Community Poem – The Rhode Island Public Health Association Public Health Summit 2023

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The Rhode Island Arts and Health Partnership (RISCA and RIDOH) presented at the inaugural RI Public Health Association Public Health Summit on April 19, 2023, alongside artists and health professionals working in the field integrating arts to promote individual and community health and well-being.

This 2-day conference showcased innovative approaches in public health and included speakers with a focus on health equity and public health. The conference was open to healthcare and human services clinicians and providers, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, patients, health plans, researchers, public health officials, students and anyone interested in health equity and public health.

As part of our Arts and Health break-out session, co-presenters, Wendy Grossman invited all of our session attendees to co-create a community poem on wellness. Everyone was given the same prompt: My wellness feels like…. and asked to finish the line. Wendy collected the cards and created a poem from the submissions. She read the poem to the group before we closed our session.

(contributors: Amanda, Anisa, Deep, Denise, Eric, Karen, Kelsey, Kenya, Laura, William and 14 other Anonymous poets)

My Wellness Feels Like

My wellness feels like
a great day       a summer day
sometimes like a cold winter day that turns into a winter night
my wellness feels like the calm of the ocean on somedays
but also the crashing of the waves
my wellness feels like the peace and tranquility
and stillness after a rainstorm
feels like finding the perfect song that matches how I feel
my wellness feels like my baby kicking me
and reminding me he is there
my wellness feels like a breath of fresh air
like playing the right chord on my guitar
my wellness feels like sipping hot Guatemalan coffee (café Bombon)
at or around the PVD pedestrian bridge on a sunny day
feels like hanging outside, after family lunch,
blowing bubbles with my grown nephews
my wellness feels like the blooming cherry blossoms outside of the library
where I’m curled up by a huge window with my favorite book
and a steaming cup of coffee
my wellness feels like a healthy family around me and time to enjoy them
a positive sense of physical and mental well-being
my strength pushing me forward each day!
my wellness feels like contentment
like an exciting opportunity for self-care
my wellness feels like a hyacinth trying to keep itself up
sunshine beating down on my face
a warm summer sunny day enjoying all aspects of nature
and the wonder of all things
my wellness feels like selfcare, is surfing and music
the perfect combination of calm and energy
a balancing act held in equipoise, delicate but durable
my wellness feels like happiness
like a well-tuned cello
my wellness feels like the sound of my toddler’s snores and quietness of the night
I am finally able to hear myself think before dozing off to sleep
my wellness feels like understanding, acceptance,
needs that are easily accessed, harmony, peace, pain reduction,
community resources used to assist all, a universal love for all living things,
sharing of experiences to be known, to be heard and help others be heard,
to create better understanding and connectedness
my wellness feels like a cloudy night, waiting for the moon to come out!


More info on the session:

Break out Session: The impact of Arts and Health on individual and community health and well-being.

Co-presenters included Anisa Raoof, Arts and Health Grants Program Manager, RISCA and Steven Boudreau, Director, Office of Workforce Development and Employee Engagement, RIDOH along with:

Melody Gamba is a dance artist, educator, licensed mental health counselor, and board-certified dance/movement psychotherapist. She has collaborated with organizations to explore building connection and community through arts and was the 2022 Arts and Health Artist in Residence in partnership with RIDOH, RISCA, and Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS). 

Wendy Grossman is an Activities Therapist and Coordinator of the Healing Arts Program at Butler Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Providence. Also, a writer, Wendy has over twenty-five years’ experience in utilizing the arts as a tool of engagement to promote individual and collective well-being in a variety of communities including adults experiencing homelessness, adults with mental illness, adults with physical and developmental disabilities, adults in addiction recovery, and with elder adults and youth.

Rachel Balaban is a Rhode Island teaching artist and movement educator. She is the regional coordinator for Dance for PD, and the founder of Dance for All People (DAPpers []), a multigenerational dance program designed for people with movement challenges and aging bodies. Rachel leads movement workshops for schools, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities, in addition to her extensive work in academia where she is an Associate Teacher at the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University educating future doctors on the importance of dance for health. She is committed to helping people access their vitality and health through using their own bodies and to make dance accessible to all populations.

Nicole O’Malley is an Assistant Professor and founding director of URI’s Music Therapy program and founding Executive Director of Hands in Harmony, a local 501c3 nonprofit that oversees music therapy programming throughout RI.   

