The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities honored Roger Mandle, art historian, curator, and former president of the Rhode Island School of Design, Consuelo Sherba, co-founder and artistic director of Aurea, Rhode Island’s Shellfish: An Ecological History – University of Rhode Island, and Matthew Lawrence, writer, editor, curator, and founder of Not About the Buildings at the Celebration of the Humanities on Thursday, October 8, 2015 at the Center by the Blackstone in Pawtucket. Hundreds of community and business leaders, scholars, artists, and Rhode Islanders gathered to raise over $65,000 to support the public humanities including culture, history, heritage, and civic education in our state. Marking the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Pell Humanities Initiative was also featured, honoring the role of Senator Claiborne Pell in the founding of the NEH and showcasing the vital contributions of the humanities in our society today.
With the theme of Connect, the Celebration highlighted the power of the humanities to create meaningful connections across disciplines, communities, and arenas for action. The honorees demonstrate how the humanities inspire creativity, bridge academic and public life, foster community, and help us address in meaningful and thoughtful ways the key challenges we face as a society today. The Pell Humanities Initiative, a collaboration between three Rhode Island institutions which carry the legacy of Senator Claiborne Pell—the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, the Pell Center at Salve Regina University, and the University of Rhode Island Libraries—also builds connections. Marking the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Pell Humanities Initiative creates a network of imaginative and compelling public humanities programs at colleges, universities and cultural and historical institutions across the state and gives them visibility both in Rhode Island and nationally.
RI Council for the Humanities Executive Director, Elizabeth Francis, remarked, “The Council connects through our grants to the amazing people and organizations who are committed in so many ways to the importance of the humanities for our everyday lives, problems, and dreams. We also connect through dynamic projects and partnerships. “Connect” is all of you tonight, who support the humanities and their many voices and expressions.”