Rhode Island Cultural Anchor: Dr. David Neves

NevesPhoto1 - David Neves

Dr. David Neves is the Director of Youth Wind Ensembles for the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School and coordinator of music education at the University of Rhode Island. In June, 2017, Dr. Neves retired from his position as Director of Fine and Performing Arts for the Needham Public Schools, Needham, Massachusetts, completing 41 years of full time work in public school music education. Prior to Needham, Dr. Neves served 29 years as a Music Teacher, Supervisor and Director of Bands in Scituate, Rhode Island.

We asked him a few questions about his life and art-making in Rhode Island for our new series, Rhode Island Cultural Anchors.

RISCA: Give us a brief overview of your day yesterday- what did you do in both your personal and professional life.

DN: My typical day begins with a daily walk and exercise program to clear my mind, work on my body (which needs a LOT of work) and generally get energized for the work. Being retired from full-time work enables me to spend my time doing what I love to do on my own terms. Currently, that means spending about 2 hours a day playing my horns (saxophone, clarinet, flute), 1 to 2 hours reviewing /studying scores for Rhode Island Philharmonic Youth Wind Ensemble (RIPYWE) rehearsals and future concert repertoire, and then on to work for my position as URI Coordinator of Music Education. This might include reviewing student teacher reflections, videos of teaching, prepping for upcoming seminar lectures, and researching topics and trends in music education. I also, at times, am preparing for workshops, clinics, and other supportive meetings I take on with local music teachers, school bands, and music programs, who reach out for advice. I also am able to keep up with professional readings on music education and our musical culture in general. Finally, in addition to my conducting, playing, and clinicing, I have a few private saxophone students who I adore that I teach weekly. In addition to the pure joy of teaching them, it keeps me engaged with many of the same challenges that my URI student teachers deal with in their placements. So, in a nutshell, I spend my days only doing what I absolutely love to do: teach music, play music, support music educators, promote music education as a vital part of every single student’s education, and keep myself growing musically and intellectually — while still having the extra time for the most important joys of life, my family–my wife Janice, my daughters Kristin, Jennifer and Amanda, and of course my two insanely wonderful grandsons, Alex and William!

RISCA: Why do you make Rhode Island your home, and how did you end up here?

DN: My parents, both immigrants from Portugal, chose to make RI their home, and thus mine. The rich mixture of our Portuguese heritage with the potpourri of the entire American melting pot is easily accessible, and always visible in our state. I guess I am a bit of a “home body” having been born here, grown up here, gone to school nearby (Boston), and then with my professional life primarily here and in nearby Massachusetts. Though I’ve never called any other place home, I’ve traveled enough, and seen enough to know that RI is still where I always want to come back to – my heritage and history is here, and I love being able to relive it and be reminded of how lucky I’ve been every single day. AND, at the same time, being so relatively “close” to other incredible cultural centers, including Boston, NYC, Canada and even Western Europe makes it a great place to call my home base.

RISCA: Why do you do what you do? What inspires you, drives you, to create or enable the creation of art?

DN: I can’t imagine a world without it – and I know the power of music to transform lives for the better – the more music, the more joy and beauty in the world! I cannot thank enough my parents for mandating that I start taking lessons on my saxophone when I was 8, and “making” me practice! Neither of them were musicians in any way yet, for some reason, they just knew it was a super great thing to make their kids do! Thanks Mom and Dad!!

RISCA: What is one thing you think the art community in Rhode Island needs?

DN: We need to change the pervasive concept that so many adults, including some of our own artist/musicians and most educational leaders, have: that high level music experiences are just for those who are especially gifted and talented, or have an ingrained personal desire for it. Music is no different then math: some people figure it out more easily and quickly then others, but EVERYONE has the ability to be musically expressive in some way, and our educational institutions need to make it a priority for all students through college. This will eventually transform all adults into much more collegial, connected, expressive, sensitive, empathetic human beings whose lives will be enhanced and transformed via intimate involvement with the beauty of the arts. RI started down a great path back in the early 2000s, when we “mandated” that all students needed to demonstrate proficiency in one of the arts in order to graduate. We need to revisit that and make it authentic again for all students.

Rhode Island Cultural Anchor: Chris Dalpe

dalpe makeupChris Dalpe is the Communications and Events Manager at The Steel Yard by day (and also evenings and weekends) and super engaged in creating and supporting other creatives by night (and daytime and weekends). He’s been in Providence for five years, with no plans to ever leave.

