Haley and Maggie’s Excellent “Poetry Out Loud” Adventure

Poetry Out Loud is a national program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.  Poetry Out Loud encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. The program culminates is a final recitation competition where each state and territory in the United States sends a champion. The 2019 National Finals were held April 30-May 1, 2019 at  George Washington University.  This year, the Rhode Island Champion was senior Haley Long from Classical High School. 

RISCA Arts in Education Director, Maggie Anderson, joined Haley on the trip to DC for the final competition. It’s a tough schedule for the finalists. On Tuesday, April 30, the state champions competed throughout the day in semi-final rounds. The top nine finalists (three from each semi-final round) advanced to the finals competition on Wednesday, May 1. Poet, author, and 2018 National Book Award recipient Elizabeth Acevedo hosted the event, which also included a performance by Kansas City-based mother/son duo Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear.

This year’s winner of Poetry Out Loud was Isabella Callery from Minnesota.  Haley was a strong competitor, receiving perfect scores for accuracy in her semi-final.  Although she didn’t advance to the final round, she made Rhode Island proud by being an encouraging, supportive, and enthusiastic cheerleader for the new friends and fellow young poets still advancing in the competition. 

While on this trip, both Haley and Maggie made the most of being in Washington, DC. Haley was able to meet with almost all of the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation and speak to them about the importance of poetry in her life. Maggie spent time with her colleges from State Arts Agencies throughout the country discussing the challenges and successes of the Poetry Out Loud program – and youth arts programs in general – and deeply exploring issues of inclusion, equity, access and diversity. 

Haley, who graduates next month, will be attending Columbia University in the Fall of 2020 after spending a gap year in Spain.

Poetry Out Loud RI is an annual competition for high school students; there is no cost to participate. RISCA partners with VSA Arts RI to coordinate the local and state competitions.  For more information on how to get involved email Martha Lavieri at poetryoutloudri@gmail.com

*Pictured, Maggie Anderson, Haley Long and mother, Justice Melissa A. Long; Senator Jack Reed and Haley Long; Haley Long and new friends

RI Cultural Anchor: Uriah Donnelly

UD - uriah donnellyUriah is a nonprofit administrator and arts educator from Warren, RI where in early 2016 he launched The Collaborative, a nonprofit arts organization. Uriah is also a published writer and celebrated musician. He lives in Warren with his wife, Janet. We asked him a few questions about his life and art-making in Rhode Island for our series, Rhode Island Cultural Anchors.

RISCA: Give us a brief overview of your day yesterday- what did you do in both your personal and professional life.
UD: Well, the Collaborative is one of four “jobs” that I have so each day is unique. But specifically yesterday I ran an art selection presentation for Art Connection-RI at WARM Center in Westerly, updated the website for Art Night Bristol Warren, met with the Superintendent of Bristol Warren Schools as part of my grant writing position with the Town of Warren, and then went shopping for refreshments for The Collaborative’s Student Artist of the Month Artist Reception. Later in the evening, I attended the reception (which was very well attended!)

RISCA: What do you love about the art community in Rhode Island?
UD: Simply put, it’s that there are so many folks doing great things here with creativity and drive to make the arts a permanent part of Rhode Island’s economic and cultural RISCA - uriah donnellylandscape.

RISCA: Why do you make Rhode Island your home, and how did you end up here?
UD: I’m a Rhode Islander. My family are Rhode Islanders. There’s not a way to un-become that, it’s in the blood.

RISCA: What is one thing, personal or professional, that you or your organization want to accomplish in the next year?
UD: My main goal has always been to grow The Collaborative into a sustainable organization with full time employees and year-round arts education programs. This year we were able to begin compensating our Gallery Manager with a small stipend. My hope to grow that position into full time by next year. Programming-wise, we are really working hard on adding more workshop and class opportunities for people of all ages.

RISCA: Why do you do what you do? What inspires you, drives you, to create or enable the creation of art?
Self - uriah donnellyUD: Have you ever seen the look on a young person’s face when they create something they are proud of and see it hung on a gallery wall? Or the look when someone they don’t know purchases it? The arts are so important to the community, I can’t think of anything else I’d prefer to do than support the folks creating it.

RISCA: What is one thing you think the art community in Rhode Island needs?
UD: More funding! Lots and lots of money please.

You can see what Uriah is up to at The Collaborative by visiting their website, and following them on Facebook and Instagram.

Mural by RI Artist Featured in eMoney’s New Offices

eMoney ribbon cuttingRISCA has been working with eMoney Advisor since November of 2017, three months after they opened their offices in Providence. While eMoney was in a temporary space, we worked with their  staff to select three RI artists to show in their space. We installed pieces by Jodie Goodnough, Kathy Hodge, and Johnny Adimando in the offices in March 2018. As eMoney grew rapidly, we worked with them to commission a local artist to create and install a mural in their permanent space at 100 Westminster in downtown Providence. On Monday, May 6th, in a ribbon cutting with Governor Raimondo and Mayor Elorza, eMoney unveiled the mural as a highlight of their new office space.emoney mural

Artist Lizzy Sour, a Providence native and current RISD freshman, created a mural approximately 20 feet by 13 feet, showcasing eMoney’s mission and culture, icons selected by eMoney staff, and images central to Rhode Island. Bill Burg, eMoney Advisor’s Creative Director, said “We wanted to hire an up-and-coming artist local to Rhode Island.  We really liked Lizzy’s work because it’s expressive and fun and connects to the eMoney brand. The only direction we supplied was to include the eMoney logo and icons that represent the company. The rest was up to her.  She provided us with a few sketches, andemoney lizzy and gina we ended up selecting a concept that’s similar to what you see today. It’s inspiring to look at the mural because each time you find something new.”

Lizzy Sour’s work has been seen in the Dirt Palace windows, at Paris + Friends pop ups, at Providence Field Day, around the streets of Rhode Island and Los Angeles, and she has a brand new mural in AS220’s recently reopened bar. In addition to large scale murals, Lizzy also creates apparel, protest signs, and a variety of other work. You can check out more of Lizzy’s work on Instagram or on her website.