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State Arts Council Applauds Federal Announcement of "Our Town" Support to Woonsocket

The National Endowment for the Arts today announced that the City of Woonsocket, in partnership with Riverzedge Arts Project, will receive a $50,000 grant in the highly-competitive "Our Town" funding category. The "Our Town" grants represent the NEA's latest investment in creative placemaking, with projects that help transform communities into lively, beautiful and sustainable places with the arts at their core.

When National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Rocco Landesman visited Woonsocket in April 2012, along with U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, he was impressed with the energy and enthusiam he felt for the arts and its role in revitalizing this financially-troubled community. Woonsocket, along with Providence - a previous "Our Town" grant recipient - "demonstrate the imaginative and innovative capacities of artists and arts organizations to enhance the quality of life in their communities," as Chairman Landesman has said in talking about the "Our Town" grant opportunity.

Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, applauded the federal arts funding agency for its support. "Woonsocket is a great example of an old mill town that is re-imagining its role in the 21st Century," Rosenbaum said. "This federal support, and the collaboration between the City of Woonsocket and its arts organizations will help lead the way to an exciting future."

In their application for federal funds, the City of Woonsocket describes a "decline in manufacturing has left the area with many unused mills and industrial buildings waiting for redevelopment and reuse." The federal grant would go to support the City of Woonsocket and the not-for-profit RiverzEdge, in collaboration with three additional organizations, so that they might "develop plans to foster a strong creative economy in the city to help address these issues. Activities include creative asset mapping, an artist needs assessment, artist attraction campaign, and community engagement activities."

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.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at

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  • Department or agency: Rhode Island State Council on the Arts
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  • Release date: 07-12-2012

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