time for the festive season (a huge deal in Puerto Rico), when the streets are taken over by festivals like the iconic Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián - the largest festival in Puerto Rico, where thousands of locals and visitors gather to experience parades of cabezudos (big heads), cultural events, live music, dancing, food, and crafts by local artisans.

A blank wall space on the side of a building
Street artists are identifying large-than-life blank canvases for the initiative ©Discover Puerto Rico

As a lead up to the holiday season and the Santurce es Ley festivals, Puerto Rico hosts the annual MECA International Art Fair from 21 - 24 November, the largest in the Caribbean. The festival took a break after Hurricane Maria but returned in 2018, and this year it will bring together a variety of international talent.

"Some areas of Puerto Rico are a true haven for mural art, yet we’re not a destination typically visited for that," said Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico. "In addition to Santurce es Ley, our island offers many options for travellers looking for rich arts and culture to be inspired – from our artisan’s work, widely available throughout the Island, to museums and art galleries open year-round, and other art-focused events like the MECA Art Fair – our island is a culture lovers’ delight for anyone seeking to immerse themselves in authentic experiences and everything Puerto Rico has to offer."

Blank canvas wall space on the side of a building
The murals will be unveiled during the Santurce es Ley street art festival ©Discover Puerto Rico

If you'd like to showcase your street art in Puerto Rico, you can send your submission to BlankCanvas@DiscoverPuertoRico.com.

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