October is National Arts and Humanities Month! This year’s theme for Rhode Island’s Arts and Humanities Month is Culture Builds the Future. The RI Council for the Humanities and the RI State Council on the Arts (RISCA) will be celebrating with programs that explore how arts, culture, and the humanities build more vibrant futures by building more vibrant communities and positively impacting education, the environment, public health, and civic health. The Humanities Council and RISCA will also share new tools and resources that will demonstrate how arts, culture, and the humanities strengthen our communities, including the RI Arts Education dashboard, the first-ever RI Civic Health Index, and the recent Culture is Key: Strengthening Rhode Island’s Civic Health Through Cultural Participation report.
“As we move into the unchartered territory of a post covid world we need innovative solutions and creative empathy to solve new problems and address challenges that have been with us for generations. When arts and culture are employed to create social connection, drive economic opportunity, and create new visions for the future, we get results that are human centered, inspiring, complex and joyful. And when we are intentional about using artistic practices in systems that may no longer be relevant, we can begin to heal and repair injustice. It is wonderful to celebrate the contributions Rhode Island artists and culture bearers make to our state’s economy and civic life during the month of October,” said Lynne McCormack, Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.
“When RISCA and the Humanities Council worked together to make relief grants last year, we wanted to catalyze the ability of cultural organizations to thrive as well as survive the pandemic. We witnessed so much resilience, adaptation, and innovation throughout the state. We are inspired to celebrate Arts and Humanities Month in this spirit and to showcase how culture builds the future. We hope you engage with the many activities going on throughout the month,” said Elizabeth Francis, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities.
The Humanities Council and RISCA will be wrapping up Arts and Humanities Month with a speaking program entitled “How Culture Builds the Future,” featuring awardees of the Rhode Island Culture, Humanities, and Arts Recovery Grants (RI CHARG) program, the Councils’ historic, collaborative grant program supported by American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Occurring in the summer of 2021, RI CHARG provided $8,000 general operating support grants to 121 Rhode Island culture, humanities, and arts nonprofit organizations, prioritizing BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) centered organizations, and organizations with annual budgets under $500,000.
National Arts and Humanities Month (NAHM) is a nationwide collective recognition of the importance of culture in America. NAHM was launched over 30 years ago by Americans for the Arts (AFTA), in order to raise public awareness about the critical role arts and humanities play in our communities.
Interested in joining the Councils in celebrating Arts and Humanities Month? Please participate in any of the programs we have listed below! We will be updating this blog post throughout September. However, the most important thing you can do is participate in arts, cultural, and humanities focused events that are meaningful to you and your community, and communicate that importance to friends, neighbors, and community leaders.
Here are the programs the Humanities Council and RISCA are presenting around Arts and Humanities Month in Rhode Island, including a few programs at the end of September that serve as a prologue for October’s events!:
Thursday, September 22: 2022 Celebration of the Humanities. 7:00 p.m. EST. Virtual event hosted by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities honoring this year’s awardees: Joan Abrams, Josh Short, Haus of Glitter for their “Historical Fantasy of Esek Hopkins,” and The Dorr Rebellion Project Website. Program also includes a keynote from Mónica Guzmán, author of I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times. Free registration required to attend live virtual screening. https://rihumanities.org/get-involved/celebrate/
Tuesday, September 27: Official launch of the RI Civic Health Index!
The RI Civic Health Index is the first data-driven report assessing the health of RI’s civic health, helping us understand the role of the cultural sector in promoting civic engagement and community wellbeing. This initiative is led by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities in partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship and the Rhode Island Department of State and was designed with a community-first approach that included 10 Community Partners from across the state and a survey which hundreds of Rhode Islanders responded to from every city and town. Starting the 27th, watch the video and read the report at: https://rihumanities.org/program/ri-civic-health-index/
Thursday, October 6: PORTALES: Reimagining the Future – Dance Performance & Story Circle. 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the WaterFire Arts Center in Providence. The PORTALES: Reimagining the Future exhibit will be accompanied by a dance performance by Sokeo Ros and story circle held by Anjel Newmann on Thursday, October 6 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The Story Circle is supported in part by a partnership with the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, and is also support by a project grant from RISCA.
Friday, October 14: Coffee Hour presentation about upcoming public art commissions on URI Narragansett Bay Campus. 10:00 -11:00 a.m. at the URI Narragansett Bay Campus at the OSEC building. Presented by the RISCA Public Art Program.
Tuesday, October 18: In Conversation: Arts and Health with Melody Gamba. 5:30 – 7:30 p.m at Southside Cultural Center. Presented by the Arts and Health Network, a partnership between RISCA and RI Department of Health. Join in the dialogue with artists, creatives, health professionals and other innovators who believe in the power of the arts to engage communities and improve well-being. The event begins with a presentation, followed by open conversation and networking. Featured in this program is Health and Human Services Artist in Residence (AIR) Melody Gamba. Melody is a dance artist, educator, licensed mental health counselor and board-certified dance-movement. Free. Pre-registration required via Eventbrite.
Monday, October 24: Official Launch of the Rhode Island Arts Education Data Dashboard. Presented by RISCA. Prepared by Quadrant Research in partnership with the Arts Education Data Project this dashboard allows users to view arts education data in Rhode Island’s K-12 public and public charter schools. In development for over a year, this dashboard was built analyzing data publicly available from the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) and in partnership with DataSpark at the University of Rhode Island. If you have any questions or would like more information reach out to Maggie Anderson, Director of Arts in Education, at Maggie.Anderson@arts.ri.gov.
Thursday, October 27: “How Culture Builds the Future” Panel co-hosted by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. Virtual event, online from 11:00am – 12:30pm. Registration details coming soon.
See a full listing of programs supported by the Humanities Council on our calendar at: https://rihumanities.org/calendar/