Culture Builds the Future: October is Arts and Humanities Month in Rhode Island

October is National Arts and Humanities Month!

This year’s theme for Rhode Island’s Arts and Humanities Month is Culture Builds the Future. The R.I. Council for the Humanities and RISCA will be celebrating with programs that explore how arts, culture and the humanities build more vibrant futures by building more vibrant communities and positively affecting education, the environment, public health and civic health.

Click here to read the Governor’s proclamation on Arts and Humanities Month.

“As we move into the unchartered territory of a post-Covid world we need innovative solutions and creative empathy to solve new problems and address challenges that have been with us for generations. When arts and culture are employed to create social connection, drive economic opportunity, and create new visions for the future, we get results that are human centered, inspiring, complex and joyful. And, when we are intentional about using artistic practices in systems that may no longer be relevant, we can begin to heal and repair injustice. It is wonderful to celebrate the contributions R.I. artists and culture bearers make to our state’s economy and civic life during the month of October.” Lynne McCormack, Executive Director of RISCA.

“When RISCA and the Humanities Council worked together to make relief grants last year, we wanted to catalyze the ability of cultural organizations to thrive as well as survive the pandemic. We witnessed so much resilience, adaptation and innovation throughout the state. We are inspired to celebrate Arts and Humanities Month in this spirit and to showcase how culture builds the future. We hope you engage with the many activities going on throughout the month,” said Elizabeth Francis, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities.

The Humanities Council and RISCA will also share new tools and resources that will demonstrate how arts, culture and the humanities strengthen our communities, including the RI Arts Education dashboard, the first-ever RI Civic Health Index, and the recent Culture is Key: Strengthening Rhode Island’s Civic Health Through Cultural Participation report. 

The Humanities Council and RISCA will be wrapping up Arts and Humanities Month with a speaking program entitled How Culture Builds the Future, featuring awardees of the Rhode Island Culture, Humanities and Arts Recovery Grants (RI CHARG)  program, the Councils’  historic, collaborative grant program supported with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Occurring in the summer of 2021, RI CHARG provided $8,000 general operating support grants to 121 Rhode Island culture, humanities and arts nonprofit organizations, prioritizing  BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) centered organizations, and organizations with annual budgets under $500,000.

National Arts and Humanities Month (NAHM) is a nationwide collective recognition of the importance of culture in America. NAHM was launched more than 30 years ago by Americans for the Arts (AFTA) to raise public awareness about the critical role arts and humanities play in our communities.

Interested in joining the Councils in celebrating Arts and Humanities Month? Please participate in any of the programs we have listed below! We will be updating this blog post throughout September. However, the most important thing you can do is participate in arts, cultural and humanities focused events that are meaningful to you and your community, and communicate that importance to friends, neighbors and community leaders.

Here are the programs the Humanities Council and RISCA are presenting  during Arts and Humanities Month, including a few programs at the end of September that serve as a prologue for October’s events!

