U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and NEA Chairman
Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the National Council on the Arts, and NEA Chairman Dana Gioia today participated in a conversation about the cultural, educational, and economic importance of the arts to Rhode Island and the nation. Moderated by Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, the conversation explored the arts community in Rhode Island, the implications of the NEA's recent release of the study To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence, and the future of the NEA.
Trinity Rep Company Member Mauro Hantman opened the morning with a monologue from Richard III and explained Trinity Rep's involvement in the NEA's Shakespeare in American Communities Initiative. Two students involved in Trinity Rep's Young Actors Studio education program performed a scene from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet for the audience.
Following this event, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) held a grant workshop for local nonprofit organizations, hosted by Senator Whitehouse and Chairman Gioia. The workshop was part of the agency's outreach to Rhode Island non-profit organizations to inform them about federal arts funding opportunities.
"The National Endowment for the Arts is committed to supporting the arts in communities throughout the country," said Chairman Gioia. "I am delighted to be here in Providence today to encourage local arts organizations to apply for federal grants."
"Claiborne Pell recognized the value of the arts in Rhode Island when he sponsored the bill creating the NEA. I'm proud to be able to follow his example," Senator Whitehouse said. "The arts strengthen our communities and enrich our lives. I hope today's events will help more Rhode Island organizations feel that federal support for their work is, indeed, within reach."
All of the morning's events were held at Trinity Repertory Company's Lederer Theater. John Ostrout, NEA Director of State and Regional Partnerships, led the free session, which included a discussion of federal grant opportunities for projects that:
provide hands-on learning in the arts for children and youth (pre-K to Grade 12) in schools, arts organizations, and community centers;
help preserve cultural traditions through documentation, publications, exhibits, apprenticeships, and conservation;
provide access to the arts in underserved communities; and
involve the creation or presentation of works of art, including performances, exhibitions, and festivals.
Following their conversation, Senator Whitehouse and Chairman Gioia toured three Providence arts organizations: AS220, a community arts space; Perishable Theatre Arts Center; and the Providence Black Repertory Company. Chairman Gioia then traveled to Newport, where he toured the Newport Art Museum and attended a reception at Newport's Redwood Library, where poets Dr. Peter Liotta, an NEA literature fellow, and Nehassaiu deGannes gave a poetry reading.
The NEA is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts - both new and established - and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the largest annual national funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, and U.S. territories, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases.
Return to News Index
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency
1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20506