GCRI Member Rhode Island Council for the Humanities hosted A Cultural Conversation with Jane Chu of the National Endowment for the Arts and Karen Kenton of the National Endowment for the the Humanities, as well as all of Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation. Over 300 community members attended the session, which took place at Trinity Repertory Theater.
RICH also announced a total of $136,429 in new grants to 14 humanities initiatives across the state. The announcement ceremony, attended by over 50 representatives from civic and cultural organizations, recognized Rhode Island’s strong humanities community and the role the humanities play in civic and community engagement.
Grantees included New Urban Arts, Manton Avenue Project, newportFILM, RISD Museum, South County History Center, Rhode Island Latino Arts, Little Compton Historical Society, Providence Preservation Society and Stages of Freedom for the Public Project category. In the Documentary film category, grants were awarded to Center for Independent Documentary, Rhode Island PBS and the Rhode Island Historical Society, while Meeting Street and Pushed Learning and Media/New Urban Arts received grants in the K-12 Civic Education category.
The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities also announced four Mini Grants to two organizations and two independent researchers. These public projects and individual research efforts will reach thousands of Rhode Islanders as they engage topics of preservation of family archives, the impact of a cultural nonprofit on its new neighborhood, how communities experience and remember a theatre festival, and finally, how we uncover and tell the stories of those traditionally on the fringes of the dominant historical narratives.
Awardees were The Wilbury Theatre Group, Community MusicWorks, Amy Barlow and Joey DeFrancesco. Learn more
After learning about the Levitt Foundation’s AMP Your City grant program in the GCRI nonprofit newsletter, Neighborworks Blackstone River Valley applied for, and received Levitt funding to offer a summer full of free outdoor concerts.
Said Meghan Rego, Director of Resource Development and Communications at Neighborworks, “Thanks [to GCRI] for including it in the newsletter so that we knew of the opportunity and were able to apply. Woonsocket is a buzz about [the] music already; this grant has been an incredible community building tool.”
The goal of the concert series is to reinvigorate the scenic and underused River Island Art Park, “drawing neighbors back into the once bustling public square at the heart of the city to enjoy free and accessible art, serving as both a cultural gathering center where community ties are strengthened and an economic catalyst to the surrounding area.” The programming builds on Creative Placemaking funding that Neighborworks received from LISC RI, a GCRI member.
Congratulations to Neighborworks, and please remember to share your RFP’s with GCRI so we can help get the word out through GCRI CONNECT, our nonprofit newsletter.
Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced nearly $1.8 million in new community investments that reflect its commitment to make cities and towns great places to grow up and grow old. The new grants will support initiatives at 16 community organizations in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire working to make communities healthier for people of all ages, with a specific interest in engaging older adults. These investments are in addition to nearly $1 million in previously announced work.
The supported grants in systems improvement and best practices reflect a trend of increased regional and local efforts to create age- and dementia-friendly communities. The initiatives promote cross-sector collaboration, expand engagement of older people, advance improvements to support the health and wellbeing of older people, and foster intergenerational connections.
“Each community will follow its own path to becoming age- and dementia-friendly. Support from Tufts Health Plan Foundation helps ensure resources reach under-represented communities at greatest risk for disparities,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president of corporate citizenship for Tufts Health Plan. “Everyone has a voice; it’s important that we listen.”
The two Rhode Island recipients of grants were:
Local Initiative Support Corporation (Providence, R.I.) The Intergenerational Farmers’ Market Project—to address social isolation for older adults through relationship-building activities that capitalize on the integration of arts, culture and community resources across Rhode Island. Two-year grant for $120,000. (For more information on this innovative program, read the ProJo feature on it!)
Rhode Island Parent Information Network (Cranston, R.I.) Own Your Health: A System to Support Evidence-Based Health Promotion in R.I. for Older People—to improve Rhode Island’s system for providing evidence-based programs for older adults and their caregivers. One-year grant for $63,085.
Rhode Island Council for the Humanities Launches New Rhode Tour
Rhode Island Council for the Humanities (RICH), a GCRI member, continues expanding its “Rhode Tour” app and website that shares stories of local history, and provides thematic tours of significant sites throughout the state. A joint initiative of RICH, Brown University’s John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, and the Rhode Island Historical Society, tours on the app include Black history, the culinary roots of the state’s food evolution, and forts used during the Revolutionary War. Some of the stories are about current landmarks, and some describe—in famous Rhode Island parlance—where or what a place used to be.
RICH will be launching the latest tour, Industrial Heritage Along the Woonasquatucket, at a Humanities Happy Hour on Thursday, November 16. Jane Gerdard, historian and content developer for the Industrial Heritage Rhode Tour and Howie Sneider, Executive Director of The Steel Yard will offer brief remarks. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.
Download the free Rhode Tour app or visit the website
GCRI Member Rhode Island Council for the Humanities has announced the six recipients of its May public humanities mini-grant cycle. Each recipient received a $2,000 mini-grant. Recipients included David H. Wells (Individual Researcher Grant for documentary film project about Annu Palakunnathu Matthew); Adopt a Doctor for a panel discussion of two Black Rhode Island artists; Firstworks for a panel discussion on the storytelling troupe Qyrq Qyz; Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts for the development of an interdisciplinary ArtsLiteracy curriculum; South County History Center for four public events around memorialization in Rhode Island; and West Broadway Neighborhood Association for the development of historic panels of Luongo Square in Providence.
Potential Elimination of Arts and Humanities Funding
President Donald Trump’s proposed federal budget would eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, in addition to numerous other cuts. In response, GCRI member Rhode Island Council for the Humanities joined with Rhode Island State Council for the Arts to host a series of Cultural Conversations for the state’s cultural organizations and those concerned about the cuts to dialogue with Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation.
Julie Fry, president and CEO of California Humanities, responded to the proposed budget cuts with an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle, detailing the value of the arts and humanities bring, far beyond their relatively small budgetary cost. “Their budgets are very small, and together with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (also on the chopping block), they make up only 0.02 percent of the annual federal budget. However, their impact is exponentially large and has garnered bipartisan support across the country for their role in job creation and attracting businesses into communities,” she says. Read more
For those interested in more information about cultural contributions to issues like economic development, be sure to check out the presentation slides from Wendy Bury’s presentation to the GCRI Roundtable on Collective Impact and Cross-Sector Partnerships this month. Wendy is the Executive Director of the Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition.
Rhode Island Council for the Humanities Impact Map
Fact vs. Fiction in Government Arts Funding
NEA Arts Funding Report
Study Showing How Arts and Culture Improve Health, Safety and Well Being