AATE’s first hybrid conference is in Providence

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Providence, and RI writ-large, is a rich theater community. From large touring Broadway productions in the heart of downtown, to community based bilingual theaters and cultural showcases, we have so much to offer. More and more Providence is considered a better option than Boston or New York because of its unique cultural pool. Rhode Island’s Southeast Asian community, Latinx and Afro-Caribbean communities have thriving theater and performance organizations.

So, in celebration of all of this, RISCA is thrilled to announce that we are hosting The American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE) upcoming 35th annual, and first-ever hybrid, conference Arriba el Telón (Raise the Curtain)  at the Rhode Island Convention Center, July 28-31, 2022. This incredible national organization has chosen to convene its membership here to highlight our multi-lingual theaters and showcase our statewide commitment to theater education and insight into theater education as a means of conveying intergenerational knowledge and histories.

As a nonprofit organization, AATE works to ensure that every young person experiences quality theater arts in their lives provided by proficient, talented artists and educators. Based in Washington, D.C, AATE has made waves in sparking conversations throughout numerous specializations, especially artists, scholars and educators. Through this cross-fertilization of ideas, AATE has created a space for art to enhance education and vice versa. Rooted in social justice and youth agency, AATE works to emphasize how critical thinking/collaborative skills apply to all fields in the 21st century workforce. The AATE conference features workshops where people can learn alongside and from one another. From playwrights, applied theater artists, K-12 educators, social justice activists, actors, directors, social workers and more.

RISCA is thrilled that the conference will highlight local organizations and their excellent work. Stand out conference moments will be an all-conference keynote from Francis Parra, of Teatro ECAS, and a free live performance of La Mancha on the State House lawn as part of Teatro en el verano.

We thank the following individuals and organizations for their support and contributions to the conference:

  • Teatro ECAS, Francis Parra and Yvonne Beauregard
  • The Village Theater, Elvys Ruiz
  • The Wilbury Theatre Group, Max Ponticelli
  • Rhode Island Theatre Education Association, Stephanie Spaziano
  • Providence Performing Arts Center, Dana Brazil
  • Southside Cultural Center, Silaphone Nhongvongsouthy
  • Mat Bevilaqua, BEVROS

See the full conference schedule, click here.

The conference will run from Thursday, July 28, to  Sunday, July 31.

Registration is still open; online registration closes July 22. Click here to register. Tiered Registration (Select the tier that fits your budget): $100 (virtual) $150, $200, $250, $300.

For additional information, please visit www.aate.com/2022.

Our updated, new grant process provides more accessibility, inclusiveness, equity, transparency

With a newly updated strategic plan that included a revamped vision, mission and values for the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA), the staff, Governor-appointed Arts Council leadership, and members of the arts and culture community joined together to restructure the current grant programs to better reflect us. In keeping with the call to action from the new Strategic Plan, the undertaking with the community involved creating new granting programs that were transformative, relevant, inclusive, open, transparent, and most importantly equitable and accessible.
With these lofty goals and objectives in mind, the staff convened three diverse working groups to jointly create new grant programs and application processes.

The first newly reworked grant programs, geared for arts and culture organizations and individual arts, launched in February. Later in 2022, RISCA staff will lead community working groups to reassess grants in education and healthcare. In addition the apprenticeships and fellowships programs will be updated.

New granting programs for organizations

General Operating Support for Organizations (GOS-O), which has a deadline of April 1 and opens Feb. 15, was restructured with a 36-member working group representing 22 arts and culture organizations throughout Rhode Island. Participating organizations varied in size, communities engaged, and artistic discipline/cultural tradition. They were, AS220, Arts Equity RI (formerly VSA Arts), Chorus of Westerly, City of Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, Community MusicWorks, Eastern Medicine Singers, Hera Gallery, India Association of Rhode Island, Island Moving Company, Kingston Chamber Music Festival, Manton Avenue Project, New Urban Arts, newportFILM, Oasis International, Providence CityArts for Youth, Rhode Island Black Storytellers, Rhode Island Latino Arts, RI Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School, Riverzedge Arts, Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre, Teatro ECAS, and Trinity Repertory Company.

