Twice a year RISCA awards grants in a number of categories. Over the course of a few months, we will be profiling the amazing artists and organizations that received grants at our April 1, 2017 deadline, two at a time.
Arts Access Grant
Project: Artist Cathren Housley and the Peace Flag Project (PFP) are collaborating to create “The United American Peace Flag, a flag comprised of more than 300 Peace Flags (PF) made by Rhode Islanders of all ages and backgrounds. Peace Flags, originally inspired by Tibetan Prayer Flags, express deep wishes for peace, kindness, unity, generosity and a better world. The 20′ by 10′ flag will be exhibited in RI at galleries, museums, concerts, festivals and more.
The United American Peace Flag symbolizes and unites the richly diverse communities of RI. As Cathren has said, “We seek to strengthen the respect for all our citizens–both newly arrived and long-time residents. The flag represents all colors, nationalities, ethnicities, religions, and ages, and unites our visions for peace.”
The project is the inspiration of local artist Cathren Housley. In 2015 and 2016, PFP collaborated with Cathren to create “The Great American Peace Flag” (GAPF.) a flag of similar scale, constructed with Peace Flags made by adults and children all over RI. This flag has been displayed at concerts, festivals, graduation ceremonies, churches and Peace Fest 2016 and 2017. It has been well received as an American peace symbol as well as a spiritual one; it represents the collective expression of wishes for a better world by diverse communities in RI.
Some of the groups we are enlisting to make flags are: URI Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies, Institute for the Study & Practice of Nonviolence; 3 Unitarian Churches; Jamestown Art Center; Farmers Markets; PACE Senior Center; Community Chorus members; Elementary, Middle and High school students. We are also making a special effort to engage prominent RI artists as well as lesser known visual artists. Our plan is to include at least 75 working artists in creating flags for this project.
About the Organization: The PFP philosophy is that we are all peacemakers. We believe that each of us can make the world more peaceful in significant ways by how we treat one another every day. Behaving in more caring, thoughtful ways can promote healthier, more stable communities and a more peaceful planet. We provide opportunities for people of all ages to create Peace Flags that reflect their positive wishes for the world. Our major event is honoring the UN Peace Day each September; over the years, we have expanded to a Month of Peace.
Project Grant for Individuals
Artist: Lucas Pralle and Carolyn Decker
Project: Lucas Pralle will hold a series of five Endless Beautiful Creativity Workshops in Rhode Island between July 2017 and June 2018. At workshops, participants use audio-based writing prompts to simultaneously listen and write. Participants share their writing with the group for a discussion period. Workshops are recorded and posted as episodes of the Endless Beautiful podcast. For each Endless Beautiful Creativity Workshop, Lucas Pralle and Carolyn Decker guide participants through creative writing and public speaking exercises. We use a selection of audio clips as a 15-minute writing prompt during which participants simultaneously listen and write. The audio clips are sourced from our recordings of the natural environment and other settings. After the writing exercise, we ask participants to share their writing with the group for a discussion period. Participants read their work at the microphone and answer a few questions from the group about their experience and what inspired them in their creative work. We record the readings and post them with the audio sessions as episodes of our Endless Beautiful podcast. Details about our method and podcast episodes featuring our recent workshops are available on our website: http://www.endlessbeautiful.com.
The range of topics and styles showcased in our workshop exhibits the vibrancy of the varied cultures in our community, revealing “the endless beautiful”–the individual and communal powers of creativity that exist within our communities. Our desired and expected outcome is to reveal the creative potential in our participants to the greater community.
Artist Bio: Lucas Pralle is the Employment Specialist for Community Care Alliance, a large social services organization that has served Woonsocket and Northern Rhode Island for over a century. His business is to help people, and he is passionate about promoting the creative arts in our communities. Pralle has several years of experience building community through the arts. Here’s a link to a short documentary about one of the projects that he was a major part of in Madison, Wisconsin called Windows of Worlds: https://youtu.be/LXVnfz1QEg8.
Carolyn Decker is a poet and a wetland biologist with Natural Resource Services, a wetlands consulting company based in Burrillville and serving Southern New England. She was the recipient of a 2014 Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to study the relationship between creative writing and nature conservation in cultures and ecosystems around the world. She has led creative writing workshops in the United States, Dominica, and Australia.