We asked him a few questions about his life and art making in Rhode Island for our new series, Rhode Island Cultural Anchors.

RISCA: Give us a brief overview of your day yesterday- what did you do in both your personal and professional life.

CD: When it’s not event season at The Steel Yard it’s not uncommon to see me with my face buried in my phone or on my computer – the curse of the tech-obsessed disconnected millennial, you ask? I’d like to believe not. I’m usually promoting an event, designing posters/booklets/marketing materials…or posting a story about something cool that steel yard (51 of 59) - Chris Dalpehappened. Yesterday specifically? I worked with a phenomenal local illustrator, Pitch Canker, finalizing the design for our Halloween Iron Pour Posters. After work, I scooted over to Cranston to Volunteer at AIDS Care Ocean State’s first Drag Queen Bingo of the season.

RISCA: What do you love about the art community/scene in Rhode Island?

CD: Our ability to collaborate and the enthusiasm I often find in helping one another realize our visions – it’s a little city that packs a big punch.

RISCA: Why do you make Rhode Island your home, and how did you end up here?

CD: Wowza, it’s been 5 years! I finished up school in Portland, ME, got my degree in Digital Art while I was working pretty hardcore for a bunch of local non-profits. My partner at the time shipped off to Michigan to become a master jeweler and change the face of contemporary jewelry as we know it, and I decided to move down to PVD and hang with my sister.  She’s a fantastic local RI horror author who just published her first novel, ‘Parasite Life’ by Victoria Dalpe- check it out!. So here I was… I fell in love with the quirkiness, the roughness of this city… it was a weird place. In just a few years both my brother and other sister moved into town and we considered it a full Dalpe-Family take over of the city and we ain’t goin’ nowhere.

RISCA: What are you the most excited about right now in your art practice and your work as an arts and culture administrator?

calpe-2.jpgCD: AT THIS VERY MOMENT, the next big thing is The Steel Yard’s 13th Annual Halloween Iron Pour and it’s going to be spectacular. Over the past couple months I’ve watched nearly 30 volunteers fabricate larger than life dinosaur sculptures and seen our Studio Managers Ben & Michelle work with a phenomenal group of foundry artists. ALL OF THIS work leads to one spectacular, hot, and inspiring night that we play with fire (safely).

As far as Death Drop Gorgeous goes, this weekend we will be paying homage to David Lynch/ Twink Peaks by recreating the iconic discovery of Laura Palmer’s body on the shore…. but, ya know, with a DDG twist.

RISCA: What is one thing you think the art community in Rhode Island needs?

CD: Money. Lol…. duh. (Even though some of the best, most inspiring and beautiful work comes from working with whatever the hell you’ve got money or not). But really, we need space and freedom to be weird and experimental. The moment we limit ourselves and attempt to make our work align with particular expectations before it’s even had a chance to breathe I think cut ourselves short. I repeat, get weird with stuff.

Rhode Island Cultural Anchor: Veronica Mays

Veronica in braids - Conaky MaysVeronica Mays began quilting in 2004, and got serious quilt fever in 2015. She is based in Portsmouth, RI and works to preserve African-American heritage and history, as well as her family’s history, through her quilts. She received a Project Grant for Individuals last year to create quilts celebrating African American history, as well as demonstrations, classes, and public showings of these pieces.

We asked her a few questions about her life and art making in Rhode Island for our new series, Rhode Island Cultural Anchors.

RISCA: Give us a brief overview of your day yesterday – what did you do in both your personal and professional life.

VM: Yesterday I went to church, then entertained my Aunt Marsha who is visiting from California – I took her out for a lobster roll. After that, I prepared lessons for my week as an English teacher and got my clothes, lunches and thoughts together. I took a long leisurelyBlack Regiment - Conaky Mays nap, which I regretted because I woke up at four in the morning – tossing and turning for an hour. I woke up and cooked three nights worth of dinner – baked chicken wings, steak and onions, a big pot of yellow eyed-beans, oven fries, broccoli, and fried monk fish. When I was done with these obligations, I returned to the love of my art life – quilting. I prepped three quilted post cards, created a Barack Obama quilt pattern, and continued to spread material all over the living room, two bedrooms, and the dining room table.

RISCA: Why do you make Rhode Island your home, and how did you end up here?

VM: I was born and raised in Newport in 1961. I have lived in three far away places – Long Beach, California, Fairbanks, Alaska, and Naples, Italy – but I always return home.

