Artist Cathren Housley

State Arts Council Awards $163,161 in Grants to Arts Projects

Rhode Island schools, organizations, community centers and artists were awarded $163,181 in the December 2018 round of grants from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. The Arts Council’s board approved the awarding of these grants at its December meeting in Cranston. These grants will go to support arts in education, community-based projects by organizations and individual artist fellowships and projects for the remainder of this fiscal year. Statewide, 73 grants were awarded in response to 230 applications received at RISCA’s October 1 deadline.

Governor Gina Raimondo applauded the recipients of these grants, saying, “The arts are an important part of Rhode Island’s economy. Each of these grants from the State Arts Council contributes to our economy in meaningful ways, while at the same time contributing to the cultural vitality of our state. I’m proud that Rhode Island invests in the arts, and happy to live in a state that values the arts in our everyday lives.”

“We’re particularly pleased with this round of grant awards,” said Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. “Programs in arts education and projects that support the work of artists in communities throughout our state contribute to our great quality of life here in Rhode Island.”

This year to date the State Arts Council has awarded 414 grants totaling $986,387 to non-profit organizations, schools, artists and community groups. RISCA funds are matched by businesses, individuals, and earned income. The Council receives its support through an annual appropriation from the Rhode Island General Assembly and from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Examples of projects supported in the current round of grants include:

Awarded $1625, Festival Ballet Providence (FBP) will bring their Part of the Oath program to ELL students at Alan Shawn Feinstein Elementary School in Providence, RI. “Part of the Oath” is an innovative, youth-driven community arts program that has established itself as a model for engaging and inspiring students with in-school workshops and residencies. Its programs engage participants’ creativity and empower their own agency, giving them tools to create meaningful movement based on original poetry and other texts. Their residency at the Alan Shawn Feinstein Elementary School, will serve a total of 40 classes comprised of 20 classes for each 2nd grade and 4th grade ELL student groups. FBP educators will work in collaboration with Alan Shawn Feinstein Elementary ELL teachers to integrate dance in the students’ curriculum.

International Charter School in Pawtucket received $7,500 for “Documenting Our Identities” with roster photographer Mary Beth Meehan. Third graders will take cameras home with them as they explore concepts of identity, culture & community. Students will work with teachers and the artist to expand their visual sense and write in two languages about what their photographs show. This ongoing arts education project is integrated with the school’s International Baccalaureate unit.

Artist Oliver Arias will receive $3,000 for a “Student-Centric Arts and Social Justice Curriculum Development and Implementation” project. This involves a multi-visit arts based curriculum development project at Central HS and Paul Cuffee HS that explores the complexity of racial identity with students and teachers, while concurrently developing an arts and social justice based video curriculum that uses student voices to expand upon difficult but necessary conversations about racial inequality in classrooms across our state.

Artist Benjamin Lundberg Sanchez Torres received $2,250 for “Se Aculilló? | Primxs”, a project which will feature art created by people who have origins, ancestral roots, and/or cultural ties to geographies colonized by the former Spanish Empire, selected via open call with strong consideration for Black artists, Indigenous artists, LGBTQAI artists, and artists who have been marginalized from traditional presentations of art.

Artist Cathren Housley and the Peace Flag Project will receive $3,000 to engage children from diverse Rhode Island communities in a collaborative art work called, THE CHILDREN’S FLAG OF AMERICA, the third in the American Peace Flag Trilogy. Children will express their hopes for a better future by creating their own Peace Flag during one of 25 workshops held in libraries, schools, community organizations, and refugee centers throughout Rhode Island. Each small individual flag will be assembled into a final 20′ X 10′ Flag, which will be exhibited around the state.

The Puerto Rican Institute for Arts and Advocacy, Inc. (PRIAA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to using the arts to promote civic, cultural awareness and advocacy for Puerto Ricans and Latinos. In CARIBBEAN ART DIASPORA: MEJUNJE (Series 4): BOMBA Y PATRIA, PRIAA will demonstrate what it means to be Puerto Rican in the USA through traditional music and dance from Puerto Rico, combined with rap and video projections. The piece will represent the current generation of the Puerto Ricans in diaspora in the United States. The songs and messages will reflect the “pride, courage, sorrow, and triumphs of the Puerto Rican people.” PRIAA will receive $2,000 to support this project. For a complete list of December grant recipients go to