  • Now until Wednesday, October 26: Arts Champion Iona Dobbins – A Collection of Rhode Island Art. Gallery Reception: Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, from 5-7 p.m. Atrium Gallery at One Capitol Hill on the main floor of the state’s Administration Building in Providence. Iona Dobbins’ Collection features a beautiful arrangement of drawings, paintings, etchings, monotype, a quilt, along with ceramic, metal, blown and fused glass sculptural pieces. Free and open to the public. Iona Dobbins was a former Executive Director of RISCA.
  • Thursday, September 22: 2022 Celebration of the Humanities. 7 p.m. EST. Virtual event hosted by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities honoring this year’s awardees: Joan Abrams, Josh Short, Haus of Glitter for their Historical Fantasy of Esek Hopkins, and The Dorr Rebellion Project Website. Program also includes a keynote from Mónica Guzmán, author of I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times. Free registration required to attend live virtual screening. https://rihumanities.org/get-involved/celebrate/
  • Tuesday, September 27: Official launch of the RI Civic Health Index! The RI Civic Health Index is the first data-driven report assessing the health of RI’s civic health, helping us understand the role of the cultural sector in promoting civic engagement and community wellbeing. This initiative is led by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities in partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship and the Rhode Island Department of State and was designed with a community-first approach that included 10 Community Partners from across the state and a survey which hundreds of Rhode Islanders responded to from every city and town. Starting the 27th, Watch the video and read the report at: https://rihumanities.org/program/ri-civic-health-index/
  • Thursday, October 6: PORTALES: Reimagining the Future – Dance Performance & Story Circle. 6-9 p.m. at the WaterFire Arts Center in Providence. The PORTALES: Reimagining the Future exhibit will be accompanied by a dance performance by Sokeo Ros and story circle held by Anjel Newmann on Thursday, October 6  from 6-8 p.m. The Story Circle is supported in part by a partnership with the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, and is also support by a project grant from RISCA.
  • Friday, October 14: Coffee Hour presentation about upcoming public art commissions on URI Narragansett Bay Campus. 10-11 a.m. at the URI Narragansett Bay Campus at the OSEC building. Presented by the RISCA Public Art Program.
  • Tuesday, October 18:  In Conversation: Arts and Health with Melody Gamba. 5:30 – 7:30 p.m at Southside Cultural Center. Presented by the Arts and Health Network, a partnership between RISCA and RI Department of Health. Join in the dialogue with artists, creatives, health professionals and other innovators who believe in the power of the arts to engage communities and improve well-being. The event begins with a presentation, followed by open conversation and networking. Featured in this program is Health and Human Services Artist in Residence (AIR) Melody Gamba. Melody is a dance artist, educator, licensed mental health counselor and board-certified dance-movement. Free. Pre-registration required via Eventbrite.
  • Monday, October 24: Official Launch of the Rhode Island Arts Education Data Dashboard. Presented by RISCA. Prepared by Quadrant Research in partnership with the Arts Education Data Project this dashboard allows users to view arts education data in Rhode Island’s K-12 public and public charter schools. In development for over a year, this dashboard was built analyzing data publicly available from the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) and in partnership with DataSpark at the University of Rhode Island. If you have any questions or would like more information reach out to Maggie Anderson, Director of Arts in Education, at Maggie.Anderson@arts.ri.gov.
  • Currently being planned – October 26 or 27: How Culture Builds the Future Panel, co-hosted by the executive directors of RISCA and the Humanities Council.

See a full listing of programs supported by the Humanities Council here: https://rihumanities.org/calendar/

Equity and Access Workshop Series for Small, Midsize, and Volunteer-Led Organizations this Spring

In this workshop series co-presented by RISCA and Arts Equity, we will be supporting small, midsize, and volunteer-led organizations to become more equitable and accessible to all Rhode Island communities. These four spring workshops, presented in two parts and offered via Zoom, will focus on how arts and cultural organizations can actualize diversity, equity, inclusion, and access values through their governance, operations, and programming. With an understanding that time and resources are particularly limited at small and volunteer-led organizations, each workshop will focus on processes, strategies, and tactics organizations can employ now, on their own, with a minimal budget and little or no staff.

Workshops will be recorded – if you can’t attend at the scheduled time, still fill out the RISCA Equity and Access Workshops Interest Form and we will follow-up with more information.

Why this workshops series?

Between 2020 – 2021, RISCA restructured our Project Grants for Organizations and General Operating Support for Organizations in collaboration with working groups comprised of community members from arts and culture organizations around Rhode Island. Based on RISCA’s strategic plan and values statement, these working groups co-created with RISCA staff new grant programs and applications that are more streamlined, equitable and accessible. As part of this work, we heard from arts and cultural organizations, particularly small and volunteer-led organizations, the need for more information and support on how to make changes at their organizations and through their programming.

PART ONE: Building Capacity for Equity Work, with Dr. Brea Heidelberg, ISO Arts Consulting.

Workshop #1 – Initiating Equity Work at Small and Volunteer-Led Organizations: Wednesday, April 6, 2022 – 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Workshop #2 – Initiating Equity Work Follow-up Q + A Session: Wednesday, April 13, 2022 – 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Kicking off the Equity and Access Workshop Series, these workshops will build capacity among small, midsize, and volunteer-led arts and culture organizations to create and sustain diverse, equitable, and inclusive environments for the people working or volunteering at these organizations, as well as their audiences. Specific consideration will be given to the unique organizational context of volunteer-led and run organizations, with guidance on engaging in equity work that is sensitive to the resource limitations they often face. 

While these workshops are free and open to all, registration priority will be given to arts and culture organizations & culturally specific organizations that are current or past RISCA grant recipients. Interested in attending or receiving a recording? Fill out the RISCA Equity and Access Workshops Interest Form. You will be contacted with further information on how to register. All sessions will have closed captioning available, but please let us know two weeks prior to a workshop if you need additional accommodations either via the Interest Form, or by contacting Todd Trebour at todd.trebour@arts.ri.gov.

PART TWO: Creating Access & Inclusion, Organized by Jeannine Chartier, Arts Equity.

