La Residencia

La Residencia is a co-located residency program in partnership with Pública. A cultural space in Santurce, Puerto Rico, Pública aims to provide a platform for local and international artists to strengthen relationships between Puerto Rico and a global audience.

Abrons and Pública, together with resident artists, will develop a platform supporting interdisciplinary, transnational collaboration with Puerto Rican artists and cultural institutions facing challenges due to the island’s colonial relationship to the United States.

Over the course of eighteen months, Pública Co-Director Natalia Viera Salgado will serve as Abrons’ 2020-21 Curatorial Resident and will support the development of projects at Abrons and Pública.

Current Residents

Pública is a cultural space founded in November 2018 by cultural producer Naíma Rodrígez and independent curator Natalia Viera Salgado. The space is located in the community of Alto del Cabro, one of the most important historic neighborhoods of Santurce, Puerto Rico. One of the major problems on the island currently is the lack of funding and spaces dedicated to serve the community in the cultural and arts sector. In November 2018, Pública: opened up its doors to become a platform for local artists and international artists as a way to strengthen the relationship between Puerto Rico and an international audience.

Pública considers multiplicity as its main strength. Thinking from this principle has allowed us to imagine ways in which the space can provide experiences for the enjoyment of the community such as exhibitions, public programs  and community projects. The goal is to create a platform for the investigation and diffusion of contemporary artistic practices that go beyond traditional formats inside and outside the institution, while at the same time providing an accessible space for the community. It is also in our plans the reinforcement of relationships with other institutions not only in the island but internationally.

Following our vision and mission statement, this is an ongoing project devoted to research, production and planning long-term projects such as community initiatives, exhibitions, artists and curator residencies, workshops, artist talks, performances, screenings, educational programs, international collaborations. As cultural producers, we believe in the creation and preservation of a living archive through providing physical space for collective memory and stories of our communities while fostering critical conversations around the arts, socio-cultural concerns from many angles through the lens of contemporary art and community engagement.

Born in Puerto Rico, Edra Soto is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, curator, and co-director of the outdoor project space THE FRANKLIN. Her upbringing and relationships with communities in Puerto Rico and the US inform her artistic practice. Her recent projects, which are motivated by civic and social actions, prompt viewers to reconsider cross-cultural dynamics, the legacy of colonialism, and personal responsibility. She is invested in providing visual and educational models propelled by empathy and generosity. Soto has exhibited at venues including Crystal Bridges’ The Momentary (AK), Albright-Knox Northland (NY), Smart Museum of Art (IL), Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (PR), Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago (IL), Pérez Art Museum Miami (FL) The Arts Club of Chicago (IL) and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art (KS) among others. Soto has attended residency programs at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (ME), Beta-Local (PR), the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Residency (FL), Headlands Center for the Arts (CA) Project Row Houses (TX) and Art Omi (MY) among others. Soto was awarded the Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship (2017), the Illinois Arts Council Grant (2019) and the inaugural Foundwork Artist Prize (2019), among others. She recently completed commissions for the Google Creative Fellowship Program (CA) and a two year commissioned public art project titled Screenhouse on exhibition at Millennium Park’s Boeing Gallery North (IL).Her co-curation for the exhibition Present Standard at the Chicago Cultural Center (2016) was praised with overwhelmingly positive reviews from the Chicago Tribune, Newcity, PBS The Art Assignment and Artforum.

In 2018, Soto was a guest participant for Creative Chicago: An Interview Marathon, led by Hans Ulrich Obrist, (published by University of Chicago Press, 2019). Between 2019 and 2020 Soto’s work has been included in three exhibitions supported by the MacArthur Foundation’s International Connections Fund: A Chicago / Puerto Rico exhibition titled Repatriation at Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico; a Chicago / Cuba exhibition titled Cross Currents – Intercambio Culturalat the Smart Museum (IL) and a Chicago / Brazil exchange titled Close to There < > Perto de Lá, at Mouraria, Casa Rosada and Ativa Atelier in Salvador, Brazil. Soto holds a BFA degree from Escuela de Artes Plásticas de Puerto Rico. She is a lecturer for the Contemporary Practices Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, from which she received an MFA.

Payola Isabel is a photographer, video producer, and DJ based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She is the Co-founder of Radio Red, an independent radio station located in Santurce, Puerto Rico where she is the producer, director and manager of the station. She has worked and produced shows with local and international bands and groups such as Los Wálters, Helado Negro, Los Vigilantes, ÍFÉ, and collaborated making videos for  local brands and buisnesses such as Johhny & June, Con Calma, For  Generations To Come, April Carrión  hosted events with Bairoa, Mano Santa, Saki, Buscabulla, MRKNI, Florentino, Felix Hall and Overlord. Payola has performed and staged radio takeovers  at The Lot Radio (NYC) , Aire Libre (CDMX), and Radio Nopal (CDMX). Her main interest for doing appearances, collaborations and performing is to create an atmosphere and a platform for artists to exchange and to build bridges with other community based projects. As a Dj, her musical inclinations are tropical, electronica, caribbean house, disco, french soft touch, world music beats genres.  Her goal with each set is to provide an unexpected yet engaged and boundary pushing musical trip for her audience.  She’s played in Dominican Republic,  New York, México, and Miami.

Radiored is a platform for artistic exchange founded in 2015 in Santurce, Puerto Rico. Our mission is to support emerging artists from the Island by giving them a space to share their work and facilitating exposure. Our goal is to increase the number and quality of music performances in Puerto Rico and through the web. Through our online radio station we provide a digital platform with unlimited reach for our DJs to play what we call Música Fresca or “fresh music” in english, at the same time, promote local and international music that is not commonly played on mainstream local radio stations. In order to promote cross disciplinary cultural exchange, we have created a network of allies that generate content for the station such as workshops, conversations and interviews. Among our collaborators, the non-profit organization Sonic Arts For All “SAFA” offers the weekly  workshop Tech Lab Sonor for children K-16 in NYC and in Puerto Rico. We are also a free online radio station with the intention of playing fresh music, raising awareness locally and internationally about music that is not part of Puerto Rican commercial radio, while creating demand to achieve artistic exchange. We present original content, new and emerging music by local and international artists.

Natalia Viera Salgado is a Puerto Rican independent curator and curatorial consultant based in New York City. She is also the co-founder of :Pública Espacio Cultural, an independent art space in Alto del Cabro, Santurce Puerto Rico. Her art historical research focuses on contemporary art in relation to decolonial practices, architecture, social and environmental justice, and new media with a keen interest in hybrid and interdisciplinary projects. She has worked at the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, collaborated with design studio División de Diseño (Puerto Rico), worked at El Museo de Barrio (New York, NY), Art in General (Brooklyn, New York), Socrates Sculpture Park (Queens, New York) and The Nathan Cummings Foundation (New York). Viera is a founding member of Colectivo se habla español, a collective working on artistic and social projects that expand the limits of language while addressing migration, identity, human rights, and memory. Viera holds a MA in Curatorial Practice from the School of Visual Arts (NYC).


La Residencia is a collaborative residency partnership between Abrons Arts Center (New York, NY) and ​Pública​ (San Juan, PR), made possible with funds provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.