May 19, 2017 – The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities will honor Judge Judith C. Savage, Len Cabral, the Little Compton Historical Society, and Valerie Tutson at the 2017 Celebration of the Humanities.
Judge Judith C. Savage, former RI Superior Court Judge and Distinguished Jurist in Residence at Roger Williams University School of Law, will receive the Honorary Chairs’ Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Humanities. Len Cabral, an internationally acclaimed storyteller who has engaged audiences at schools, libraries, museums, and festivals since 1976, will be awarded the Tom Roberts Prize for Creative Achievement in the Humanities. The Innovation in the Humanities Award will be presented to the Little Compton Historical Society for “If Jane Should Want to Be Sold” exhibition and programs. Valerie Tutson, founding member and executive director of Rhode Island Black Storytellers, will receive the Public Humanities Scholar Award.
“These outstanding leaders mobilize the humanities to bridge communities and build understanding,” said Elizabeth Francis, executive director of the Humanities Council. “Their dedication and creativity inspired our 2017 theme, Proximity, highlighting how the humanities bring us together —through stories that make connections not widen differences, conversations that bring people and communities closer, and affirmation of our shared civic values.”
The Celebration will take place Thursday, October 5, 2017 at the Providence Public Library. The occasion will gather community and business leaders, government officials, scholars, artists, and other Rhode Islanders to raise funds to support the public humanities including culture, history, heritage, and civic education in our state. The awards presentation will be accompanied by a reception with hors d’oeuvres and an open wine bar provided by Campus Fine Wines, as well as a silent auction featuring unique humanities experiences.
Opportunities for sponsorships and event program ads are available now and tickets will go on sale in July. Proceeds benefit public history, cultural heritage, civic education, and community engagement by and for all Rhode Islanders. For more information call 401-273-2250 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read on to learn more about these inspiring honorees.
Honorary Chairs’ Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Humanities
Judge Judith C. Savage, former RI Superior Court Judge and Distinguished Jurist in Residence at Roger Williams University School of Law
The Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates an individual whose career achievements demonstrate humanities excellence, reflect the Humanities Council’s mission and core values, and enrich public life in Rhode Island. This year, the Council recognizes Judge Judith C. Savage for over two decades of service as a jurist, educator, and organizer on issues of injustice in the criminal justice system. With a foundation in the humanities from her undergraduate studies at Wellesley College, Judge Savage challenges Rhode Islanders to think and speak honestly about issues of equality and empathy and to consider them on a deeply human level.
Tom Roberts Prize for Creative Achievement in the Humanities
Len Cabral, International Storyteller
The Tom Roberts Prize celebrates creativity in topics, disciplines, and formats that extend the field of the humanities. This year, the Prize honors Len Cabral for four decades of inspired storytelling across the country and globe. Blending folktales from the strong oral storytelling traditions of Africa, the Caribbean and his ancestral Cape Verde, Cabral brings together generations of Rhode Islanders with his performances and engages communities in challenging conversations about how the past can inform the future. As a leader and performer, Cabral bridges Rhode Island’s diverse communities helping broaden our definitions of American culture.
Innovation in the Humanities Award
Little Compton Historical Society’s “If Jane Should Want to Be Sold” exhibition and programs
The Innovation Award recognizes the innovative implementation of the humanities by an organization to achieve a specific goal. This year, the Award will be presented to the Little Compton Historical Society’s “If Jane Should Want to Be Sold” exhibition and programs. The Society’s commitment to research and engaging public programs with a focus on diversifying the stories they tell raised the bar for small historical societies. LCHS has proven that highlighting the records and personal stories of 17th, 18th, and 19th century people of color both enriches local histories and promotes authentic, engaging understandings of the past.
Public Humanities Scholar Award
Valerie Tutson, Founding Member and Executive Director of Rhode Island Black Storytellers
The Scholar Award recognizes outstanding public humanities work in teaching and scholarship that advances the civic and cultural life of Rhode Island. This year, the Award honors Valerie Tutson for her research into and sharing of stories as an art form and an invaluable tool for communication. Her interdisciplinary approach encourages critical thinking and fosters empathy–requiring students and audiences to consider how actions impact a collective. As an educator, cultural programmer, and storyteller, Tutson makes powerful connections and sparks community engagement.