Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, in partnership with Rhode Island Latino Arts, has been selected to receive a competitive Latino Americans: 500 Years of History grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA).
As one of 203 grant recipients selected from across the country, Rhode Island Council for the Humanities will receive an award of $10,000 to produce public programming in partnership with Rhode Island Latino Arts about Latino history and culture.
At the center of the programming is the six-part, NEH-supported documentary film “Latino Americans,” created for PBS in 2013 by the WETA public television station. The award-winning series chronicles the history of Latinos in the United States from the 16th century to present day. (Learn more about the series here.) The funding will enable the Council and Rhode Island Latino Arts to present the PBS series with locally generated programming that connects Rhode Island history to the national stories shared in the series. The grant will also contribute to the development of local Latino history projects, including augmenting the Latino Oral History Project of RI archive with the creation of a Foto Historias tour on Rhode Tour, a statewide mobile historical smartphone application that tells stories by and about Rhode Islanders. With these grant funds, Rhode Tour partners – Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, Brown University’s John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, and Rhode Island Historical Society – will join Rhode Island Latino Arts in exploring issues of translation as well as intersections with Latino history on currently completed tours.
“Latino Americans are the country’s largest minority group, and they are the fastest growing population group in Rhode Island. The development of Latino communities is one of the state’s most important and compelling stories,” said Elizabeth Francis, executive director of Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. “Through this support, we will be able to expand the history collected to date and further explore issues that Latino Rhode Islanders share, as well as the diversity that makes Rhode Island distinctive. By linking the national story with local dynamics, we also will be able to continue a dialogue about moving forward,” commented Marta V. Martínez, executive director of RI Latino Arts.
Rhode Island Latino Arts programming will begin on August 15, 2015 from 12-2PM at the Southside Cultural Center with a Kick-Off of Café Recuerdos, a traveling humanities art installation that will engage participants with the theme of “Re-Examining America’s Social and Cultural History.”
The installation takes the form of a peddler’s cart, designed by Cuban-American artist Ana Flores. It features coffee cans painted with portraits of Latino Rhode Island immigrants, and an interactive story board where participants can add their own stories. As it travels throughout the state, coffee will be served, and oral histories will be collected by the Latino Oral History Project of Rhode Island. Humanities questions addressed will include: What is home? Is there any one American immigrant experience?
From July to November, community partners will host the installation, providing additional programming and promotions. Learn more about Café Recuerdos here .