Meet Newport Hospital and MJ Robinson!

Twice a year, RISCA awards grants in a number of categories. Over the next few months, we will be profiling the amazing artists and organizations that received grants at our April 1, 2017 deadline, two at a time.
project pic
Applicant Organization
: Newport Hospital
Project Coordinator: Jackie Henderson
Participating Artists: Sammy Knight
Project: The Healing Through Creative Arts Program facilitates emotional healing through alleviating interpersonal difficulties among mentally ill adults. Expressive art is a wonderful outlet for patients living with mental illness because it allows one to express feelings beyond just talk therapy.  The grant will make it possible for artists to come once a week during the evenings and/ or weekend for a year, serving 834 patients. Artists in a variety of mediums will lead hour long sessions focused on healing through art, in partnership with hospital staff, with a focus on interpersonal relationships and skill building.
About the Organization: Newport Hospital Behavioral Health Unit serves all adult psychiatric patients throughout southern New England and acts as a critical resource for adults and families. Our private, non-profit hospital provides a wide range of family- focused care as well as high-quality mental health care to adults of Southern New England.

MJ picArtist: MJ Robinson
Project: In collaboration with RED ART and community prison abolitionist organizations, artist and activist MJ Robinson is coordinating a series of writing workshops and skill-building sessions as part of the creation of an art, comics, and writing anthology. Toward a World Without Prisons is open to all and highlights the art and stories of currently and formerly incarcerated people and their loved ones. At its core, this book anthology project is about connection and learning between people in RI who are incarcerated, their loved ones, prison abolition and reform activists, and other members of the public. The process of the book’s creation will be as important as the result itself, as people in writing workshops and in new working relationships are given tools to write, draw, share, and publish stories and ideas together. The panelists really liked the combination of the skill building workshops as a component of this project, and that this project will live beyond the workshops with both the physical piece and the skills gained.
Artist Bio: Robinson has been working professionally as an arts and creative writing educator since 2010 in many formal and informal environments for students ranging in ages and abilities. They are an Educator at the RISD Museum’s School and Teacher Programs working in the Museum and in Providence Public Schools. Robinson recently co-launched Showing Up for Racial Justice RI’s Childcare Collective, which provides free child care for social justice organizing led by people of color and communities directly affected by racism. Robinson also organizes with the Providence chapter of Black and Pink, an open family of LGBTQ and HIV+ prisoners and “free world” allies who support project piceach other. Robinson has been self-publishing and printing comics and books since 2011. In 2011-2014, while attending Oberlin College, they co-founded the Oberlin Comics Collective and regularly held open calls for submissions and published a bi-annual anthology of comics by college and community members each semester. More recently, in 2015-2016, Robinson was assistant editor to Boston-based artist Kimball Anderson for Inaction Comics No. 1, a full-color self-published anthology including work by several artists with disabilities exploring and pushing against dominant narratives on the themes of action, inaction, and productivity.

Reaching Every Dream And Rising Together (RED ART) is a group of prisoner artists in Rhode Island that started with founder Edward “Sincere” Cable’s desire to see a world without prisons, oppression, war and hate. RED ART sheds light on prisoners to show we are not monsters but smart humans with dreams and visions. We are changing the world through art – drawing, writing, music, unity, and love. With the right understanding we can all reach every dream and rise together. Visit their facebook page at