Raimondo names the artist to paint her official gubernatorial portrait

 Patricia Watwood chosen from a field of 350 applicants

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Headshot-WATWOOD-678x1024.jpgFormer RI Governor Gina M. Raimondo has selected Patricia Watwood, of Brooklyn, N.Y., to paint her official gubernatorial portrait.

Chosen from a field of 350 applicants, the official portrait selection committee of State Arts Council members and community representatives initially narrowed the applications for the commission to 11.

Brooklyn-based Watwood is a leading figure in the contemporary figurative movement. Her subjects are primarily women and figures, incorporating myth and narrative. She has been exhibited at the Beijing World Art Museum, The European Museum of Modern Art (MEAM), The Butler Museum, and is in the collections of The St. Louis University Museum of Art, and The New Britain Museum of American Art.

Upon hearing of the commission, Watwood said, “It is a great honor to be selected to portray Rhode Island’s first woman Governor. In creating this work of art for the State House, I look forward to celebrating her inspiring service, and show young women, girls, and the people of Rhode Island that there is a place in leadership at the highest level for all of us. ”

Previously, Watwood’s commissioned portraits include two mayors of St. Louis for City Hall and two historical portraits of pioneering women, Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin and Ida B. Wells, both in the collection of the Harvard Art Museums. Other institutions that have commissioned her work include Weill Cornell Medical Center, St. Louis University, and Washington University. Originally from St. Louis, she has created portraits for many families in the St. Louis area as well as around her current home, New York.

Watwood is a member of the Salmagundi Club of New York, where she is the current First Vice President (2021). She is also a Signature member of the Portrait Society of America and named a Living Master by the Art Renewal Center. She’s represented by Portraits Inc. and Dacia Gallery, and others.

Watwood earned her MFA with honors from New York Academy of Art and studied with Jacob Collins as a founding member of the Water Street Atelier. Watwood has produced instructional DVDs including “Creating Portraits from Life,” with Streamline Art Video, has been a professor of drawing at New York Academy of Art.

She has created several online drawing courses, including Seven Days of Drawing, with the creative streaming platform Craftsy.com. She has written articles for American Artist, American Arts Quarterly, and Fine Art Connoisseur magazines, and teaches painting in Brooklyn, online with Terracotta.org, and in workshops around the country.

Her first book, “The Path of Drawing,” is coming out with Monacelli Studio Press in late 2022. Learn more about Watwood at www.patriciawatwood.com.

State law requires that an official portrait be commissioned for each Governor by the Secretary of State’s office. The Secretary of State has requested that the State’s Arts Agency oversee the process.

Federal grants to support 6 RI arts organizations

Latest NEA funds to assist the vital arts economy and post-pandemic revitalization

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is NEA.jpgThe Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) announced today the state’s arts agency and five arts organizations will receive $988,200 in recommended grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The awards will be given to the Newport Music Festival, $15,000; AS220, $15,000; Brown University, $20,000; Community MusicWorks, $60,000; FirstWorks, $20,000; and RISCA, $858,200.

The grants are from three NEA funding categories, Grants for Arts Projects, Our Town, and State and Regional Partnerships. In total, this round of NEA’s distribution was more than $91 million in recommended grants to organizations in all 50 states and U.S. jurisdictions.

“As a key economic driver, our arts sector is an important part of Rhode Island’s recovery,” Governor Dan McKee said. “On behalf of our state, I thank the National Endowment for the Arts for their support. These investments are critical in helping to rebuild a sector that plays an important role in our cities and towns.”

“These non-profits enrich our communities through the arts and help diversify our economy.  I’m pleased to support federal funding for these artistic, cultural and educational programs,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed.

“The NEA is one of the biggest supports for the arts and cultural organizations that help make Rhode Island a great place to live and work,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “Federal investments have a significant role to play as the arts community continues to recover from the pandemic.”

“I am thrilled that the NEA has decided to fund these local organizations that play such a vital role in Rhode Island’s vibrant arts scene,” said Rep. Jim Langevin. “As we continue to recover from the pandemic, our arts economy is getting Rhode Islanders back out into their communities. This funding will help drive jobs and meaningful community events and programs.”

Rep. David Cicilline said: “These federal investments will help grow Rhode Island’s vibrant arts community and creative economy. These grants are essential in helping the arts community recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I will continue to work to make sure that Rhode Island artists and arts organizations receive the resources they need to continue their invaluable contributions to our communities.”

“Through our work with state and regional partners, the National Endowment for the Arts can extend its impact, reaching even more communities throughout the nation, providing opportunities for all of us to live artful lives,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “The arts contribute to our individual well-being, the well-being of our communities, and to our local economies. The arts are also crucial to helping us make sense of our circumstances from different perspectives as we emerge from the pandemic and plan for a shared new normal informed by our examined experience.”

RISCA spokesperson, Faye Zuckerman, expressed gratitude for the federal support Rhode Island’s arts organizations receive from the NEA. She said, “The federal funding will provide greater access to the arts, arts educators and organizations, among others. We thank our Congressional delegation and the NEA for once again noting the importance of the arts in our state and investing in our arts and culture economy.”

Mark your calendar for Indigenous Art of Communication, May 27

Come gather (in-person! outdoors!) and explore how Indigenous communities use their art to communicate and practice activism
Event is Friday, May 27, 2 p.m., at Tomaquag Museum, 390A Summit Rd., Exeter, RI

From visual language to activism our people have always used our voices and our surroundings to speak to one another and to the outside world. Come and share space with us at Tomaquag Museum to discuss how Indigenous communities use their art as voice and activism to tell our stories and how art created by our community is valued and used from storytelling to today’s small business structure. What does it mean to live in today’s world and what does it mean to honor our ancestors while walking in a modern world?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is MFA-event.jpgPresented by Samantha Cullen-Fry, the Indigenous Empowerment (IEN) Program Manager at Tomaquag Museum. Samantha’s role is to help facilitate relationships, through museum partnerships, that create a catalyst for economic change within the Native Community of Rhode Island. Many of the relationships formed have been with nonprofits in the state of Rhode Island. These partnerships focus on the various areas of interest in the community, including but not limited to theater, community-led initiatives, metalworking, pottery, education, business development, entrepreneurship, fish and wildlife, and many others. Samantha comes from a strong background in sales management. The creation of IEN was a calling for her to get back into the workforce after being a stay at home mom of her two beautiful girls. Her goal is to make a meaningful difference in her community through social justice and activism lens. In her spare time, Samantha enjoys attending Providence basketball games, listening to audiobooks, podcasts. She also enjoys gardening. Samantha is currently attending College Unbound in Providence obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership and Change.

This gathering is made possible through a partnership between the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) and Ministry of Future Access (MFA).

RSVP, click here.