The National Endowment for the Arts announced today that it has awarded grants totaling $145,000 to seven arts organizations and agencies in Rhode Island. These federal grants support projects by some of Rhode Island’s major arts institutions. In addition, the Endowment works in partnership with the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) to ensure that the people of Rhode Island have access to the arts.
In announcing the grants, National Endowment for the Arts Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter said, “The arts enhance our communities and our lives, and we look forward to seeing these projects take place throughout the country, giving Americans opportunities to learn, to create, to heal, and to celebrate.”
Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, said, “we are delighted that the National Endowment for the Arts has supported these important Rhode Island arts institutions with direct grants. These grants will help thousands of Rhode Islanders experience the finest our state’s cultural institutions have to offer. In addition, the National Endowment for the Arts works to ensure that people throughout the country have access to the arts, in their communities and as part of their educational and life experiences. Every grant that we make at the state level is a reflection of that national effort to make the arts available to all of our citizens, and as such is enormously important. The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts is proud to work with our federal partner in that effort.”
Here is the list of grants recently announced by the National Endowment for the Arts:
The National Endowment for the Arts today announced that five Rhode Island organizations, including the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, will receive $878,700 in federal grants through the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). These grants will support activities in communities throughout Rhode Island that affect our state’s economy, quality of life and educational programs.
Governor Gina M. Raimondo expressed appreciation for the federal investment in Rhode Island’s cultural sector. “We’re grateful for the NEA’s support of arts programming and activities in our state,” said Governor Raimondo. “Every dollar that goes to support the arts results in more jobs for Rhode Islanders, an economy and cultural life that makes our state an exciting destination for visitors and business alike, and innovative arts education programs like RISD’s Project Open Door, that helps Rhode Island high school students prepare for exciting opportunities in the arts.”
In announcing the grants, National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu said, “The American people are recognized for their innovative spirit and these grants represent the vision, energy, and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations. I am proud of the role the National Endowment for the Arts plays in helping advance the creative capacity of the United States.”
Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, applauded the federal arts funding agency for its support. “We have seen clear evidence that the arts contribute dramatically to the Rhode Island economy and to the education of our children,” Rosenbaum said. “This federal support, matched with state dollars, helps to ensure that we continue to be a creative state, able to compete on the national stage with young people who learn through the arts to be the imaginative thinkers and problem-solvers of the twenty-first century.”
Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation is also very supportive of the federal investment in the arts in Rhode Island.
Senator Jack Reed said, “I am pleased to have led efforts to secure this federal funding to support arts education and boost our arts economy. By combining federal grants with state and local funds and private donations, we can ensure that more Rhode Islanders have access to free and affordable concerts, performances, and opportunities for cultural enrichment.” Senator Jack Reed is a member of the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the NEA’s budget, and he brought NEA Chairman Jane Chu to Rhode Island on two separate occasions. Reed noted that White House budget for FY 2018 calls for an elimination of the NEA, among other cultural agencies like the National Endowment for the Humanities. “The arts may not have a place in the President’s budget, but they have a home in Rhode Island and I will continue to champion federal support for the arts nationwide.”
“Rhode Island punches well above our weight in the arts, thanks in part to smart federal investments like these,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “While funding for the arts and humanities represents only a small sliver of the federal budget, those dollars are put to work creating jobs and contributing to the quality of life we enjoy in Rhode Island. I’ll keep fighting to protect our creative sector from the extreme funding cuts proposed by President Trump.”
Congressman David Cicilline also expressed his support for the NEA and its work in Rhode Island. “The arts are critical to our quality of life and play an essential role in Rhode Island’s economy,” said Cicilline. “These grants will help students and artists across our community develop their talents and enhance our state’s reputation as a center of creativity and entrepreneurship. I am proud to be a strong supporter of these types of federal investments to help make Rhode Island more vibrant and economically prosperous.”
“Rhode Island is known for its arts community, and this federal investment will enable local organizations to continue building our state’s vibrant, world-class arts scene,” said Congressman Jim Langevin. “The arts enhance the quality of life for Rhode Islanders and serve as an important economic driver within our state. I’m pleased these funds will be used help to support jobs in the arts, bolster education and ensure the Ocean State remains an exciting place to live, work, and visit.”
A list of the projects receiving funding is below:
Rhode Island State Council on the Arts
$718,700 Providence, RI
Partnerships (State & Regional)
To support Partnership Agreement activities associated with carrying out your NEA-approved State strategic plan.
Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre (aka The Gamm)
$50,000 Pawtucket, RI
Our Town – Design
To support The Gamm’s design of a cultural anchor for Pawtucket. The project will center on the community engagement and design phase of a plan to restore a Pawtucket building into a cultural facility that will be the new Gamm Theatre. The Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre will partner with the City of Pawtucket and additional community partners on the design process. The facility will serve an estimated 71,000 residents of the city as an anchor for a newly revitalized downtown.
Community Musicworks (aka CMW)
$65,000 Providence, RI
Art Works – Music
To support free music educational and performance programs for at-risk children and youth. Resident musicians in the program will provide instrumental lessons as well as instruction in subjects such as music theory and improvisation. Other activities will include a leadership development program for advanced students, performance opportunities for students, and professional concerts by resident musicians.
$30,000 Providence, RI
Art Works – Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works
To support a series of multidisciplinary presentations and accompanying outreach activities. Participating artists including Bandaloop, Chick Corea, Betsayda Machada, and Qryq Qyz will perform. FirstWorks will offer related engagement activities including local artist showcases, panel discussions, master classes, films, social dance events, experiential learning, and performances in community spaces.
Rhode Island School of Design (aka RISD)
$15,000 Providence, RI
Art Works – Arts Education
To support Project Open Door. The free, after-school and summer visual arts education program is intended to serve high school students and teachers from underserved communities. Participating youth will develop technical skills in the visual arts and prepare competitive college entrance portfolios. Graduate students supervised by RISD faculty will provide arts instruction in a variety of artistic media. Students will have the opportunity to work in an open studio, build portfolios of creative work, and make museum and gallery visits-including an annual visit to New York City.
About the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Endowment is the nation’s largest annual funder of the arts.
About the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts
The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts is a state agency, supported by appropriations from the Rhode Island General Assembly and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. RISCA provides grants, technical assistance and staff support to arts organizations and artists, schools, community centers, social service organizations and local governments to bring the arts into the lives of Rhode Islanders. For more information on RISCA and its programs, please visit www.arts.ri.gov.
On April 6th Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin (RI-02) organized an hour-long “Special Order” in the U.S. House of Representatives, with speeches from several Members of Congress centered around protecting the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities from elimination in President Trump’s budget outline for the coming year.
Here is the video from that hour-long event. Many thanks to Representative Langevin, his colleague Representative David Cicilline (RI-01), and others.