RISCA Announces Over $825,000 in Grants to Artists, Schools, Arts Organizations


Rhode Island schools, organizations, community centers and artists were awarded $827,782 in the April 2019 round of grants from RISCA. The Arts Council’s board approved the awarding of these grants at its June meeting in Providence. These grants will go to support arts in education, community-based projects by organizations and individual artist fellowships and projects for this fiscal year. Statewide, 146 grants were awarded in response to applications received at RISCA’s April 1 deadline.

Governor Gina Raimondo applauded the recipients of these grants, saying, “I’m thrilled to support these grants awarded by the State Arts Council. The arts are a significant part of our economy—they represent jobs for artists and non-artists alike, and are part of the reason why Rhode Island is a destination for cultural tourism. The State’s investment in the arts contributes to the quality of life we enjoy, and the education of all Rhode Islanders. I’m proud to live in a state that values the arts in our everyday lives.”

“We’re particularly pleased with this round of grant awards,” said Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the RISCA. “Programs in arts education and projects that support the work of artists in communities throughout our state contribute to our great quality of life here in Rhode Island.”

RISCA funds are matched by businesses, individuals, and earned income. The Council receives its support through an annual appropriation from the Rhode Island General Assembly and from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Examples of projects supported in the current round of grants include:

The PACE Org of RI in Woonsocket received $2,500 to complete a mural project with Riverzedge Arts to be painted on a concrete wall that is visible from the day center windows of PACE’s northern Rhode Island location. This project includes planning sessions where the youth of Riverzedge Arts and the elders at PACE work together to create a design that would later be painted.

School One in Providence received $3,000 to offer an Intergenerational Arts Program. The program brings together high school students and adults aged 65 and over to explore their creativity, learn theater skills, develop their powers of expression, and forge relationships across the generations. Unique to RI, the Intergenerational Arts Program uses theater to foster authentic collaboration and learning.

In partnership with Central Falls School District’s “Expanded Learning Communities,” artist Benjamin Lundberg Torres Sánchez from Providence received $1,880 to offer summer-long Media Literacy & Media Production workshops to high school or middle school aged young people that will resource them with grounding in media analysis & provide practical skill-building in production using readily available tools such as the students’ phones.

Artist Alfonso Acevedo from Central Falls received $2,500 to continue his Millennium Art Factory Central Falls project, working with youth ages 6-20 providing free art workshop for students of all levels of experience to hone their art skills. The work the participants create is then exhibited around Central Falls and Pawtucket in local businesses and government buildings.

Artist Mishki Fern Thompson, Narragansett, from Charlestown will lead 10 free beading workshops around Washington County, RI. These workshops will introduce the public to Native American culture and Native traditions of beading arts, as well as how to create their own pieces of art. Half of the workshops are for youth ages 10-15, and half are for teens and adults ages 16 and up.

Oasis International in Providence received $2,250 in support of their 26th African Summer Bash. The Bash celebrates the cultural richness of African and other diverse ethnic groups in Southwest Providence – including the Cape Verdean community – through music, dance, food, and the arts. The Bash is a free, all-day festival with games and live entertainment for all ages.

The Autism Project in Johnston received $3,000 in support of “In Harmony”, a program in partnership with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School that provides music and social skills education to children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. The program includes a school year of weekly music education for 15-20 youth, ending with a public performance; and summer camp for 115 campers with music activities.

For a complete list of grant recipients go to https://risca.online/grants/grant-recipients-fy20-spring-cycle/

Featured Image: The PACE Org of RI and their work with Riverzedge Arts.

An Homage to Dan Kahn on his Retirement

by Randall Rosenbaum,

Executive Director at RISCA

If you know RISCA, you know Dan Kahn. Dan has been associated with RISCA, in one capacity or another, for over thirty years. Most know Dan as our intrepid Arts Education Assistant, the individual who handles most of our grants to schools and education projects: the “micro” (as Dan likes to say) to Education Director Maggie Anderson’s “macro” work with the State Department of Education on arts education policy issues.

Dan is retiring from RISCA. Let that sink in for a moment.

Dan is a gentle man; indeed, he is the purest definition of gentle and man. He is super intelligent, knowledgeable on a broad range of topics (world music is just one of his areas of expertise), and totally committed to equity and fairness. He has been the best face of RISCA to teachers and teaching artists one could ever imagine. They will miss him, I’m sure. But not as much as we will.

Thanks, Dan, for helping to make RISCA what it is today. And for helping to make arts education a pillar of our work in Rhode Island.

If you have any questions about RISCA’s Education programs, including grants from our April 2019 cycle, you can contact Maggie Anderson at maggie.anderson@arts.ri.gov. For questions about RISCA’s Project Grants in Healthcare, contact Sherilyn Brown at sherilyn.brown@arts.ri.gov

Elena and Todd at the Americans for the Arts Convention in Minneapolis

Last week, RISCA Program Directors Elena Calderón Patiño and Todd Trebour presented at the Americans for the Arts Convention (AFTA) in Minneapolis. Elena presented on the success of the RI Expansion Arts Program in the session Succeeding at Complex Partnerships. The RI Expansion Arts Program is a long-running partnership between the Rhode Island Foundation, the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, and RISCA.
For a small group of State Arts Agencies colleagues and State Arts Advocacy Organization leaders, Todd co-presented with Dr. Brea Heidelberg on the partnership with the Rhode Island Foundation and process behind the development of the Advancing Cultural Equity Pilot Program. Todd also co-facilitated AFTA’s Newcomers Orientation, as well as a participatory session called Spectacular Failures. Lastly, as a member of AFTA’s Emerging Leaders Advisory Council, Todd met with his colleagues on the Council, who come from across the country, to discuss issues effecting emerging leaders in the field and advise on AFTA’s field education programming (pictured above).