(July 27, 2009) Governor Donald L. Carcieri and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts joined today with U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Patrick Kennedy and Jim Langevin to announce a series of federal stimulus grants for the arts, designed to support arts organizations who contribute to the economic, educational and cultural vitality of local communities throughout the state. Joining this effort is the Rhode Island Foundation, which has agreed to contribute $100,000 in additional funds to this federal stimulus program in recognition of its potential to strengthen and stabilize the state’s arts community.
These grants are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), a federal stimulus program designed to aid in the economic recovery of our state and nation. This arts component is part of a $50 million investment in the arts through the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. A grant of $291,500 was awarded in May to the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts to support a state component of this program.
In addition to the grants announced today, four Rhode Island arts organizations recently received support directly from the National Endowment for the Arts through a highly-competitive grant opportunity managed by the federal government. Awarded support were Community MusicWorks, Providence ($50,000); Everett Dance Theatre, Providence ($25,000); FirstWorks, Providence ($25,000); and Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, East Providence ($50,000).
With $291,500 in federal stimulus funds and the additional $100,000 from the Rhode Island Foundation, 18 Rhode Island arts organizations will benefit from this infusion of funds designed to retain or restore jobs in the arts during this economically-challenging time.
In announcing the grants, Governor Carcieri underscored the importance of the arts to Rhode Island's economy. "Rhode Island's art community is an important piece of the state's economy and our quality of life. From teaching art to underprivileged youth to holding free Shakespeare productions in the park, these funds will help save jobs in and allow our artistic community to flourish."
In announcing their $100,000 contribution Rhode Island Foundation President & CEO Neil Steinberg expressed enthusiasm for the collaborative funding effort, noting, “The Foundation is pleased to partner with the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment at this critical juncture. We’re delighted that our contribution extends the local reach of federal stimulus dollars. There is no question that a thriving arts community contributes in myriad ways to the economic vitality of our state.”
Members of Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation also applauded today’s announcement.
Senator Whitehouse: “Rhode Island’s artistic community is vibrant and rich, and a valuable source of jobs for our state,” said Whitehouse, a member of the National Council on the Arts, the advisory body to the NEA. “This new funding can help sustain local organizations during these difficult economic times and help them continue to bring arts and culture to our neighborhoods.”
Congressman Jim Langevin: “From Warwick to Westerly, supporting the arts enriches our state’s cultural fabric,” said Langevin. “Part of assisting the arts also means supporting the impact it has on our local economy and preserving critical education programming and jobs. I applaud both the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and the Rhode Island Foundation for collaborating to augment resources from the economic recovery package that will directly support community arts programs.”
Congressman Patrick Kennedy: “As the father of the National Endowment for the Arts, Senator Claiborne Pell recognized the promise of both the economic and cultural impact of the arts. His vision has undeniably benefited the lives of Americans for decades, and I am pleased these investments continue to ensure the livelihoods of Rhode Island artists, educators, and small businesses. Investments like this are mutually beneficial and will help to reinvigorate our state’s economy, preserving 77 jobs in the near-term and putting us on a path to economic recovery by spurring locally-based economic development.”
Randall Rosenbaum, executive director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, reported that this was a very difficult process given the challenges that all arts organizations face during this economic downturn. Fifty-two organizations applied for federal stimulus support, with requests totaling $1,341,500. The $291,500 available through the federal stimulus program would have allowed the state arts council to support only twelve applicants. Thanks to the additional support from the Rhode Island Foundation an additional six organizations were added to the list, bringing the total to 18 organizations supported. Mr. Rosenbaum thanked the Rhode Island Foundation for their leadership in promoting this public-private partnership in support of the arts community.
Funds will allow these 18 recipients to retain or restore 77 positions in the arts, ranging from productions of free Shakespeare performances in Westerly to after-school art teachers and managers of events for children and youth in communities throughout the state.
The following is a list of organizations receiving support and positions retained or restored through the arts stimulus grants
Blackstone River Theatre - $25,000 to protect the position of the Executive Director
The Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum - $25,000 to protect the Executive Director’s position
Flickers, the Newport Film and Video Society (Rhode Island International Film Festival) – $12,500 to protect three positions, the Executive Director, Managing Director and Producing Director
Newport Art Museum - $25,000 to protect the position of an Education Department staff member
Redwood Library - $12,500 to protect the position of the Assistant Director, Special Collections Librarian
Island Moving Company - $25,000 to protect two positions, the Booking Manager and the Education Director
Fantasy Works Youth Theatre - $14,825 to protect the Director of Education position
Old Slater Mill - $25,000 to protect two positions – the Curator and Community Guild staffer positions
Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre - $25,000 to protect two positions, the General Manager position and the Marketing and Sales Manager position
VSA Arts of Rhode Island - $12,500 to protect the Program Coordinator position
Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art - $25,000 to protect the Manager of School, Youth and Family Programs position
Providence CITYARTS for Youth - $25,000 to protect two positions – the Arts Program Coordinator and a Teaching Artist
Waterfire Providence - $25,000 to protect three positions – The Waterfire Production Team
Project New Urban Arts - $25,000 to protect the position of Studio Manager
2nd Story Theatre Company - $25,000 to protect the Box Office Manager position
Gateways to Change - $25,000 to protect an Art Teacher position
Courthouse Center for the Arts - $12,500 to protect the Education Outreach Coordinator position
The Colonial Theatre - $25,000 to protect 52 positions in the organization, including Producing Artistic Director, General Manager, artists and technicians
About the Rhode Island Foundation Of the nearly 700 community foundations across the U.S., The Rhode Island Foundation is among the oldest, established in 1916, and one of the largest, with assets approaching $500 million at the end of 2008. In 2008, the Foundation distributed more than $27 million to more than 1,300 community organizations. The Foundation focuses its efforts on three primary goals: permanent philanthropy, community leadership, and statewide impact.
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.