This 3 Questions Series offers the chance to learn more about board members, grantees, and longtime supporters of Rhode Island Humanities. In the coming months, we will continue to share these conversations as a window into the people who make up our unique network.
Emily McHugh (she/her/hers)
Director of Strategic Initiatives, SQA
Lives in Warwick
As you join Rhode Island Humanities’ board, what do you find most interesting or exciting about the Council’s work? Or what are you hoping to learn more about through your board service?
As a former grant writer and someone who has participated in community grant review processes, I’m excited to be a part of the grantmaking process at Rhode Island Humanities. It provides an incredible view into many amazing things happening across our little state. I’ve spent much of my career working in education, so I’m looking forward to learning more about Rhode Island organizations focused on culture and humanities and how their work positively impacts our communities.
How do you interact with Rhode Island’s humanities and cultural sector personally and/or professionally? Can you share a favorite program, exhibit, project, performance, screening, or other humanities activity you’ve participated in recently and what you took away from that experience?
I grew up immersed in the humanities sector because of the women in my family. My mom passed down her love of reading, and my grandmother passed down her love of art from spending many years working at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Connecticut. I spent much of my summers with her, attending a camp where I studied different types of art and did some painting myself. In high school, I was introduced to theater, playing my violin in the pit orchestra, and I continued playing throughout college. I’ve also always been an avid reader and lover of storytelling, as I think it’s so important that we read and listen to stories that don’t reflect our backgrounds and histories and introduce us to new cultures, ideas, and ways of thinking. When it comes to the humanities, specifically in Rhode Island, one of my favorite projects (and one that’s hard to miss) is the Avenue Concept’s public mural project. It brings such vibrance to downtown Providence and shows visitors who we are as a state and a community.
What is it about living in Rhode Island that you find compelling?
Rhode Island is an incredibly unique state. The sense of community here is unlike anything I’ve experienced in the other places I’ve lived, and I feel lucky to call Rhode Island home. My favorite aspect of being part of this community is that there are creators, artists, performers, etc., everywhere you go. I love seeing sold-out shows at PPAC and Trinity Rep, new exhibits popping up at the RISD museum, makers showing off their work at PVDFest, book clubs hosted by independent bookstores featuring local authors, and crowds of people enjoying WaterFire. There is always something happening, and it is so accessible.
Learn more about Emily and other board members by reading their biographies here.