Introducing RISCA’s Teen Arts Assembly

RISCA is thrilled to announce the inaugural members of the Rhode Island Teen Arts Assembly. The Rhode Island Teen Arts Assembly is a group of student leaders who collaborate with the​ Rhode Island State Council on the Arts to advise the Education Department on initiatives and youth involvement, to represent Arts Education and the creative sector at events throughout the State, and to develop creative skills, leadership experience, and opportunities for their peers to engage with the arts. The Assembly members work with RISCA staff and local partners to develop projects at the intersection of arts education, advocacy and community engagement.

Lola Rael

Lola is a senior at School One.  Lola is from Cranston.  Lola identifies as a future art educator.  In just the last two years she has participated in Intergenerational Arts programs through her school, volunteered at CityArts, interned for Gallery Night Providence and been invited to sit on their board and been given charge of an audience survey for the organization. In her personal statement she wrote, “Part of Gallery Night’s mission is to make the Providence Art scene more accessible, but leaving out whole neighborhoods means we’re missing the mark. . . If I could implement one initiative in RI community, it would be art programs for older teens in South Providence.”

Mia Stevenson

Mia is from North Kingstown, attends the East Bay Met school and is part of RISD’s Project Open Door. They are a multidimensional artist aspiring to be an illustrator. Mia aims to raise awareness around the issues that LGBTQ youth face in a way that gives back to the community. They write in their statement, “As a member of POD (Project Open Door) I want to highlight their generosity and inclusivity . . .I would love to implement an initiative to get more students into free art programs . . .Making art programs for kids free makes them a million times more accessible and makes the arts seem a million times less like an ‘extra credit’ kind of thing.”

Abigail Casey

Abigail is a sophomore at Westerly high school and has been a performer with the Chorus of Westerly for 7 years. Ryan Saunders says, “she serves as connector for nearly all our teens. . . She is a center point for our expanding teen program, and she helped us nurture her fellow teens from a social and community point of view” Abigail writes, “I firmly believe everyone can learn something from each other and by collaborating together, more opportunities can arise.”

Nkeke Harris

Nkeke is a sophomore at the East Bay Met and an intern at the Tomaquag Museum. He also interns at “Rites + Reason Theatre” at Brown and was a fashion design intern at “Restored by Design”.  Nkeke wrote that if appointed to the Assembly he “would like to highlight that empowerment through art and culture brings to a community social justice and cultural reclamation.”  An American Indian from the Narragansett Tribe Nkeke would like to implement “free cultural arts classes that will give youth access to the many vibrant cultures of Rhode Island while also providing exposure to the arts.”

Flora Ackley

Flora’s interest in joining the Assembly “…is in creating a physical space where teens that are interested in are, and may not get enough of it in school, can come together.” A sophomore at School One in Providence, her advisor remarks, “Flora Ackley [is] a very strong student in the arts, academics, and community engagement.”

Jayson Rodriguez

Jayson is a sophomore at Classical High School and a member of the Studio Team Advisory Board at New Urban Arts.  Jayson is from Providence. In addition to his affiliation with NUA he is also a youth organizer for the Providence Student Union and a photographer. Jayson hopes to bring the community aspect of NUA to the RISCA Teen Arts Assembly.  He is interested in planning a student art gallery space to spotlight young local talent and give them an opportunity to sell work and begin a career as a professional artist.