RISCA: What are you the most excited about right now in your art practice?

VM: When it comes to quilting I am like a kid in a candy store! This year I learned several new (to me) techniques including multi-media collage, fabric painting, quilted quilted-post-cards-conaky-mays.jpgpost cards, bottles and blooms, and accidental landscapes. However, the quilted post cards have taken on a life of their own.

RISCA: What is the biggest challenge for you in your art life?

VM: The biggest challenge is having to put my supplies away so that my family can have the space to use for its original intended purpose! This creates a wrinkle in my fluidity.

RISCA:What Rhode Island artists and/or arts organizations most inspire you and why?

VM: I am inspired by URI Professor Robert Dilworth. He is an art professor, painter, and has recently become an incredible quilter. In addition, I love two organizations I am a part of: Quilter’s By the Sea and Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA). Both of these organizations expose me to artists and techniques that enhance my skills and creativity.

See more of Veronica’s work on facebook or instagram, and catch her at the Broadway Street Fair in Newport on October 6th.

Rhode Island Cultural Anchor: Eric Bennett

Eric-Bennet-1 - Eric BennettEric Bennett is a Providence based writer and Associate Professor of English at Providence College. He is this year’s fiction fellowship recipient, for his novel Make Yourself Decent.

We asked him a few questions about his life and art making in Rhode Island for our new series, Rhode Island Cultural Anchors.

 

RISCA: Give us a brief overview of your day yesterday – what did you do in both your personal and professional life.

EB: After dinner I polished a 250-word endorsement of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man for the student newspaper at Providence College; googled clips of the Chinese internet celebrity HoneyCC; read about Meitu apps that transform Shanghai selfies into universal fantasies of perfection and drive the booming business in plastic surgery in Chengdu; kept trying to record a MIDI part for “Broke My Heart on You” for the forthcoming Hopper album, Hopperesque; and typed up some notes on William F. Buckley’s God and Man at Yale.

RISCA: What Rhode Island artist or arts organization most inspires you?

EB: The painter Todd Ingham, now in exile in Oregon City, was an undervalued civic marvel throughout the years he roved the streets sorting plastic, gluing memory boards, painting the beauty in defunct bridges and saggy wires, and postulating how the divine delight of numbers, coursing invisibly all around us, structured reality, including the street plan of Elmwood.

RISCA: What do you love about the art community/scene in Rhode Island?

EB: On Monday and Thursday nights you can walk from your apartment in the West End big enough lieto band practice at the Wurks. On Tuesday night you can walk an even shorter distance to your writing group, comprised of brilliant, serious writers, meeting just off Dexter Field. On Wednesday night you can drive down to Cranston and drink a beer with Andy Davis at subModern Studios as he runs punk vocals through a wurlitzer and humors your affection for Bob Seger’s “Fire Lake.” On Friday, at Ada Books (also a short walk) you can browse comics drawn by locals, then head over to an opening at RISD or a play at The Players on Benefit Street. On Saturday afternoon you can chat with Mike Samos at Empire Guitar about what the band Geraldine’s up to. Do I sound like a promotional magazine? Who cares? This place is the best!

RISCA: What is one thing you think the art community in Rhode Island needs?

EB: Authentic German rouladen.

You can read more about Eric at ericbennett.org, and catch him at Writers Night during the Fellowship Exhibition at the Warwick Center for the Arts in March 2019!

New Exhibition, Block Island Airport Gallery

Kate Wilson at Block IslandThe Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) is pleased to present works by artist Kate Wilson on exhibit through September 18, 2018 at the Block Island Airport Gallery. The Block Island Airport Gallery presents the work of contemporary Rhode Island artists in quarterly exhibitions.

Kate Wilson is a fine artist who blends photography and graphic design to transform reality by elevating ordinary objects into fine art on a grand scale. Each artwork has a love note or positive word, hidden within to ignite wonder & curiosity.

Graduating from Skidmore with a BS in Education & Liberal Studies, studio art concentration, Wilson has taught both elementary school and studio art. She furthered her studies in the RISD CE graphic design program, and taught herself the art and craft of photography.  She has run her own graphic design and photography business before devoting herself full-time to fine art. Exhibiting widely throughout the New England region, Kate is represented by Candita Clayton Gallery in Pawtucket and Atelier Newport.

Exhibitors for the Block Island Airport Gallery were selected by juror Lisa Robb, Block Island’s public schools arts educator.

