May 18, 2011

RI Arts Organizations Set to Receive Over $827,000 in Federal Funding

WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to support the arts and promote art education and community art programs throughout Rhode Island, the Congressional delegation today announced that five local arts organizations will receive $827,800 in federal funding through the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
“At a time when budgetary pressures are causing cuts to many community arts programs, this federal funding will help support local non-profits and boost economic activity.  Rhode Island’s creative industry enriches our cultural heritage and helps generate revenue for local communities and businesses,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, who, as Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the NEA, helped provide $154.7 million for the arts in the 2011 budget.  “As we just saw with the recent budget battle in Congress, there are some who do not recognize the value of these programs.  I was determined to beat back the draconian cuts being proposed and was happy that we were successful.”
“Our rich artistic tradition in Rhode Island not only contributes to our quality of life, but supports thousands of jobs.  This funding will help ensure our artistic community continues to thrive,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who brought NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman to Rhode Island in February for a tour of the local arts community.  Whitehouse also serves as an ex-officio member of the National Council on the Arts, the advisory body to the NEA.
“Rhode Island’s arts community has so much wonderful talent that adds immeasurable value to our quality of life and, in one year, generated more than $100 million in economic activity in Providence alone,” said U.S. Representative Jim Langevin. “Last month, I joined Randy Rosenbaum in putting together an NEA Arts Grant workshop to help local organizations apply and qualify for the limited number of grants and I look forward to continuing to support organizations like the ones benefiting from today’s announcement.”
“The arts industry is an important economic driver in Rhode Island,” said U.S. Representative David Cicilline. “These critical funds from the National Endowment for the Arts will support the work of the Rhode Island State Council, Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School, Community MusicWorks, FirstWorks and Everett Dance Theatre; five organizations that are helping to fuel our economic recovery, teach our children, and expand our civic discourse during these trying economic times.  I know first-hand the benefits of arts in enriching our communities, and will continue to fight to protect the important progress we have made in the arts industry.”
Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, applauded the federal arts funding agency for its support.
“We have seen clear evidence that the arts contribute dramatically to the Rhode Island economy and to the education of our children,” Rosenbaum said. “This federal support, matched with state dollars, helps to ensure that we continue to be a creative state, able to compete on the national stage with young people who learn through the arts to be the imaginative thinkers and problem-solvers of the twenty-first century.”
Nationally, the NEA provided over $25 million in federal grants to nearly 800 programs that provide access to the arts in 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
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.  NEA grants generate, on average, six dollars from non-federal sources for each dollar awarded.
Rhode Island organizations receiving federal funding this year include:
Rhode Island State Council on the Arts: $750,300
The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts will receive $750,300 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.
Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School: $30,000
Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & Music Hall will receive $30,000 to support Philharmonic on Fire, a free festival concert on the riverfront during WaterFire.
Community MusicWorks: $22,500
Community MusicWorks will receive $22,500 for a program that provides underprivileged youth with free music education and performance mentoring.  Members of the Providence String Quartet will teach weekly after-school 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 places like libraries and soup kitchens.  
FirstWorks: $15,000
FirstWorks, an organization dedicated to bringing new performances and works of art to Providence, will receive $15,000 to support the FirstWorksProv Festival 2011.  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.
Everett Dance Theatre: $10,000
Everett Dance Theater will receive $10,000 to support the creation and presentation of Brain Storm, a multimedia dance/theater production that examines the current state of brain research and its implications for society.


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