Meet NeighborWorks and Emily Shapiro

Twice a year, RISCA awards grants in a number of categories. Over the next few months, we will be profiling the amazing artists and organizations that received grants at our April 1, 2017 deadline, two at a time.

neighborworks 1Arts Access Grant
Applicant Organization: NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley
Project: The Metta International Night Market is a one night cultural experience in the heart of Downtown Woonsocket. The Night Market will promote and embrace Woonsocket’s growing arts and culture district through cultural education and promoting local multicultural businesses. The Night Market is scheduled for August 18, 2017. Activities for the event will include: performances from cultural groups representing cultures reflected in the City of Woonsocket; group dance lessons from instructor from the Latino communities and the Southeast Asian communities; approximately 20 businesses, food, retail, service and non-profit organizations representing many area businesses and cultures present in Woonsocket; and an art exhibit will set up in the 40 South Main Street building open to local artists.
About the Organization: The mission of the Metta International Night Market is toneighborworks2 develop Woonsocket into a vibrant destination for visitors and residents by supporting and promoting local businesses, by sharing cultural traditions and activities, and by bringing diverse communities and industries together to spark a cultural renaissance in Downtown Woonsocket. NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley (NWBRV) is a nonprofit community development corporation that works with residents, businesses, neighborhood institutions, partners, and communities to enrich neighborhood life and make affordable housing opportunities available throughout Northern Rhode Island.

emily picProject Grants for Individuals
Artist: Emily Shapiro
Project: Posted Providence is a public, interactive art exhibition that began in the lobby of Trinity Rep in January, 2017. During the run of The Mountaintop, a production about the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. that ran during inauguration season, Emily created an interactive display of hand-painted 1960s-inspired protest signs, centered around a space through which audience members could respond to the prompt “what will you fight for?” with a post-it note. The prompt generated hundreds of responses, through which audience members could explore the ways in which individual citizens can help America live up to the ideals expressed in the constitution and hold themselves accountable for their own power.
Emily plans to use the generated responses to continue a conversation about art, protest, and collective identity around Providence. Installations in various civic centers will showcase the original post-it notes and will encourage audience feedback through opportunities for discussion, response, and art-making, while pop-up discussions with community scholars will allow for further understanding of the places in which art, activism, and identity intersect.
Artist Bio: Shapiro is an artist, scholar, and educator who works across a variety of posted pvdmedia and venues. Her experience ranges from teaching undergraduates about the history of design and conducting archival research about art objects, to creating custom installations and designs for weddings and corporate events, to art directing commercials and photo shoots, and most recently, set dressing, costume design and fabricating props for theatrical productions at Trinity, Out Loud Theater and The Gamm. She uses art and design as a way to engage critically, intellectually, and creatively with a wide range of communities and individuals, facilitating communication and conversation about collective and individual experience, identity, and understanding.