Workshop #1 – Getting Started: Understanding Dis/ability and Improving Accessibility:  Wednesday, April 27, 2022 – 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Workshop #2 – Understanding Neurodiversity and Enhancing Inclusion: Wednesday, May 4, 2022 – 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Following ISO Arts Consulting’s Equity workshops, we will provide a two-part workshop series to gain a deeper understanding of Dis/ability & Neurodiversity that will help small, midsize, and volunteer-led arts and culture organizations identify barriers and discover solutions to improve the accessibility of their organization and programs. Based on feedback from RI’s arts & cultural community, this workshop is designed to provide guidance about interacting, communicating with and including people with dis/abilities and differences to change things for the better and become part of the equity solution.

The first session, Getting Started: Understanding Dis/ability and Improving Accessibility, will introduce, explore and build upon your understanding of dis/ability that will provide ideas, approaches and concrete examples to improve accessibility throughout your organization and programs.

The second session, Understanding Neurodiversity and Enhancing Inclusion, will provide a deeper dive into neurodiversity, illustrate examples of access in action, and emphasize an array of resources available to enhance disability inclusion actions.

While these workshops are free and open to all, registration priority will be given to arts and culture organizations & culturally specific organizations that are current or past RISCA grant recipients. Interested in attending or receiving a recording? Fill out the RISCA Equity and Access Workshops Interest Form. You will be contacted with further information on how to register. All sessions will have closed captioning available, but please let us know two weeks prior to a workshop if you need additional accommodations either via the Interest Form, or by contacting Todd Trebour at todd.trebour@arts.ri.gov.

Peer Support calls for arts and culture organizations return in 2022!

RISCA’s peer support calls for arts and culture organizations are back!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Todd-T.pngWe will be hosting 1-3 calls a month, typically on Fridays from noon-1 p.m. See call schedule and descriptions below – for security reasons, you will need to RSVP via the associated Eventbrite page for each call. This page will be updated regularly with the schedule of upcoming calls.

Gently facilitated by RISCA staff, colleagues working at RI arts and culture organizations, and special guests, these calls are spaces for people working at arts and culture organizations to listen, talk, share resources, brainstorm ideas, and co-create solutions. Most calls will have a topic focus. There will be a few that will be full-on workshops (stay tuned on those).
 
In addition to being a form of peer support, these calls will inform staff members as to how they can best support your arts and culture organization during these difficult and uncertain time.

Call Schedule

Friday, Jan. 21, noon – 1 p.m. It Has Been A While – How Are You?  With Todd Trebour, RISCA’s Organizations Program Director. This first call will be freeform, but will help inform the content and thematic tracks for future calls. Let us know where you and your organization are at, what you are learning, what you might be struggling with, and the ways you think peer support calls could be focused in the future to help you as the pandemic continues to evolve. RSVP here to receive link.

Friday, February 25, noon-1 p.m. A Dialogue on Disaster Response. With Janet Newcomb, Executive Director of the National Coalition for Arts’ Preparedness and Emergency Response (NCAPER), and Tom Clareson, Project Director for Performing Arts Readiness. The past two years have shown us disaster situations that few were prepared for – the pandemic, its economic fallout, and concerns about racial, economic, and health inequity. How can your arts and culture organization survive – or possibly even thrive – amidst this perfect storm of concerns?

Join our speakers and facilitators Janet and Tom for a dialogue on disaster preparedness, response and recovery. Our speakers will ask the group a few questions, but mainly take time to answer your concerns about preparing for and recovering from all types of hazards. And, they will briefly cover critical resources that PAR, NCAPER, and other arts service organizations can provide to your organization. RSVP here to receive link.

Friday, March 4, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. What Should We Measure and Why? A Conversation with the Cultural Community. With Todd Trebour, RISCA’s Organizations Program Director, and Julia Renaud, Associate Director of Grants and Strategic Initiatives at the RI Council for the Humanities. The Humanities Council and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts collect information and data in grant applications and grant reports. While some information we collect is required by the federal government, some is not. Much of this data is critical in case-making and advocacy for the arts, humanities, and cultural communities and as both Council’s review data collection practices, we want to hear from you.

In this 1-hour call, we will review what information our Councils collect, and why. Based on that, we want to know what information you think could be helpful to collect for the cultural sector and why. The Humanities Council will also share their recent work connecting the outcomes of cultural activities to the state’s civic health—outcomes that organizations can measure in their own work. RSVP here to receive link.

