RI Cultural Anchor: Elizabeth Woodhouse

IMG_2807 - Elizabeth WoodhouseElizabeth Woodhouse founded and serves as the Artistic Director of the Newport County Youth Chorus, which was established in September 2017. She has worked with community children’s choirs for more than 15 years in Denver, CO, Columbus, OH, New Haven, CT and most recently in Brooklyn, NY with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus from 2010 – 2016. We asked her a few questions about her 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.
EW: Yesterday was a DAY! It started by visiting Hathaway Elementary in Portsmouth to work with the 3rd grade chorus as they prepare to sing the National Anthem for the Newport Gulls game on June 17. From there I visited Common Fence Point to tour their new hall (still under construction) and learn more about the possibility of holding weekly rehearsals there. Yesterday was also the final rehearsal for the six-week NCYC “All That Jazz” program at St. Mary’s Church in Portsmouth. We presented the songs we learned to our families and friends and then celebrated with lots of sugary treats! From there I (safely, though swiftly) drove to ‘VUE in Newport to attend the Arts and Cultural Alliance’s “Raise Up the Arts” event! We celebrated our award winners of the new Artist Awards and the 3rd annual Tinney scholarship. It was a whirlwind of a day, but when I fall into bed after a long day like that I am grateful that I get to do what I love to do!

RISCA: What do you love about the art community in Rhode Island?JC3_5348 - Elizabeth Woodhouse
EW: What struck me the most when I started dreaming about starting the Newport County Youth Chorus in 2017 was that everyone I reached out to offered sincere and supportive advice and insight. Despite what some people say about Rhode Islanders, the arts community is open to new artistic ideas and programs. I felt and continue to feel truly embraced by the community.

RISCA: Why do you make Rhode Island your home, and how did you end up here?
EW: My parents met in Providence and both of their families were in Rhode Island (Little Compton and Narragansett). Though I did not grow up in RI, we would spend every summer here and it always felt like “home” to me. It took many years and living in five states before I finally settled in Rhode Island in 2016, but I always knew I would!

RISCA: Why do you do what you do? What inspires you, drives you, to create or enable the creation of art?
EW: I love being able to provide a space for young people to explore their unique voice and experience how it impacts a collective goal, which in NCYC is through singing in a chorus. I feed on their curious and excited energy as they discover themselves through music.

DSC_9499 - Elizabeth WoodhouseRISCA: What is the biggest challenge for you in your art life?
EW: My biggest challenge in my art life is feeling isolated in my own work. It is easy to feel like we are alone when we are at the forefront of an idea or project that we are passionate about. I am consciously working on bringing people into the fold who can provide support in various ways: cheerleaders of the program, financial support, and community partners.

To keep up with Elizabeth and all the happenings at Newport County Youth Chorus, like them on Facebook and follow them on Instagram!

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.