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State Arts Council awards $878,942 in arts grants to 156 organizations, artists, healthcare and educators

Arts and culture organizations, arts education programs, teaching artists in healthcare and education, individual artists, culture workers, and other related community projects benefited from $878,942 in funding announced today by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA).

The 156 grants of which 52 went to individual artists were approved by the Arts Council's Board in June, and the funding will assist the arts and cultural community throughout the 2022 fiscal year.

RISCA's grants received support from the state's General Assembly, federal funds through National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and most grants are matched through contributions from businesses, individuals and earned income from ticket sales and admissions. Fiscal Year 2022 Cycle 2 arts and culture grant applications will open on Aug. 1, with a deadline of Oct. 1.

"This essential support to artists, arts educators and nonprofits is timely, and we certainly welcome it as the hard-hit arts and culture sector recovers throughout the state," Governor McKee said. "As we work toward returning this key economic driver to pre-pandemic levels safer, better and stronger, these grants remind us to celebrate the state's creativity and the sector's importance to the cultural, educational, health and well-being of Rhode Islanders."

In announcing the first grants for FY2022, RISCA's Executive Director Randall Rosenbaum thanked Governor McKee and members of the Rhode Island General Assembly for their support. "As we recover from these difficult times, it is critically important to support our arts and culture community, which was one of the first affected by the pandemic and one of the last to recover," Rosenbaum added. "This cycle is the most diverse and equitable that we have seen to date, and the grants include an artist or arts and culture organizations in nearly every city and town."

Some examples of projects supported in the current round of RISCA grants include: --Artist Susan Young, Bristol: Dance Me In provides adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities access to ballroom dance instruction. The program delivers the "partner dancing" experience, developing trusting relationships and expanding individual wellness of body and mind.

--Connecting for Children and Families, Woonsocket: Art & Social Emotional Learning After-School Program at Woonsocket High School City, will be taught by RISCA Roster artists, and other artists and instructors to support high school students grappling with social-emotional needs. Such needs have intensified due to the pandemic, and the programming will align with school-day learning in art, English language arts and social studies.

--Rhode Island Slave History Medallions, Newport: This is a multi-cultural program at Patriot's Park, Portsmouth, to explore the history and arts of African and Indigenous patriots commemorated there.

--Artist Abdul Adio (aka Spocka Summa), Providence: The Anti- Robot Club is a digital/physical pop- up curated by Spocka Summa featuring a variety of work from 8-10 emerging artists. This pop-up will take place in public at The Steel Yard, 27 Sims Ave. Providence, every Saturday and Sunday for the entire month of September.

--Providence Clemente Veteran's Initiative: Lucas Pralle, USMC Veteran and co-founder of Endless Beautiful, will lead RI Veterans through creative and expressive art making during the 2021-2022 academic year. Through four activities, Lucas will teach Veterans how to explore complex experiences through art.

--Federal Hill House Association, Providence: Voces Mayores/Elder Voices is a three-month bilingual workshop series engaging Providence-area older adults in artmaking, storytelling and publishing. The project explores how access to arts (the new roles, creative means and platform for expression it provides) nurtures wellbeing, empowerment and visibility for this marginalized community.

--Raising Hope, Providence: Afro-Caribbean drumming will engage a small group of youth, ages 8 to 18 years old, in low income communities to develop skills for making music through folk drumming. The program is facilitated by trained master artists during after school hours in a location in the community that assures safety for participants in the time of COVID-19.

--Artist Janet "Becky" Bass, Riverside: Through Project Misik: Honoring African & Indigenous Ancestors' Legacies, members of Zili Misik, an eight-member, all female, multi-racial and multi-ethnic band, will engage audiences in an interactive workshop and performance with New World Soul – music that reconnects roots music of the African diaspora – to pour a musical libation for African and Indigenous ancestors, in Newport.

--The Womxn Project Education Fund, Wakefield: Illuminating the Legacy of Slavery in Rhode Island: will project imagery and stage dramatic readings about the history and legacy of slavery in Rhode Island at sites where slavery and the struggle for abolition took place. These visually and emotionally impactful art interventions will illuminate the role of Rhode Island in the slave trade and help us understand racism and equity today.

--The Collaborative, Warren: This series of arts classes for youth grades K-12 in four different disciplines, public art, printmaking, experimental art and photography, is geared toward preparing young people for careers in the arts.

--Seven Hills Rhode Island, Woonsocket: The health and human services organization supporting children and adults with developmental disabilities, will partner with Trinity Repertory Theatre Company and other local artists to provide a unique performing and visual arts program for children and adults supported through its programs.

RISCA's FY2022 Cycle 1 grants fall into the following categories:

--Available to arts and culture organizations, the 43 Arts Access Grants support programs throughout the state that demonstrate excellent artistic, education and cultural value, as well as engagement with and relevance to their community. $92,295.

--Investments in Arts and Culture provides annual operating support to arts and culture organizations across Rhode Island that make important contributions to the vitality of our communities, the economy of our state, the enrichment of all Rhode Islanders, and our quality of life. Fifty-one grants totaling $601,282 were given out for FY 2022 Cycle 1.

--Six Project Grants for Education and two Grants in Education for Individuals provide support to artists and culture organizations collaborating with schools and other educational entities. The grants are designed to increase access to high quality curriculum-based arts learning; foster professional development of artists and educators; engage the participation of families and other community members in arts learning for children and youth; and ensure youths demonstrate proficiency in one or more art forms at or before graduation from high school. $35,279.

--The 50 Project Grants for Individuals provided $500-$3,000 grants to artist instigated and organized arts projects with a strong public component. $124,246.

--Project Grants in Healthcare offer matching grants for arts projects that connect teaching artists with healthcare settings such as hospitals, hospice and community health agencies. Teaching artists partner with one or more licensed healthcare staff to implement a project. Four grants totaling $25,840 were given out during this cycle.