April 22, 2019 – Over 60 representatives from civic and cultural organizations around Rhode Island gathered at the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island Thursday, April 18, 2019 as the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities announced a total of $140,000 in new grants for 15 humanities initiatives across the state. The announcement recognized Rhode Island’s strong humanities community and the role the humanities play in strengthening our democracy and enriching our culture.
Humanities Council Board Chair, Touba Ghadessi welcomed the audience, elected officials, and Council partners noting, “Together, we support the making of history, the telling of important stories, and the strengthening of community. It is by grounding ourselves in our diverse local communities that we can grow nationally. Because of the amazing work our grantees accomplish, Rhode Island is at the forefront of cultural innovation. And that is definitely something to celebrate!”
Congressman Jim Langevin (RI-D2) congratulated the 2019 major grantees on behalf of the full Rhode Island Congressional delegation, all of whom take a leading role in supporting the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the legacy of the late Senator Claiborne Pell, who led efforts to establish the NEH and the National Endowment for the Arts in 1965. Rep. Langevin also spoke about the need to support cultural resiliency as a matter of civic education in an era when it is essential to our national security.
“The Humanities Council is dedicated to seeding, supporting, and strengthening the connection between culture and community. We are truly proud to be part of Rhode Island’s cultural ecosystem and the outstanding programs and projects that the grants awarded tonight will support,” said Elizabeth Francis, Executive Director.
Announced by Michael Fein, who leads the Board’s Grants Policy Committee, and Logan Hinderliter, Associate Director for Grants & Partnerships, the awards will support humanities projects ranging from documentary shorts highlighting the contributions of Rhode Island women as part of the 2020 centennial of women’s suffrage, to history-based “sonic memory” installations in a Providence neighborhood, to an outdoor film festival in Newport that draws thousands of people together each summer.
The grant announcement closed with remarks from Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza who recognized the Humanities Council for addressing societal challenges and increasing empathy and civic resiliency through the humanities.
The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities seeds, supports, and strengthens public history, cultural heritage, civic education, and community engagement by and for all Rhode Islanders. As the only dedicated source of funding for public humanities in Rhode Island, we are proud to support museums, libraries, historic sites, schools, preservation and historical societies, community and cultural organizations, individual researchers and documentary filmmakers to bring Rhode Island’s stories to like and to amplify the state’s many diverse voices.
The Humanities Council was established in 1973 as the independent state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). A private nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, the Council is supported by federal funds from the NEH as well as by individuals, corporations, and foundations.
Please see the full list of funded projects below. For more information, contact Rachael Jeffers at firstname.lastname@example.org or (401) 273-2250 x205. All photographs by Matt Ferrara Photography.
2019 MAJOR GRANT AWARDS
In support of organizations and projects that enrich and enliven the life of our state through public humanities programs.
- FirstWorks, $8,250 to Raise Your Voice: “Outsider” Perspectives and Performance
Support for public discussions and performances exploring the roles of gender and sexuality in shaping historical representative and artistic production. A performance reimagining the history of American music through a queer lens will be recorded and shared with audiences statewide.
- The Wilbury Theatre Group, $12,000 to The Olneyville Expo: A Chautauqua-Style Celebration of Olneyville Past, Present, and Future
Support for a neighborhood-based program engaging artists, scholars, and community members in a celebration of all that is Olneyville. Connecting to the annual PVD Fringe Fest, the Chautauqua will be family-oriented an explore topics such as history, cultural heritage, community, and artistic production.
- Providence Public Library, $6,895 to Within a Lifetime: Immigration and the Changing City
Support for a conversation series exploring the complexities and universalities of immigration to Rhode Island as reflected in the history of the Pond Street Neighborhood. The series focuses on six interrelated themes: education, law enforcement, citizenship, voting rights, worker rights, and housing.
