Rhode Island Council for the Humanities hosts its annual Celebration of the Humanities each October to mark National Arts & Humanities Month. The event celebrates the people and projects that make Rhode Island a vital place to live and recognizes the work of extraordinary members of Rhode Island’s public humanities community. Proceeds from the event support culture, history, education, and civic engagement in our state.
The Celebration of the Humanities will take place on Thursday, October 4th, at the Renaissance Providence Downtown Hotel. This high-profile gathering of the Rhode Island community includes over 300 business, higher education, government, philanthropic, and nonprofit leaders and community members from across the state. The Celebration will feature an open wine and beer bar generously sponsored by Campus Fine Wines and hors d’oeuvres, silent auction, and a speaking program.
The 2018 honorees each exemplify this year’s theme of BRIDGE through their work in communities of many faiths and backgrounds, showing how the humanities link diverse communities, increase access to culture and education, span understanding the past and imagining the future, connect to societal challenges, and strengthen the ties between information, awareness, and democracy.
Honorary Chairs’ Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Humanities
Rabbi Wayne M. Franklin, Senior Rabbi, Temple Emanu-El; leader of interfaith dialogues
The Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates career achievements that demonstrate humanities excellence, reflect the Council’s mission and core values, and enrich public life in Rhode Island. The 2018 Award recognizes Rabbi Wayne M. Franklin for over three decades of service as a faith leader, educator, and advocate for civic dialogue. A graduate of Yeshiva University and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Rabbi Franklin was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Providence College in 2017. Rabbi Franklin chaired the Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Engagement and was a member of the Providence Faith, Community, and Law Enforcement Leaders Dialogue Group, which worked to build understanding and trust rooted in empathy. Rabbi Franklin bridges issues of faith and politics –valuing our humanity and shared experience over differences of opinion.
Tom Roberts Prize for Creative Achievement in the Humanities
Francis Parra, Co-Founder and Artistic Director, ECAS Theater
The Tom Roberts Prize celebrates creativity in topics, disciplines, and formats that extend the field of the humanities. This year, the Prize honors Francis Parra for over 20 years of creative leadership of Teatro ECAS, the state’s only Spanish-language theater. Born in the Dominican Republic, Parra graduated from APEC University in Santa Domingo. Parra bridges the humanities and arts with programming that exposes Rhode Island audiences to Latin American literature and scholarship as well as Spanish-language performance. A powerful cultural leader, Parra makes connections between artistic practice and our state’s demographic changes, ensuring opportunities for the growing population of immigrants and Rhode Island-born children of immigrants to see their own stories reflected in literature and performance.
Innovation in the Humanities Award
Stages of Freedom
Recognizing the innovative implementation of the humanities by an organization to achieve a specific goal, this year’s Award is presented to Stages of Freedom. Stages of Freedom, and the organization’s leaders, Ray Rickman and Robb Dimmick, have a long history of bridging cultures and audiences, embracing shared cultural heritage, and empowering youth. Through research and publishing, theater and performance, and exhibitions of art and history Stages of Freedom is developing a new model for how an organization can form lasting partnerships and engage substantial, diverse audiences as they uncover, represent, and empower African-American history in Rhode Island.
Public Humanities Scholar Award
Taylor Polites, Writer, Educator, Researcher
The Scholar Award recognizes outstanding public humanities work in teaching and scholarship that advances the civic and cultural life of Rhode Island. This year, the Award honors Taylor Polites for his historical fiction writing, research, teaching, and creative interpretations of Rhode Island history for public audiences. Polites expertly bridges history, art, and literature working with artists, activists, archivists, and scholars with boundless interdisciplinary imagination and energy. He partners with Ann Hood and Hester Kaplan in Goat Hill, a collaboration dedicated to bringing writers and writing professionals to Southern New England, and works with local organizations to cultivate storytelling and community. He teaches in the Newport MFA program at Salve Regina University, in the Maslow Family Creative Writing MFA program at Wilkes University, at the Rhode Island School of Design, and at Roger Williams University. Polites exemplifies an inclusive approach to scholarship and public engagement in the humanities and is a bridge through his efforts to value individual voices.
Tickets and Sponsorship Opportunities
Proceeds of the Celebration of the Humanities benefit public history, cultural heritage, civic education, and community engagement by and for all Rhode Islanders. Visit: 2018humanities.eventbrite.com to purchase tickets and/or sponsor through our secure online platform. For more information about sponsorship and/or program book ads call 401-273-2250 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Invitation Inclusion: July 27, 2018
Program Inclusion: September 14, 2018
Thank you to our generous sponsors!
Alex and Ani
– Cogut Institute for the Humanities
– The John Carter Brown Library
– John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities & Cultural Heritage
– Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women
Rhode Island School of Design
Roger Williams University
University of Rhode Island
Joan and Richard Abrams
Campus Fine Wines
Barry and Elaine Fain
Polly Hutcheson & George Rice
MetLife Auto & Home
Rhode Island State Council on the Arts
Rebecca R. Riley
Melanie & Stephen Coon
E.F. Bishop Group
Mary Beth Faustine and Andy Workman
Judy Barrett Litoff
McLaughlin & Moran, Inc.
Jean and Mark Patiky
Pawtucket Credit Union
The Providence Athenaeum
Rhode Island PBS
Sarah B. Richardson and Craig Richardson
James P. Riley
Don and Kitty Wineberg
Edward and Linda Wood
Constance Worthington & Terry Tullis
Yankee Travel, Inc.