May 1, 2008

Reed, Whitehouse Announce Nearly $1,000,000 in Federal Funding for Rhode Island Arts Organizations

Funds Will Support Arts Education, Outreach, and Groundbreaking Performances

WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to support the arts and promote art education and community art programs throughout Rhode Island, U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today announced that ten arts organizations will receive $946,000 in federal grants through the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

“Rhode Island’s art community has enriched our state’s cultural heritage and had an immensely positive impact on our communities,” said Reed, a member of the Senate Cultural Caucus 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. “Not only will this funding help maintain Rhode Island’s longstanding tradition of artistic excellence, but it will support our local economy by continuing to make Rhode Island a destination for art lovers and visitors from across the state and the country.”

“Rhode Island’s artistic community is rich and diverse, and NEA funding ensures that these organizations will be able to continue their efforts to bring the arts into classrooms and communities across our state,” said Whitehouse, a member of the National Council on the Arts, the advisory body to the NEA. “These grants continue the legacy of Senator Claiborne Pell, who helped found the NEA, and I’m proud to join Senator Reed in congratulating Rhode Island’s world-class arts community on this vital federal support.”

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 Endowment is the nation’s largest annual funder of the arts.

A list of the projects receiving funding is below:

Rhode Island State Council on the Arts: $741,000
The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts will receive $741,000 to support its mission of generating interest and participation in the arts. The Arts Council serves as the liaison to the arts community throughout the state.

Alliance of Artists Communities: $40,000
The Alliance of Artists Communities received $40,000 to support Artists’ Communities: Impacting Society in the Past, Present, and Future. This initiative includes two events aimed at bringing together Alliance members to share information and discuss how best to develop successful artist residencies.

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Project Open Door: $30,000
RISD was awarded $30,000 to support Project Open Door, a free afterschool and summer program that helps prepare low-income students for college by providing them with studio education and guidance with college applications. The program expects as many as 380 students and 40 teachers to participate. This funding will also offer 40 low-income students the opportunity to attend RISD’s six-week pre-college summer program.

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Museum of Art: $25,000
The NEA will provide $25,000 to help fund the publication of a handbook documenting highlights from the permanent collection of the RISD Museum of Art. More than 100,000 people visit the Museum annually, and its permanent collection is home to more than 84,000 objects from every continent. The handbook will provide details on 400 pieces in the Museum’s collection, arranged into six sections: Asia, Africa and Egypt, Ancient Greece and Rome, the Americas, Europe, and post-1900 art.

Project New Urban Arts: $25,000
Project New Urban Arts, an art studio in Providence that provides local high school students with resources and mentoring to further their artistic development, will receive $25,000 to support an initiative that helps young visual and literary artists design and run afterschool and summer mentoring plans.

Rhode Island Alliance for Arts Education: $20,000
This grant will provide $20,000 to support the Rhode Island Arts Passport, a series of music and arts events that unite students with masters of folk and traditional arts from ethnic communities throughout Rhode Island. The teachers and master artists will also provide activities in the classroom to help students meet the arts graduation requirement.

FirstWorks: $20,000
FirstWorks, an organization dedicated to bringing new performances and works of art to Providence, will receive $20,000 to support the FirstWorksProv Festival 2008. The festival consists of a series of performance premieres, as well as community forums, workshops, and lectures. The grant will also support discounted admissions to the performances. Local community partners of this program include Brown University, RISD, Arts Learning Network, and Providence Black Repertory Company.

FirstWorks: $15,000
This grant will provide $15,000 through NEA’s American Masterpieces Series, an initiative that funds national art projects, to support works of composer John Adams and the Thunderbird American Indian Dance Ensemble performed during the 2008-2009 season.

Island Moving Company: $10,000
The Island Moving Company, the only professional performing troupe based in Newport, will receive $10,000 for its Open for Dancing 2008 festival, which will take place from September 17-21, 2008. The event will feature dance and art specific to Newport landscapes and historic sites. The festival will also feature film screenings and panel discussions.

Providence Singers, Inc.: $10,000
This grant will provide $10,000 to support the performance and recording of Pulitzer Prize-winner Dominick Argento’s Jonah and the Whale, a 50-minute cantata. The three performances are expected to draw 3,600 people, and the recordings will be included in the Providence Singers’ series of “American Treasures” recordings set for release later this year.

Community MusicWorks: $10,000
Community MusicWorks will receive $10,000 for a program that provides underprivileged youth with free music education and performance mentoring. Members of the Providence String Quartet will teach weekly afterschool classes, and students will also have the opportunity to take part in performances. The project will benefit the community as a whole through public performances at libraries, soup kitchens, and concert venues.


Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921