September 29, 2010

Whitehouse Congratulates Two Rhode Islanders for Receiving Prestigious MacArthur Fellowship

Washington, D.C. – Today U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse commended Nicholas Benson of Newport and Sebastian Ruth of Providence for receiving a MacArthur Fellowship, or “genius grant,” for demonstrating extraordinary originality and dedication to the arts.

“I congratulate Nick and Sebastian on receiving the MacArthur Fellowship,” said Whitehouse. “Their work and dedication to the arts has added immeasurably to our nation’s cultural heritage and made Rhode Island proud.”

Nick Benson is a third-generation stone letter carver and calligrapher and oversees the John Stephens Shop in Newport. His work can be seen throughout the country, and he is currently working on quotations for the new Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington, DC.

Sebastian Ruth is a music educator and musician who uses music to enrich the lives of urban youth throughout Rhode Island. Ruth is the founder of Community MusicWorks, a nonprofit organization that helps expose children to music and music education.

In addition to Benson and Ruth, The MacArthur Foundation has awarded 21 other innovative and creative Americans with a $500,000 grant over five years. Since 1981, the foundation has named a total of 827 fellows.


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