May 9, 2013

RI Congressional Delegation Announces $765,300 in Federal Arts Funding for Rhode Island

Local arts community may also benefit from $1 million grant for New England Foundation for the Arts

Washington, DC – Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation today announced that the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded a total of $765,300 in grant funding for Rhode Island arts organizations and programs.  A $675,300 partnership grant was awarded to the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA), which will support Rhode Island organizations that contribute to the cultural and economic development of the state through the arts.  An additional $90,000 in NEA funding was also recently awarded to several community arts programs.
Additionally, the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), which serves Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont will receive a $1 million NEA grant to support arts programs in the region.  NEFA is a non-profit that operates with funding from the NEA, the New England state arts agencies, and from corporations, foundations, and individuals.
“These NEA grants help boost Rhode Island’s arts community and, in turn, the local economy.  By combining federal grants with state and local funds and private donations, we can ensure that more Rhode Islanders have access to free and affordable concerts, performances, and opportunities for cultural enrichment,” said Reed, the Chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees NEA’s budget.
“Rhode Island boasts a vibrant arts scene and a wide array of cultural opportunities for residents and visitors alike,” said Whitehouse, an ex-officio member of the National Council on the Arts, the advisory body of the NEA. “These grants will fund local arts organizations that play an important role in the economic growth of our state, and I pledge to fight for continued funding for Rhode Island’s arts community.”
“As a member of the Congressional Arts Caucus, I appreciate the impact creative industries have in the Second District, where they employ over 6,500 people,” said Langevin. “I applaud RISCA for its hard work in our communities, and I am certain that projects supported by the Council will continue to inspire Rhode Islanders.”
“With its wide spectrum of opportunities, ranging from the Providence Performing Arts Center to the Newport Art Museum, Rhode Island can compare its arts and culture community with any in the United States,” said Cicilline.  “I am proud to help announce this new funding that will allow us to benefit local arts organizations and support meaningful economic development for cities and towns throughout Rhode Island.”
“We have seen clear evidence that the arts contribute dramatically to the Rhode Island economy and to the education of our children. 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,” said Randy Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.
The NEA awards partnership grants to state arts agencies that support the work of states and regions.  These agencies have developed long-range plans to help position arts and culture in a broad range of public policy areas such as cultural tourism, community revitalization, economic development, education, and health and human services. This year, the NEA will award over $45 million in partnership agreements to fund 54 state and jurisdictional arts agencies and six regional arts organizations throughout the country.
In addition to the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts partnership grant, the following Rhode Island organizations received NEA funding: WaterFire Providence: $50,000 to support Livability Experiments, an expansion of activities during the WaterFire multidisciplinary urban arts festival; Community MusicWorks: $20,000 to support free music education and performance programs targeted to reach at-risk children and youth; Brown University: $10,000 to support the dance legacy development project; and Island Moving Company: $10,000 to support the extension of Open for Dancing, a site-specific dance and arts festival.
NEA funding is vital for the continued growth of Rhode Island’s arts community, which contributes significantly to the overall economic wellbeing of the state.  A 2011 NEFA study, “New England’s Creative Economy: Nonprofit Sector Impact,” estimated the annual economic impact of Rhode Island’s nearly 1,200 arts and cultural organizations, including theaters, at $673 million.
Unfortunately, state partnership and other NEA grants could continue to face cuts if Congress does not end the sequester enacted earlier this year.  The Rhode Island Congressional delegation continues to urge Congress to responsibly replace the across-the-board sequester cuts with a more balanced approach.

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