- New Urban Arts, $12,000 to Art Inquiry: The Immigrant Story
Support for a robust summer education program at NUA rooted in humanities learning and skills. The interdisciplinary program engages low-income youth from Providence public high schools. Students’ research and artmaking connects to experiences of immigration and the demographic and cultural legacies of the Pond Street Neighborhood of Providence.
- Warwick Center for the Arts, $5,000 to Public Educational Exhibit Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Passage of the 19th Amendment
Funds support the planning stages of a program series celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment. The planning stages of the project result in the creation of a project plan, partners list, and detailed list of resources required to explore 100 years of women’s suffrage in 2020.
- newportFILM, $8,250 to newportFILM OUTDOORS 2019
Funds support the 10th annual outdoor documentary film series held weekly in the summer at venues across Aquidneck Island. The project deepens public engagements with the films’ humanities themes through moderated post-film conversations, online video content, and a blog series.
- Pushed Learning and Media, $12,000 to Curriculum Implementation and Long-Term Curricular Design in Rhode Island Public Schools
Support for public programs connecting students with performers and educators who utilize hip hop and humanities learning to explore the state’s economic, racial, and cultural divisions. School-wide performances, individual classroom work, instructional videos, and afterschool programs allow students to understand the varied life experiences of fellow Rhode Islanders who live so close but are worlds apart.
- Providence Children’s Museum, $10,230 to Cultural Connection at the Providence Children’s Museum
Funds support the cultural connections program at the Providence Children’s Museum that brings local artists and humanists to the museum for family-oriented programs exploring history, heritage, identity, and culture. The programs take place the first Saturday of every month.
- Rhode Island Historical Society, $10,465 to EnCompass: A Digital Archive of Rhode Island History
Funds support seven additional chapters for the online Rhode Island digital history textbook EnCompass. Working with partner scholars and institutions, new chapters cover topics ranging from indigenous history to the Gaspee Affair, women’s suffrage, and the Civil Rights Movement.
- State House Restoration Society, $5,000 to A State House of the Future
Support for the planning stages of a civics project creating and exploring the “state house of the future.” The project challenges architects, designers, and the public to consider the histories of state houses and ways that the buildings can and should be adapted to serve the civic needs of a 21st Century population.
- Community MusicWorks, $11,000 to Traces
Funds support a history-based performance project tracing the “sonic memory” of the neighborhood and new home of Community MusicWorks–the West Side of Providence. Working with students and community members, a public scholar facilitates to collection of oral histories that inform the development of several sound installations and performances.
- Generation Citizen, $11,000 to Improved Civics Education for English Language Learners
Support for the adaptation of Generation Citizen’s extant educational materials for English language learners (ELL). Working with scholars from Rhode Island College, Generation Citizen’s new civic education materials are piloted with ELL teachers and students in Providence and Central Falls.
In support of documentary films that preserve Rhode Island’s stories and bring its history to life.
- Center for Independent Documentary, $5,000 to Blood and Watershed: The Scituate Reservoir
Funds support the scripting phase of a documentary film exploring the creation of the Scituate Reservoir and its current role as Rhode Island’s largest freshwater resource. The final film examines the multidimensional role and impact of the Reservoir on Rhode Island culture, economics, infrastructure and citizens’ sense of civic agency.
- Rhode Island Public Broadcasting System, $11,000 to The Missing Season: Race and Community in Rhode Island’s Golden Age of Baseball
Funds support the production and premiere of “The Missing Season: Race and Community in Rhode Island’s Golden Age of Baseball.” The film focuses on Providence’s early 20th-Century Black community and the interwoven threads of race, money, sport, and social power as they affected the “national pastime” in Rhode Island.
- Futuro Media Group, $11,910 to UNLADYLIKE2020: Sissieretta Jones and Annie Smith Peck
Funds support the production and premiere of two documentary shorts exploring the life and times of acclaimed vocalist Sissieretta Jones and internationally-renowned mountaineer Annie Smith Peck. The videos are part of the larger UNLADYLIKE project, celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage and the accomplishments of Progressive Era women. The series culminates in a national broadcast, educational programs, and public dialogues.