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State Arts Council Celebrates Rhode Island Creative Entrepreneurs at State House Event

Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor will join the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) on Wednesday, May 27, from 1:30pm-2:30pm in the State Room at the Rhode Island State House to celebrate the accomplishments of ten Rhode Island creative entrepreneurs and RISCA's partnership with the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts' (MASS MoCA) Assets for Artists program.

In 2013, these ten creative individuals enrolled through RISCA in MASS MoCA's Assets for Artists – a program designed to help them build their creative enterprises through matched-savings and professional development trainings. Over the past two years, these creative entrepreneurs have invested over $20,000 in their arts businesses, boosting the local economy through their creative practice.

The ten artists work in a variety of disciplines: Beth Brandon (drawing and design), Muffy Brandt (garment design), Michael Formanski (photography and video), Alexander Jacques (product design & fabrication), Gordon Moss (architecture & woodworking), Teresa Mowery (fine metalwork), Nora Rabins (installation art and sculpture), Randy Shapiro (custom metal fabrication), Dora Szekely (jewelry design), and Liz Wikstrom (illustration). The State House ceremony will recognize their achievements and celebrate how investment in arts-based businesses strengthens Rhode Island -- both economically and as a hub of creative production.

During the event RISCA will also recognize Greg Nemes, recipient of RISCA's 2016 Design Innovation Grant (DIG) Award.

Assets for Artists is a collaborative program based at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams, MA. Founded in 2008, the program's mission is to help artist-entrepreneurs achieve financial stability and business growth. Through matched savings accounts, professional development training, and individualized support with business planning, participants build working capital and make strategic investments in their creative businesses. Assets for Artists partners with cultural organizations, like RISCA, to bring its innovative programming to communities throughout the northeast.

Building on the success of the first round, Assets for Artists and RISCA are welcoming ten new artists for a second round of programming in 2015. The new group will participate in a matched-savings program and complete professional development training courses over the next two years. Trainings will cover topics including personal finance, marketing, business planning, and legal basics, all tailored to the unique needs and concerns of creative entrepreneurs. Thanks to a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture, this round of Assets for Artists has enrolled artists based in the rural Rhode Island communities of Chepachet, Coventry, Exeter, Richmond, Rockville, Saunderstown, Tiverton, and Westerly.

Further information on the Rhode Island artists participating in this program can be found at the Assets for Artists website:

Assets for Artists is a matched savings and professional development program for creative entrepreneurs, operated by the community development department of the internationally acclaimed Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (, ArtHome (, the Midas Collaborative (, and a variety of local partners.

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.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is working with rural communities to create jobs, expand opportunities, encourage innovation and build a strong foundation for the future. The agency currently administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility loan and grant programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents and farmers and improve the quality of life in rural America. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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  • Department or agency: Rhode Island State Council on the Arts
  • Online:
  • Release date: 05-26-2015

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