RISCA staff members assist in navigating the FY22 fall grant application process

Get your questions to staff prior to 6 p.m. on deadline day– October. 1. The portal closes at 11:59 p.m.

Click here to sign up for open office hours on Oct. 1.

Our helpful and friendly RISCA staff can assist you with your grant application needs. In addition, we are available to meet with you about your grant ideas. We are offering grant writing and budgeting workshops, drop-in hours and one on one meetings during August and September so you can meet our Oct. 1 deadline.

In addition to open office hours on Oct. 1, the staff is available for schedule meetings throughout the open granting period.

How to schedule a one-on-one meeting

Arts Access Grant

Todd Trebour, Organizations Program Director, will be holding one-on-one virtual meetings for nonprofit organizations interested in Arts Access Grants organizations. He will answer any questions you have about the grant program. He can also help you with the budget forms; review any specific answers you’ve written; or any other assistance you need with your grant application.

You can sign up for either a 30 minute or 1-hour meeting slot. To schedule a meeting with Todd, click here.

If none of the dates or times listed works for you, email Todd at for alternate date or time.

Project Grants in Education and Individuals in Education

Maggie Anderson, Director of Arts In Education, will be holding one-on-one meetings for nonprofit organizations, artists and schools interested in Project Grants in Education for Individual.

For more information and to schedule a meeting to assist you with your grant application, email Maggie Anderson at


Mollie Flanagan, Individual Artists Program Director, will be holding one-on-one virtual meetings for artists interested in fellowships for individual artists. She will be answering any questions you have about the grant program.

You can sign up for drop-in hours with Mollie. Here is a listing of Mollie’s meetings. Please sign up in advance for the following drop-in hours.

For office hours for Fellowships, please sign up in advance by clicking here.

Folk Arts Fellowships and Apprenticeships

Elena Calderón Patiño, Community Arts Program Director, will hold meetings for artists and culture organizations interested in folk arts. The folk arts are defined as those artistic practices which are community or family-based and express that community’s aesthetic heritage and tradition.

For more information and to schedule a meeting, contact

Project Grants in Healthcare

For more information on Project Grants in Healthcare, contact

Rep. Langevin Hosts Grant Workshop with NEA, RISCA for Disability Led and Serving Organizations

Grant workshop focused on funding from the American Rescue Plan Act
Deadline for applications is August 12

Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), the co-chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, hosted a virtual grant workshop with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) for organizations from throughout the country working at the forefront of arts and accessibility. The workshop focused on funding available through the NEA from the American Rescue Plan Act and aimed to put disability-led and disability serving organizations in a strong position to successfully apply for this funding opportunity.

“The arts provide so many benefits for people with disabilities, like helping improve cognitive and motor skills and boosting self-esteem and emotional wellbeing. Art also offers an outlet for expressing many of the unique challenges that people with disabilities face,” said Rep. Jim Langevin. “As a strong supporter of the arts, I’m grateful to NEA, RISCA, and other state arts councils that are working hard to make these funds available across the country so that organizations focused on art and accessibility can emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever.

Arts and culture organizations were among the hardest hit by the pandemic. These funds will allow organizations to make critical investments to reopen their doors and welcome back the public.  Organizations may apply for general operating support such as employee salaries, mortgage, and health and safety equipment. 

“The Arts Endowment is grateful for Representative Langevin’s leadership in the fields of disability rights and the arts,” said National Endowment for the Arts Acting Chairman Ann Eilers. “We have a unique opportunity to work together to assist as many organizations as possible and encourage greater access to the arts for all.”

“Congressman Langevin is a champion of the arts in Rhode Island and throughout the nation,” said Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. “We are proud of his work on behalf of the arts and culture in Washington, and thrilled that he hosted this important workshop by the National Endowment for the Arts, designed to help organizations that serve people with disabilities access funding through the American Rescue Plan to support necessary arts programming for these historically underrepresented communities.”

The NEA received $135 million in the American Rescue Plan Act, representing a strong commitment from President Biden and Congress to the arts and a recognition of its value to our economy. In April, as required by statute, the Arts Endowment made available 40 percent of those funds to the state arts agencies and regional arts organizations. The NEA will award the remaining amount in direct grants. 

More information about grants through the American Rescue Plan is on the NEA website. This includes application guidelines, FAQs, and a growing collection of applicant resources. The deadline for applications is August 12.