The Block Island Airport Gallery, a partnership between the Rhode Island Council on the Arts and the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, promotes outstanding work by artists living and working in Rhode Island.  The gallery will present art to an ever-changing audience of local, national and international travelers.

About RISCA: The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts is a state agency supported by appropriations from the Rhode Island General Assembly and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. RISCA provides grants, technical assistance and staff support to arts organizations and artists, schools, community centers, social service organizations and local governments to bring the arts into the lives of Rhode Islanders.

About RIAC:

The Rhode Island Airport Corporation operates T.F. Green Airport, the Block Island Airport and four other general aviation airports in Rhode Island. A long-time supporter of public art in Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Airport Corporation has worked with the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts on a number ofpublic art commissions.

 

“The Future History Of Public Art” Symposium Proceedings Now Available Online

The Future History of Public Art
WESTAF’s 17th Cultural Policy Symposium
Proceedings Now Available!
We are pleased to announce that the proceedings from WESTAF’s 17th cultural policy symposium,The Future History of Public Art, are now available online. This gathering of public art practitioners and allied professionals convened November 5-7 in Honolulu, Hawai’i and was organized by WESTAF in collaboration with Forecast Public Art [r20.rs6.net] and the Hawai’i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts [r20.rs6.net].
The symposium provided a significant platform for high-level discourse to explore existing challenges alongside emerging strategies for the successful growth of the field. Symposium attendees traveled from six countries to take part in the convening: New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, and the United States.
This convening was organized as a way to reflect on the challenges public art practitioners face and propose ways in which the field can develop to provide a stronger infrastructure in support of the advancement of the field as a whole. To view the proceedings online or to request a print version, please click on the links below.

Request a print copy.

(If you have already requested a print copy, it will be delivered in August 2018 to the address provided).

Bring Your Own Improv Celebrates 10th Anniversary

BYOIBring Your Own Improv (BYOI), an interactive comedy show for all ages, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary with a special event on Friday, August 3 at the Warwick Center for the Arts. The anniversary festivities will include appearances from previous BYOI cast members, special games, and cake. The night includes a family-friendly show, open to all ages, at 7:00pm and a late night show at 9:00pm.

Bring Your Own Improv first began in August of 2008, at a now-closed venue on Thayer Street in Providence. Improv Jones graciously hosted BYOI at their stage on Empire Street in Providence until the show found their home at the Warwick Center for the Arts in 2011.

“Warwick Center for the Arts has been the home of BYOI for the past 7 years. As an organization, we bring art and culture—in all its facets—to the public; and BYOI is one great way in which we’re able to engage the broader community at the Center,” said Taylor Terreri, Warwick Center for the Arts Director. “Our on-going partnership with BYOI allows us to be part of a much-loved community institution and we’re excited to see what’s next for BYOI.”

While most improv shows encourage audience participation when cast members solicit the crowd for suggestions, BYOI is unique in that audience members are also welcome on stage to play along with each game.

BYOI also runs a Youth Collective—a Friday evening program for teens (ages 13 to 18) that teaches improv comedy as well as self-confidence and social emotional skills. Each Youth Collective session includes one month of lessons and one month of performing on stage. Many youth involved in the Collective have taken multiple sessions because they have developed friendships with their peers and continue to improve their skills.

“I never would have found improv if it weren’t for BYOI, and improv is my passion,” said Youth Collective member Carolyn Morey. “It doesn’t matter how good at improv you are, it’s fun no matter what.”

Finally, BYOI regularly performs in the community for a variety of charities and non-profit organizations. Every month, the cast visits The Izzy Family Room—a family room on the pediatric oncology floor at Hasbro Children’s Hospital.

“Families, patients and staff look forward to the night when every can laugh, which reduces distressing emotions, helps families recharge and most importantly, draws people together, removing the isolation so many families feel when their children is battling a serious life threatening illness,” said Erin Scott, Executive Director of the Izzy Foundation. “We are so grateful to BYOI for helping The Izzy Foundation provide programs that help families live, love, laugh and play while in the hospital.

Bring Your Own Improv’s shows are held every Friday evening at 7:00pm (family-friendly show) and a late night show at 9:00pm. Tickets to each show are $8 for adults and $5 for Seniors, Students, Military, and Children Under 12. The cast is available for hire for corporate team building, birthday and holiday parties, school events, private events and fundraisers. In addition to the Youth Collective Program, BYOI also offers adult improv workshops throughout the year. For more information, or to purchase tickets, please visit www.bringyourownimprov.com