May 5, 2009

Delegation Announces $1.1M in NEA grants for RI State Council on the Arts, Newport Opera House, RiverzEdge Arts Project

Washington, DC – Today, the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation announced that the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and two local arts organizations in Newport and Woonsocket have been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts has been awarded a $782,100 grant and a $291,500 grant for its State Partnership Program; Newport Opera House has been awarded a $10,000 grant under the NEA’s Challenge America program; and RiverszEdge Arts Project in Woonsocket has been awarded a $20,000 grant under the NEA’s Learning in the Arts for Children & Youth program.

“At a time when budgetary pressures are causing cuts to many arts programs, this federal funding will help maintain Rhode Island’s longstanding tradition of artistic excellence and will support our local economy by continuing to make Rhode Island a destination for art lovers,” said Senator Jack Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee who has supported yearly increases in the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) budget as well as other initiatives to extend the benefits of participation in the arts to more Americans.

“Rhode Island’s arts community is vibrant and rich, and NEA funding ensures that these organizations will be able to continue to enrich our communities and strengthen our economy,” said Whitehouse, a member of the National Council on the Arts, the advisory body to the NEA. “These grants further the legacy of Senator Claiborne Pell, a champion of Rhode Island’s artists, performers, and arts educators.”

“Local arts organizations play a significant role in Rhode Island’s economy, history, and culture. Artists and organizations help to create jobs and support local businesses, and they have created a culture in the state that helps to attract tourists and groups, further supporting the economy. The NEA grants will provide much-needed support during these challenging times,” said Kennedy.

“Supporting our state’s art industry is important our economic recovery,” said Langevin. “These grants will help to keep the community engaged in appreciating the arts and teach our youth to develop their artistic talents.”

The Learning in the Arts for Children and Youth category offers funding for projects that help children and youth acquire knowledge and understanding of and skills in the arts. Projects must provide participatory learning and engage students with skilled artists, teachers, and excellent art. Funded projects apply national or state arts education standards. The $20,000 grant for Riverzedge will be used to support a studio arts and design apprenticeship program for underserved youth (ages 12 to 19) in northern Rhode Island. Students will work with professional graphic design, painting, digital photography, and silkscreen artists to create art and run an arts enterprise.

The $10,000 grant for the Newport Opera House will be used to support the development phase for the interior design aspects of Newport Opera House, which was built in 1868. Theater consultant Christopher Buckley will lead the project. The Challenge America: Reaching Every Community Fast-Track Review Grant program offers support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations — whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. This category, as an essential component of the Arts Endowment’s goal of providing wide access to artistic excellence, supports local projects that can have significant effects within communities. Grants are available for professional arts programming and for projects that emphasize the potential of the arts in community development.

# # #

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921