Friday, March 25, 12 – 1 p.m. On the Horizon in Arts in Education. With Maggie Anderson, RISCA’s Arts in Education Director. Maggie will  report out on RISCA’s upcoming programs in partnership with RIDE and ways that organizations can continue to strengthen their school based work. Topics to include a preview of a new data dashboard, preview of arts coordinator position, secondary regulations and how to participate in public comment, final spend downs of ESSER funds, and RISCA’s Project Grants in Education overhaul. RSVP here to receive link.

Wednesday, April 6, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Initiating Equity Work at Small and Volunteer-Led Organizations. With Dr. Brea Heidelberg, ISO Arts Consulting. Presented in partnership with Arts Equity.
Wednesday, April 13, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.  Initiating Equity Work Follow-up Q + A Session. With Dr. Brea Heidelberg, ISO Arts Consulting. Presented in partnership with Arts Equity.

Kicking off the Equity and Access Workshop Series occurring in our Peer Support Call slots, these workshops will build capacity among small, midsize, and volunteer-led arts and culture organizations to create and sustain diverse, equitable, and inclusive environments for the people working or volunteering at these organizations, as well as their audiences. Specific consideration will be given to the unique organizational context of volunteer-led and run organizations, with guidance on engaging in equity work that is sensitive to the resource limitations they often face. 

While these workshops are free and open to all, registration priority will be given to arts and culture organizations & culturally specific organizations that are current or past RISCA grant recipients. Interested in attending or receiving a recording? Fill out the RISCA Equity and Access Workshops Interest Form. You will be contacted with further information on how to register. All sessions will have closed captioning available, but please let us know two weeks prior to a workshop if you need additional accommodations either via the Interest Form, or by contacting Todd Trebour at todd.trebour@arts.ri.gov. You can read more about the Equity and Access Workshop Series here.

Wednesday, April 27, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Getting Started: Understanding Dis/ability and Improving Accessibility. Organized by Jeannine Chartier, Arts Equity. Following ISO Arts Consulting’s Equity workshops, we will provide a two-part workshop series to gain a deeper understanding of Dis/ability & Neurodiversity that will help small, midsize, and volunteer-led arts and culture organizations identify barriers and discover solutions to improve the accessibility of their organization and programs. Based on feedback from RI’s arts & cultural community, this workshop is designed to provide guidance about interacting, communicating with and including people with dis/abilities and differences to change things for the better and become part of the equity solution.

The first session, Getting Started: Understanding Dis/ability and Improving Accessibility, will introduce, explore and build upon your understanding of dis/ability that will provide ideas, approaches and concrete examples to improve accessibility throughout your organization and programs.

While these workshops are free and open to all, registration priority will be given to arts and culture organizations & culturally specific organizations that are current or past RISCA grant recipients. Interested in attending or receiving a recording? Fill out the RISCA Equity and Access Workshops Interest Form. You will be contacted with further information on how to register. All sessions will have closed captioning available, but please let us know two weeks prior to a workshop if you need additional accommodations either via the Interest Form, or by contacting Todd Trebour at todd.trebour@arts.ri.gov. You can read more about the Equity and Access Workshop Series here.

-Wednesday, May 4, 2022, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Understanding Neurodiversity and Enhancing Inclusion. Organized by Jeannine Chartier, Arts Equity. The second session, Understanding Neurodiversity and Enhancing Inclusion, will provide a deeper dive into neurodiversity, illustrate examples of access in action, and emphasize an array of resources available to enhance disability inclusion actions.

While these workshops are free and open to all, registration priority will be given to arts and culture organizations & culturally specific organizations that are current or past RISCA grant recipients. Interested in attending or receiving a recording? Fill out the RISCA Equity and Access Workshops Interest Form. You will be contacted with further information on how to register. All sessions will have closed captioning available, but please let us know two weeks prior to a workshop if you need additional accommodations either via the Interest Form, or by contacting Todd Trebour at todd.trebour@arts.ri.gov. You can read more about the Equity and Access Workshop Series here.

Friday, May 20, 12 – 1 p.m.  How Can the Arts and Culture Sector Collaborate to Address Climate Change? With Mollie Flanagan, Individual Artists Program Director at RISCA, and Jonesy Mann, Operations Director at AS220. What are your biggest concerns about climate change in RI? What can we do about it? Who else should we be working with – both in and outside the arts sector? Join Mollie and Jonesy Mann as they facilitate a conversation around these (huge) questions. Our discussion is the first step to working together on some cross-sector mitigation projects, in partnership with NCAPER and  the AIR Institute through their Crisis Analysis and Mitigation pilot program.