State’s Arts Council, RI Health Department name Melody Gamba public health Artist in Residence

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Gamba-Headshot-681x1024.jpgThe RI State Council on the Arts (RISCA) and the RI Department of Health (RIDOH) announced today Melody Gamba, Providence, as an Artist in Residence to be embedded in RI’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services (RI EOHHS). Gamba, who started on Monday (July 11), will bring arts-based approaches to public health priorities.

Gamba, a dance artist, educator, licensed mental health counselor and board-certified dance-movement psychotherapist, is a long-time advocate for inclusive, equitable and just educational outreach and therapeutic interventions. She believes that consistent access to quality health and wellness services combined with the arts will help foster healing, long-term systemic change, and ultimately build a stronger Rhode Island.

During her six-month residency, Gamba will use her artistic practice, and counseling and teaching experience to develop creative health solutions and outcomes for the Health and Human Services Agency. She will focus on the Children’s Behavioral Health System of Care and/or Overdose, Addiction and Adult Behavioral Health.

“Partnerships such as the Artist in Residence program advance our goal to integrate arts and arts-based therapies into healthcare as well as build sustainable health-arts policy, practice and research,” said Lynne McCormack, Executive Director of RISCA. “We will be supporting Melody throughout her residency as she applies her incredible talents to advancing health equity through the arts.”

“We look forward to working with Melody on creative ways to raise awareness on behavioral health and overall health equity within the communities we serve,” said Executive Office of Health and Human Services Acting Secretary Ana Novais. “We appreciate this exciting opportunity to make an impact on our colleagues and the greater community through artistic collaboration.”

“The arts can serve as a public health intervention providing a connection to social services, mental wellbeing, and individual and community health. Rhode Island has a unique opportunity to build on this growing field because of the one-of-a-kind partnership that exists between RIDOH and RISCA and our rich connection to the arts,” said Steven Boudreau, Chief Administrative Officer and Co-chair Arts and Health, RI Department of Health.

Within the context of EOHHS, Gamba will combine artistic practice, and explore and develop creative health solutions. She said, “I look forward to gaining a better understanding of how these agencies alongside community voices collaborate to identify and achieve health equity and mental health goals through art-based initiatives. Success would include building authentic relationships, collaborative community partners, and sustainable action that can continue beyond this residency.”

About Melody Gamba

Gamba received her Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Dance-Movement Therapy from Lesley University, and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College (MMC) in addition to being awarded the Silver M for outstanding leadership and involvement in the MMC community. Melody was the recipient of the Davis Fellowship from Salve Regina University for her thesis research utilizing dance-movement therapy as a tool to dismantle racism and injustice in service learning. She delivered the keynote address at the annual conference on Youth Mental Health (2019).  As a member of the Diversity in Motion Research Collective, she has co-presented workshops nationally.

In 2022, Gamba created Lighthouse Creative Collaborative, which offers expressive arts learning communities for individuals and organizations ready to implement social justice values; explore sustainable change; and create more open and compassionate communities. Alongside community partners, she facilitates professional development workshops and retreats focused on team building, arts-based solution sessions, embodied diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice, and somatic processing.

She is the past assistant Artistic Director and company member of Fusionworks Dance Company and was invited to perform with ESS/Dance Works, SOKOLOW NOW Anna Sokolow Contemporary Dance Company, Dancing Legacy, and Bill Evans Dance Company in addition to teaching and choreographing throughout the United States. She holds deep appreciation for her first dance teacher and mentor, Miss Carolyn Dutra. Currently, she is a program therapist at Butler Hospital in Providence, and an adjunct professor at Salve Regina University and Lesley University. She is a member of the ADTA Multicultural and Diversity Committee, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force, and was awarded the Leader of Tomorrow (2019) by the organization. She was humbled to receive the presidential scholarship to further her research using the arts to evoke equitable and just social change in Lesley University’s Ph.D. Counseling and Psychology: Transformation Leadership, Education and Applied Research Program.

Applications open May 1 for Teaching Artist Roster and General Operating Support for Artists

Applications are now open for the General Operating Support for Artists grant program and the Rhode Island Teaching Artist Roster! The application deadline for both programs is July 1 by 11:59 p.m.

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The Teaching Artist Roster is a list of teaching artists and arts organizations who have been reviewed by public panels and selected based on their mastery of an artistic discipline, experience and training to work in educational settings. For more information and/or questions on the Roster, contact RISCA’s Arts in Education Director at

RISCA’s General Operating Support for Artists (GOS-A) program provides grants of $6,000 for each of three consecutive years (totaling $18,000) for artists to work toward large, specific, self-identified goals in their art practice. This funding is unrestricted, and artists can use the funds to support their goals however they need. RISCA’s Individual Artist Program Director, Mollie Flanagan, has scheduled virtual workshops and office hours throughout May and June, you can also reach her at

RSVP is required for all workshops, drop-in hours and one-on-one meetings. At this time, all meetings are virtual – by Zoom or phone.

  • Wednesday, June 1, 4 p.m., RSVP, click here.
  • Recording of previous grant workshop:
  • Saturday June 25, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., RSVP, click here.
  • Thursday, June 30, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., RSVP, click here.
  • Friday, July 1, 1 p.m. -5 p.m., RSVP, click here.

Sign up for a 30 minute meeting with Individual Artist Program Director, Mollie Flanagan. You can use that time to ask questions, get feedback on your application, get technical support, or anything else you need to complete your grant application. Times and dates vary, and more may be added as slots fill up. RSVP, click here.

RI Rebounds Small Business Relief Grant Program Now Open!

Apply now! Application deadline is Tuesday, Feb. 15
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is RI-REBOUND-GRAPHIC.pngThe Rhode Island Rebounds Small Business Grant Program provides direct financial assistance to our state’s small businesses that have suffered financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you are an independent artist or creative, small business owner, or make 20 percent of your income through your art, you are likely eligible. This new grant program, a partnership with Rhode Island Commerce, provides direct financial assistance grants of either $2,500 or $5,000.  The submission deadline is at 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 15. See below for a recording of a webinar specifically for artists and creatives, as well as a FAQ. If you have additional questions, please reach out to Mollie via email at
You do NOT need to have incorporated as an LLC or other formal business entity to qualify for this grant – if you are making money with your artistic practice, you are running a small business as a sole proprietorship.

RI Commerce has prepared a Frequently Asked Questions: