Press Releases


Rhode Island chosen to participate in national Arts Education Leadership Institute

A team of Rhode Island arts education leaders will take part in an exclusive “Arts Education Leadership Institute” this July, thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Five state teams will meet with experts from throughout the country to discuss current challenges in the arts education field on such topics as assessment, leadership in arts education, curriculum development and access to arts learning. They will meet in Chicago from July 15-17, 2008.

The Rhode Island team has been assembled by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. The members include:

Leland Brown of Narragansett, a member of the Board of the Rhode Island Alliance for Arts Education as well as a member of the Retired Rhode Island Music Educators Association.

Sherilyn Brown of Cranston, Education Director at the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.

Rosemary Burns of Jamestown, President of the RI Art Education Association, Fellow in the Office of Middle and High School Reform at the Rhode Island Department of Education, and Co-chair of the visual arts proficiency team of the RI Arts Learning Network.

Jeannine Chartier of Providence, Executive and Artistic Director of VSA Arts of RI, an organization that supports artists with disabilities in Rhode Island.

Dr. Ann Galligan of Providence, an associate professor and co-op coordinator of Art and Design at Northeastern University in Boston, MA, who also serves as the Research Director of the RI Arts Learning Network.

Jennifer Wood of Providence, Chief of Policy and General Counsel to Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts, and former Chief of Staff/Chief Legal Counsel at the RI Department of Education.

In expressing his gratitude to the NEA for its support of Rhode Island’s participation in this leadership institute, Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, stressed the importance of fostering creativity, imagination and problem-solving skills in young people. “Arts education is an essential way to develop the skills our young people will need to compete in the global economy of the 21st century,” Rosenbaum said, “and we are pleased to participate in a national dialogue on this important issue.”

The NEA Education Leaders Institute convenes teams comprised of school leaders, legislators, policymakers, educators, professional artists, consultants and scholars. Together, these teams will discuss a shared arts education challenge, and jointly create strategies to strengthen their state's arts education policies and programs.

"By addressing these varied state challenges, we support state arts educators as they participate in the national conversation on public education," said NEA Education Director Sarah Cunningham.

The teams were selected by a panel convened by the Arts Endowment in partnership with the Illinois Arts Council. The state teams will discuss promising practices and arts education challenges, on topics such as assessment, leadership in arts education, curriculum development, and access to arts learning. National speakers and experts attending the event support state teams, providing information and resources for each state. As participants exchange ideas, innovative partnerships emerge, coupled with renewed commitment to arts education at the school-district level.

The five teams selected to participate in the July 2008 Education Leaders Institute are:

* Colorado (team lead: Colorado Council on the Arts) * Louisiana (team lead: Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts) * Michigan (team lead: Michigan Department of Education) * Oklahoma (team lead: the Oklahoma State Department of Education) * Rhode Island (team lead: Rhode Island Council on the Arts)

The NEA Education Leaders Institute is modeled on the successful Mayors' Institute of City Design (MICD), a 20-year partnership program of the National Endowment for the Arts, The U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the American Architectural Foundation. Since 1986, more than 700 mayors and hundreds of design professionals have attended design institutes dealing with urban planning issues such as downtown and waterfront developments, transportation, housing, schools, and public facilities. The NEA Education Leaders Institute seeks to give leaders a similar platform to school leaders, legislators and policymakers to discuss the challenges of arts education and develop concrete strategies to strengthen their states' arts education policies and programs.

The NEA is working in cooperation with the Illinois Arts Council to implement the NEA Education Leaders Institute.

NEA Arts Education

Since its inception in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts has not only maintained support for arts education programs in and outside of school, but has provided leadership in the federal sector and among arts, education, business, and government organizations to develop and sustain an agenda for arts education improvement. The agency has led efforts to make the arts a part of the core education for all pre-K through grade 12 students and to increase opportunities outside of school settings for additional arts learning. The Arts Endowment provides direct grants in Arts Learning, collaborates in federal, state, and public-private partnerships, and conducts research on arts education for the K-12 community and lifelong learners.

About the Illinois Arts Council

The Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, is committed to the cultural, educational and economic growth of the diverse people and communities of the state through support and encouragement of artists and the arts.

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 Arts Endowment is the largest annual national funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. For more information, please visit

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

Related links

  • Department or agency: Rhode Island State Council on the Arts
  • Online:
  • Release date: 05-22-2008

Share this: