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from the Sociedad Educativa de las Artes, Inc. (SEA) in New York


about the project

Valor y Cambio is a story-telling, community-building, and solidarity economy project started by artist Frances Negrón-Muntaner and collaborator visual artist Sarabel Santos Negrón. Started in Puerto Rico amidst the economic crisis and currently in New York City, Valor y Cambio is out to spark a broad conversation about what is a just economy and how to foster collective empowerment in the face of austerity and neoliberal policies locally and nationally.

The project has encouraged participants to consider the question of how a community can create different conceptions of wealth —one that promotes values such as accessible education, a clean environment, creativity, self-governance, solidarity, food security, and gender, labor, and racial equity. 

How it works

At the center of the project is a community currency: the pesos of Puerto Rico. The six pesos of Puerto Rico bills have denominations ranging from 1 to 25, which are accessed through a mobile “Valor y Cambio” or VyC machine, an ATM-style device. They feature Puerto Rican athletes, activists, writers, and communities that have acted on their values to enrich peoples’ lives, and in that way asserted that “change is in our hands.”

You can obtain the pesos of Puerto Rico by visiting our VyC ATM:

  • STEP 1: Answer the VyC ATM’s questions about what you value. The machine will record a short video of your answers.

  • STEP 2: The VyC ATM will dispense the pesos of Puerto Rico at random.

  • STEP 3: Keep the pesos, or exchange them for products and services —from a cup of tea to theater tickets— in participating local businesses and organizations.

  • STEP 4: Learn more about the iconic figures on the pesos of Puerto Rico!

Designed to challenge the inequities that communities like Puerto Rico, Loisaida and East Harlem face, the Valor y Cambio currency shifts the power back to the people, investigating what societies value, what is seen as worthy, at a local and global scale. We hope these inspiring stories will stimulate the exchange of a diversity of stories about the wealth and values of community. Join the conversation!