February 15, 2019 — The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities is pleased to announce the selection of Janaya Kizzie as the Rhode Island Arts and Culture Research Fellow. Kizzie will research, write, and connect Wikipedia profiles of key artists, writers, performers, and cultural leaders for Rhode Island’s roots as a creative place. Offered for the first time, the fellowship was made possible by a gift from Yarrow Thorne, an artist and champion of public art. “This initiative will enhance Rhode Island’s reputation as a creative center with regional, national, and international importance. The fellowship is designed to record and connect stories of Rhode Island’s creative sector past and present in order to inspire others,” Thorne said about the fellowship project. “It will be a tremendous resource to artists now and help to attract investment in the state’s creative and cultural economy.”
Kizzie has a strong background in activating archives and engaging diverse and creative populations. She was selected from an impressive group of over 50 applicants from New England and beyond for her archival experience, knowledge of the arts and culture sector, and digital humanities. Kizzie assisted in the establishment of archives at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Citizens Bank. In 2018, Kizzie organized the new AS220 Collection at Providence Public Library. An artist and writer herself, Kizzie served as co-director of Frequency Writers in 2015-2016, and her work has recently appeared at Providence Fringe Fest and Creature Conserve’s Urban Wildlife Exhibit. She has a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and History from Bard College and a master’s in Library and Information Studies from the University of Rhode Island.
Kizzie will be responsible for researching, writing, and connecting profiles of significant artists, performers, writers, and cultural leaders with strong connections to the state and engaging with an Advisory Committee and the broader community in a variety of ways. Kizzie commented about the opportunity: “I’ve come across and worked with many arts and cultural organizations as a librarian and as an artist, and I was really excited by the chance to start connecting the dots. I’m very interested in the idea of telling a more complete story about that aspect of Rhode Island. I’m also thrilled to have the opportunity to raise awareness of Rhode Island’s fascinating and varied artistic and cultural landscape, and I’m looking forward to empowering others to have a voice on Wikipedia and beyond.”
As the Humanities Council embarks on this new initiative, Executive Director Elizabeth Francis noted, “This fellowship is an outstanding way to catalyze research and storytelling to learn more and appreciate the roots of Rhode Island’s creative culture. The Humanities Council will help to facilitate the project and Janaya’s collaboration with an Advisory Committee of talented, thoughtful, and forward-looking cultural leaders.”
Click here to learn more about the RI Arts and Culture Research Fellowship and the Advisory Committee.