Arts Organizations, take note: Rhode Island Foundation creates new Responsive Grant funding category

Rhode Island Foundation

The Rhode Island Foundation has created a new funding category called “Responsive Grants”, designed to “address urgent community need, emerging opportunity, new ideas, and proven programs in the nonprofit space.”

Grants made through this program will start at $10,000, and the grant term will generally be one year.  Organizations can apply any time, but are only eligible for one award per calendar year from this program.

Responsive Grants are designed to support organizations across the nonprofit sector – including those working in the arts, or to serve children & families, or to provide affordable housing, or to protect the environment. The program will also support organizations that are focused on other areas of need.

The Rhode Island Foundation’s Responsive Grant funding category is accepting applications now. Click here to learn more, and begin the application process.

Sherry Brown and Retirement…

sherrySherry Brown and Retirement are two words I never expected to put together in the same sentence. Sherry was here before I arrived twenty-three years ago, and I fully expected that she would be here long after I left.  She is, after all, made of hearty Norwegian stock, with a quick and facile mind that can grasp the intricacies of education policy better than most mortals.

But, for reasons best known to her and her benefits counselor, Sherry has decided to retire after thirty-plus years with the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. We’re delighted to welcome Maggie Anderson as RISCA’s new Education Director starting Monday morning, January 22nd, but more on that later. Now is Sherry time.

I can’t begin to describe how empowering it is to work with a person like Sherry.  Arts administrators, by definition, believe they are the best and most creative problem solvers. And we are, for the most part. But if people like me pretend to think in three-dimensions, Sherry is always there to help you look into a fourth dimension, and sometimes a fifth. In her quiet and unassuming way, she will suggest another way to address an issue, phrase a response or diffuse a crisis. There are literally more times than I can count where Sherry Brown has gotten me (and, by extension, our agency) out of a jam.  If I have an important document to write, Sherry is the first person I ask to read through it. Thank G-d she was always there to do it.

2018-01-19 16_44_21-riaea _ 2017 RIAEA Award WinnersSherry Brown as been the Patron Saint of Arts Education in our state. The relationships Sherry has built over the years — with the State Department of Education, the major arts education associations, the Alliance for Arts Education, VSA arts of Rhode Island, all of our major and small to medium size arts organizations, the list goes on — has been the foundation of our work to ensure that “all kids have access to quality arts education” in the home, school and community. Sherry’s work has brought forth a number of important programs and organizations, such as the Arts Talk program for teacher professional development, the Rhode Island Teaching Artist Center, the Rhode Island Arts Learning Network, and now an extensive media education program called Give Me 5 in cooperation with our Rhode Island Film & Television Office.

Sherry’s latest effort is the one that – Thank The Stars! – will keep her collaborating with us. Sherry has helped to organize a major Arts and Healthcare initiative in cooperation with the Rhode Island Department of Health, the State’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services, and the Brown University School of Public Health, among others. Sherry will be a volunteer Co-Chair of this effort, which allows us to keep her RISCA email active and her seat warm.

But for now, it’s literally the end of an era. Thank you, Sherry Brown, for all you have done to elevate Arts Education (writ large) in Rhode Island, and we will do our best to continue this important work. “Fair winds and Following Seas.”

Randy Rosenbaum, Executive Director, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts

Humanities Council Job Opportunity

rich-logoThe Rhode Island Council for the Humanities is looking for a full time Operations Officer to join our dedicated and enthusiastic staff. This is a unique opportunity for a forward-looking manager to have an impact across the Council’s programs and partnerships.

TITLE: Operations Officer
HOURS: Full time, 35 hours/week – starting late February/early March 2018

THE ROLE: Reporting to the Executive Director, the Operations Officer manages the implementation of the Humanities Council’s operations and strategic goals, including measurement and reporting on the Council’s impact. The Operations Officer’s portfolio includes overseeing the Council’s financial administration, human resources, technology and office infrastructure, project management practices, and grants administration.

Read the full position description and apply here. Applications are due by Tuesday, January 23.

Writing classes at School One

180sClasses for Young Writers begin January 29th and March 12th.

Write Here Write Now: Playwriting for Teens (6 sessions begins January 23)

School One Hosts Trinity Rep’s Write Here Write Now Playwriting for Teens: Student Playwriting Workshop in preparation for Trinity Rep’s Write Here Write Now competition for young playwrights

Come learn the ins and outs of writing a script for the stage!

Students will create an original ten minute play of their own to be entered into the student play festival. If selected the play will be read by professional actors on the Trinity Rep stage!

Classes are on Tuesday, 3:30-5pm at School One.

Open to students in grades 9-12.

Lit Lab  (6 sessions begins January 30; March 13)

Explore, create, and rework your writing with guided experiments, writing time focused on your interests, and individualized feedback.

Classes are on Tuesday, 3:30-5pm at School One.

Open to students in grades 7-12.

Comic Book and Graphic Design Creator (Eight sessions begins March 15)

Dream up, plan out, design, and draw comic books or short graphic novels with help from cartoonist Miles Cook.

Classes are on Thursday, 3:30-5pm at School One.

Open to students in grade 7-12. 

$120 scholarships available.

Anything But Reality (6 sessions begins March 22)

Write about magic, dreams, fantasy, science fiction, ghosts, fairies, the paranormal, superheroes, or anything your imagination can invent.

Classes are on Thursday, 3:30-5pm at School One.

Open to students in grade 7-12. 

$120 scholarships available.

Class details on our website,

Contact Diana Champa at 401-331-2497 or to sign up!



The gallery space at the Block Island Airport is accepting art submissions for their 2018 exhibitions.  The gallery program is a partnership between RISCA and the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, to promote outstanding work by artists living and working in Rhode Island.  The gallery at the Block Island Airport will present art to an ever-changing audience of local, national and international travelers.

Works in all media will be considered.  Note that the Block Island Airport Gallery is best suited to moderately-sized works.  The Block Island Airport presents four artists per year in solo exhibitions. Artists included in the 2018 exhibitions will receive a $100 stipend for participating in the program. Continue reading