The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts announced today thousands of artists will be employed in the coming year on projects supported by the Council's first round of grant awards for the 2013-2014 season.
The grants are funded through an appropriation from Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and the Rhode Island General Assembly as well as with federal funds from the National Endowment for the Arts. They are given to individual artists, arts organizations and non-profits, schools and educational organizations in communities throughout the state.
The State Arts Council awarded a total of $785,739 to 143 non-profit organizations, schools and individuals for art and arts programming across Rhode Island in this latest round of grants. It received 294 applications from artists, organizations and schools throughout the state.
Grants ranged in size from $92,500 to Trinity Repertory Company for operating support, to $500 for each of several small community-based projects throughout the state.
Rhode Island's leaders express their strong support for the arts
Rhode Island's leaders and policymakers understand and support the arts for the value they bring to our state. Governor Chafee, Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed and Speaker of the RI House of Representatives Gordon Fox have all spoken on the role the arts play in our state's economy, education and quality of life.
"I strongly believe in supporting Rhode Island's vibrant arts community -- one of the premier assets in our state," Governor Chafee said. "Artists, musicians, theaters, galleries, historic and heritage organizations, curators, designers, film and any developer of creative, new ideas are integral to maintaining Rhode Island's reputation as the 'arts state' and enhancing its economy."
"The arts are a powerful economic engine for our state," said President of the Senate M. Teresa Paiva Weed (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown). "The arts enhance quality of life for Rhode Island residents, benefit tourism and contribute significantly to the economy. Grants such as these complement other steps the state has taken to enhance the arts, including creation of a statewide tax-exempt arts district and a State of the Arts Task Force."
Gordon Fox, Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives, said, "The arts are a critically important component of our state's economy and a great investment in our state's future. The Assembly proudly included a sales tax exemption on original artwork in this year's budget as another way to show our commitment toward making Rhode Island a true State of the Arts."
In announcing the awards, State Arts Council director Randall Rosenbaum underscored the impact of these grants on the Rhode Island economy. "In previous years our grantees report that over 20,000 artists are employed with support from these grants, and that over 1.58 million Rhode Islanders and visitors to our state benefit from these projects. This demonstrates a great return on a very tiny investment from state and federal resources." Rosenbaum went on to express his appreciation to Governor Chafee and the Rhode Island General Assembly for their support of these programs, and for their investment in "the quality of life, the education of our young, and the vitality of our economy" that these arts programs provide.
The grant awards include the following:
$40,000 to 17 individual artists for programs including an African drum and dance festival; a theatre piece for individuals with and without disabilities based on the Nutcracker story; and a series of jazz workshops and concerts based out of Community MusicWorks in Providence.
$25,500 to 23 non-profit organizations for support of projects like the Olneyville Fall Festival; a program at Sojourner House titled "Voices Unfold"; support for Art Night, a community arts celebration in Bristol and Warren; and a documentary entitled "Slaterville: America's First Mill Village".
$40,000 to 18 schools and non-profit organizations for arts education programs such as a project at the International Charter School using narrative photography to help with the 3rd grade social studies unit on "Documenting Cultural Communities"; a project at Smithfield High School that brings together the arts and science curriculum through the creation of small sculptures with a teaching artist; and a 10-week collaborative photography and writing program at Shea High School in Pawtucket.
$608,239 to 60 major arts and cultural organizations across Rhode Island including New Urban Arts in Providence, The Gamm Theater in Pawtucket, Common Fence Music in Middletown, 2nd Story Theater in Warren, and Island Moving Company in Newport.
For a complete list of grant recipients, visit the Arts Council's website at http://www.arts.ri.gov/grants/2014-cycle1.pdf.
RISCA also awarded a total of $47,000 to 15 artists receiving Fellowships and Fellowship Merit Awards in Crafts, Fiction, Film & Video, Folk Arts, Photography, Play/Screenwriting, Poetry, and Three-Dimensional Art. To learn more about the Fellowship recipients, visit http://www.arts.ri.gov/individuals/fellowships14.php.
About 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.