Meet Pronk and Lydia Perez

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.

PRONK2017-132Arts Access Grant
Applicant Organization: Providence HONK! Fest
Project: PRONK! is a free, family-friendly, outdoor music festival, featuring brass and drum-based street bands playing alongside local performance groups. For the past ten years the festival has brought between ten and fourteen internationally-performing bands to Providence while highlighting local talent, neighborhood flavor, and community accomplishments. This year’s festival took place on Indigenous People’s Day, Monday, October 9th, 2017 from 3:00 – 10:30pm in Burnside Park and the Fox Point neighborhood.
More specifically the festival day includes three distinct components: afternoon performances in Burnside Park by out of town bands and local non-brass band acts; a sunset parade that leads from Burnside Park down South Main Street to the HurricanePRONK2017-17 Barrier; and evening outdoor performances by PRONK! bands on South Water Street.
This year, our goal is to bring together artists and community groups to create visual pageantry for the PRONK festival parade, amplifying each group’s messaging in the context of vibrant street celebration.
About the Organization: PRONK! presents a heartfelt antidote to mainstream culture by inviting people from all walks of life to come together for a day set aside for the celebration of music. We aim to blur social boundaries between audience and performers as well as between musical genres, resulting in a joyous reclamation of public space.

Lydia picFolk Arts Apprenticeship
Project: Afro-Puerto Rican Bomba Dance- Folk Arts Apprenticeship
Master: Lydia Pérez
Apprentice: Dorothy Rivera-Pérez
Artist Bio: As part of her Puerto Rican culture and identity, Lydia began learning Afro-Puerto Rican Music and Dance in Puerto Rico when she was a little girl. She has spent the last twenty-seven years as a performer and cultural educator/activist in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
As a Traditional Artist in Rhode Island, she received the 1998 and 2010 Merit Fellowship from Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA), the 2000 Fellowship award from RISCA and the 2000 RI Foundation Fellowship award. At a national level, Lydia represented New England in the Southern Arts Federation and received the American Tradition Award in 1999 and 2000, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts with the Traditional Artists Program. In March 2014, celebrating the Women’s History Month, she was recognized as a Rhode Island Woman of Distinction by the University of Rhode Island, and on October 19, 2014 she received the 2014-ETNIAS Business Award “Diversity Champion.”
Lydia’s performance group, YORUBA 2 was named in honor of Master Carlos Cruz. Yoruba 2 is an award-winning, nationally renowned traditional Afro-Puerto Rican music and dance. The group is known for playing genres of music including Bomba and Plena. Lydia established the Puerto Rican Institute for the Arts and Advocacy, Inc. (PRIAA) in 1994.  In 2007, She established the Caribbean Arts program in which she teach students about Puerto Rican History, rhythms, dance, mask making and carnival. She ran the program in Hartford, CT, Boston, Springfield and Rhode Island school districts.