[Updated: September 21, 2020] June 16, 2020 — The Council has awarded $345,646 in operating support grants to 49 organizations across the state. An additional $32,000 has been awarded in project grants to 16 projects that show how to connect the humanities to the experience of the pandemic and innovate new methods and approaches for the future. Read more below about these projects and view a list of the organizations supported.
The organizations supported include libraries, museums, historic and cultural sites, festivals, theaters, and community cultural centers all over the state: Newport, South Kingstown, Providence, Coventry, Hopkinton, North Kingstown, and beyond. Based on the financial estimates provided as part of the application, the total value of anticipated losses to date is $24,396,192 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, a stark reminder of how valuable the humanities sector is to Rhode Island’s economy.
On behalf of the Council’s board of directors, review committee, and the staff, we wish you well and continue to be inspired by the resilience and creativity of the humanities sector.
All my best,
Elizabeth Francis, PhD
Funding for these grants has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act economic stabilization plan.
2020 recipients of General Operating Support Grants
Awarded in JUNE 2020 (round two recipients – 21 organizations, $137,446 total)
Blackstone Valley Historical Society
India Association of Rhode Island
Museum of Work and Culture / Rhode Island Historical Society
New Urban Arts
Newport Art Museum
Norman Bird Sanctuary
North Kingstown Free Library
Old Slater Mill Association
Portsmouth Free Public Library Association
Rhode Island Black Heritage Society
RI Kung Fu & Lion Dance Club
South County Museum, Inc.
The Cocumscussoc Association
Warwick Center for the Arts
What Cheer Writers Club
Awarded in MAY 2020 (round one recipients – 28 organizations, $208,200 total)
Ashaway Free Library
Davisville Free Library Association
Educational Center for Arts & Sciences (Teatro ECAS)
Everett: Company, Stage & School
Friends of the Hearthside, Inc.
International Tennis Hall of Fame
Langworthy Public Library
Lippitt House Museum / Preserve RI
Newport Restoration Foundation
Preservation Society of Newport County
Providence Children’s Film Festival
Providence Children’s Museum
Providence Preservation Society
Providence Public Library
RI Center for the Book
RI Computer Museum
RI Latino Arts
South County History Center
Southside Cultural Center
Stages of Freedom
Western RI Civic and Historical Society
Wilbury Theatre Group
*As of June 16, 2020 all operating support grant funds have been awarded.
Humanities in the Age of Social Distancing Project Grants
(16 projects, $32,000 total)
Project Grants to Organizations:
Barrington Public Library Corporation, $2,000
Rhody Radio: RI Library Radio Online
Supports the development of Rhody Radio, an online podcast channel where the state’s public libraries are able to upload, stream, and share public programs during the age of social distancing. Public programs will cover topics ranging from WWII, to organized crime, indigenous heritage & culture, and jazz.
Block Island Historical Society, $2,000
Block Island: Virtual Visits to its History
Supports the digitization and dissemination of the archival content, exhibitions, and collections of the Block Island Historical Society. Adapting organizational content for digital engagement allows the public to continue to access the organization’s tremendous resources while social distancing and travel restrictions are in place.
Bristol Historical & Preservation Society, $2,000
Lost Main Street in the Age of COVID-19
Supports the expansion and continuation of BH&PS’ exhibit “Lost Main Street: Mom and Pop Businesses of Bristol’s Past.” Through the circulation of a free booklet, creation of a COVID-19 archive, and extension of the exhibit, BH&PS will document the cultural and financial significance of small businesses in Bristol.
Coggeshall Farm Museum, $2,000
Digital Civics/History Program for Grade 5 Students
Supports the production of a free, digital civics curriculum unit (combination of written resources and videos) for Rhode Island 5th graders. The unit will focus on the history of slavery and the African-American experience in Bristol in the eighteenth-century.
George Hail Free Library, $2,000
LUMINOUS COASTS: The Life and Works of Henry N. Cady (1849-1935)
Supports the creation of a digital exhibition (and related programs and educational materials) on the life and work of Henry N. Cady drawn from the holdings of the George Hail Library and the Warren Preservation Society.
Kingston Chamber Music Festival, $2,000
Kingston Chamber Music 2020 Online Festival
Supports robust program notes distributed as part of the Kingston Chamber Music’s 2020 summer festival. Celebrating the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, the festival and program notes will allow Rhode Islanders to connect with world-class performance from the safety of their home.
Providence Public Library, $2,000
RICovidArchive.org Project Coordinator for Latinx/Spanish-Language Outreach & Promotion
Supports the hiring of an outreach coordinator to encourage contributions from members of Rhode Island Latinx communities to the Rhode Island COVID-19 Archive. The coordinator’s activities will include the creation of Spanish-language messaging and building relationships with Latinx communities.
South County Museum, $2,000
Virtual Campus Social Studies Learning Tools
Supports the projection and distribution of “virtual campus tours” of the South County Museum. Recorded videos are geared toward enriching the at-home education K-12 students who are unable to visit the South County Museum during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stages of Freedom, $2,000
Engaging the Black Community in the Age of COVID-19
Supports Stages of Freedom as they develop a myriad of resources for Rhode Island’s African-American community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Connecting audiences with public health information, details on relief support, and community-building exercises, the project helps one of the state’s hardest-hit communities survive and thrive.
Teatro ECAS, $2,000
Educational Center for Arts & Access, Disproportionate Impact
Supports the research and development phase of “Impacto Desproporcionado,” a theatrical performance documenting and sharing experiences of Rhode Island’s Latinx community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project results in an edited collection of theatrical monologues.
WaterFire Providence, $2,000
Decameron, Providence: Sharing New Stories for a New Era
Supports a two-night drive-in film series at WaterFire Art Center featuring films based on Boccaccio’s Decameron. This film series will be coordinated with Zoom-based talk-back sessions, and is part of a larger project helmed by WaterFire and the Wilbury Theatre Group involving 15 cultural groups reinterpreting the Decameron for our current historical moment.
Project Grants to Individual Scholars, Film, & other Media Makers:
Aashish Edakadampil, $2,000
Supports the production of a brief, animated film exploring the alienation and isolation of individuals from one another—and nature—during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite technologically allowing us to be “in touch.” The film addresses technology’s limitations to support society in its full complexity and meaning.
Kelly Eriksen, $2,000
How you Talk Now
Supports a research project examining how the art of conversation has been altered by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Through recorded dialogues and reflections, the project documents how Rhode Islanders’ day-to-day life & socialization has been affected by social distancing.
Lisa Limer, $2,000
Supports a project that documents the impact of COVID-19 on Rhode Island’s capital city. Submitted by residents of Providence, photos will be compiled into a publicly accessible e-book, submitted to the COVID-19 Digital Archive.
Daniel Phillips, $2,000
Super 8 Film Festival
Supports a documentary filmmaking project and public screening event. Utilizing the world-famous Super 8 film technology, 20 Rhode Islanders will document the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their lives. Finished films will be publicly screened and preserved for the historic record.
Rose Weaver, $2,000
Don’t Take the Memories with You: COVID-19 As a Catalyst to Examine My Arts Work in Rhode Island
Supports an individual research and archiving project led by scholar and artist Rose Weaver. The project documents and preserves the history of theater and performance in Rhode Island through the examination of personal and professional experiences and practices.
*As of August, 2020 all project grant funds have been awarded.