Some of the main features of the newly implemented GOS-O program sets explicit goals for recruitment of Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) organizations and organizations based in unrepresented cities and towns. It will have a three-year grant cycle and organizations will be evaluated by budget size. Applications will now be tiered in relationship to budget size. In addition, there’s new eligibility for fiscally sponsored organizations with budgets under $50,000.

Changes have been made to RISCA’s panel diversity requirements, including explicit BIPOC representation requirements. New evaluation criteria include artistic vibrancy and relevancy, organizational capacity and ingenuity, and commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and access. Organizations that represent historically marginalized communities or constituencies in their mission, programming, staff leadership and board such as BIPOC-centered organizations, organizations that are led by and engage people with disabilities are automatically considered for grant awards 1.5 times higher than their budget cohort.

Previously awards were based on historic funding without a consistent scheme and ranged from approximately $1,500 – $91,000 per year. For the new funding formula, Awards will now be between $3,000 – $40,000 yearly.

Project Grants for Organizations (PGO) is similar in character to its prior iteration, Arts Access. PGO provides grants of up to $3,000 in support of arts and culture projects that are relevant and meaningful to a Rhode Island community or communities. The new features of PGO are the application and budget documents, as well as waiving of the cash match requirement in this grant program for at least the next three fiscal years.

To develop the new application, RISCA assembled a 10 person BIPOC majority Working Group comprised of individuals working or volunteering at arts and culture organizations throughout Rhode Island. Seven of the 10 Working Group members came from organizations with annual budgets under $100,000, including: Arte Latino de Rhode Island, Arts Equity RI, Choral Collective of Newport County, Chorus of Westerly, Esperanza-Hope, Langston Hughes Community Poetry Reading, Providence CityArts for Youth, RI Cape Verdean Heritage Subcommittee, The Collaborative, and the Tomaquag Museum.

In addition to the new application, the PGO Working Group advised RISCA to reframe PGO as the entry-level grant program for organizations, recognizing that for many applicants, a PGO is their first time writing a grant or might be the only grant opportunity they regularly apply to. For that reason, they suggest RISCA provide robust application support both within the application itself, as well as through newly formatted grant workshops, and the continuation of RISCA’s practice of providing one-on-one meetings and drop-in office hours. In partnership with the Individual Artist Program, other new materials including how-to videos and a comic book will be developed over the course of the next year.

New Individual Artist Grant Programs

A working group of 10 artists from around the state, facilitated by Mollie, created four new grant programs for individuals. These four grant programs replace Project Grants for Individuals and the Fellowships — those programs will no longer be offered. These grant programs are focused on supporting artists at multiple stages of their career, and lowering barriers to application. Major changes include the elimination of partial funding; a shortened and streamlined application; and a focus on artist defined success and goals. For all of these grants, an individual must be the applicant, and the projects supported must be artist instigated and organized outside of institutional support and structures.

The Community Engaged Project Grants (CEPG) program provides funding of up to $3,000 for artists or groups of artists to create arts and culture projects that are directly and actively engaged with Rhode Island residents. This grant has its first deadline on April 1, and applications are open now.

The Make Art Grant program provides grants of up to $3,000 for artists to create or continue specific artwork in any discipline. Projects must have specific goals, though completion and public showing of the art is not required. This grant has its first deadline on April 1, and applications are open now.

The Opportunity Grant program provides Rhode Island artists funding of up to $1,000 for concrete opportunities that will support professional growth. This grant will be reviewed monthly, and will open on June 15.

The General Operating Support for Artists (GOSA) program provides grants of $6,000 for each of three consecutive years (total of $18,000) for artists to work towards large, specific, self-identified goals in their art practice. This grant has its first deadline on July 1, and applications will open May 1.

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.