Local Puerto Rican artist reflects on her time in the “eye of the storm”

ABC7 News at 6pm
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 7:13 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - September 20th marks five years since Hurricane Maria hit and devasted the small island of Puerto Rico.

Today, Puerto Rico finds itself in yet another state of emergency under the eye of Hurricane Fiona which has left nearly 1.4 million residents without power, running water, and is expected to worsen as conditions develop.

Mara Torres González, owner of Mara Studio Gallery, is a Suncoast artist who was born and raised in Puerto Rico. Torres is all too familiar with the destruction a tropical storm can lead after she fled Hurricane Maria for a better life with her family here in Sarasota.

Torres remarks that the biggest takeaway from dealing with a catastrophic storm is that the Puerto Rican government is prepared this time around, although it’s still a frightening situation for those who are going through it.

“It’s the uncertainty. What’s going on, what’s going to happen? Waking up today and seeing where they’re at, back to day one and back to square one. There were over 1,000 homes with blue tarps. Going through another hurricane under a blue tarp, must be pretty scary.”

Torres shares her journey through photographs and artwork in a book titled “209″ which signifies the date Hurricane Maria hit.