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.
Project Grants for Individuals
Artist: Keith Munslow
Project: Keith Munslow curates, produces, directs, and performs in the Empire Revue, a monthly variety show. This show provides work and a performance showcase for 9-12 comedic actors/writers every month, as well as a performance showcase for 4-6 guest acts of many performance varieties. His focus is on local performers and often local topics. It has been going on at AS220’s mainstage for over 11 years.
Each month the show revolves around a different theme, decided upon by me with the input of the Sparkling Beatniks. These themes are designed to create a central focus for the writing of each show; I will be asking the group to brainstorm ideas on the basis of this theme, and to deeply explore the different interpretations of that theme, in order to achieve a true variety of material. In addition, I focus on pushing each writer/performer to explore different modes of comedic expression, to create a variety not only in topics but also in their presentation. Each show may include several traditional sketches (several characters acting and speaking), but I will also strive to inspire the group to create pieces based more in movement, song, puppetry, or other presentations.
The outcome of this project is that, each month, a high quality show will be presented at an affordable price for audience members. It provides a showcase for the writing and performance skills of each of the Beatniks, as well as a showcase for the local guest acts. It is my intention to provide a stipend to all performers (actors, guest acts, and house band), as well, in appreciation for the time and energy they will be devoting to ensuring the ongoing quality of the show, and to acknowledge the value of their work and creativity.
Artist Bio: Keith is an award-winning performer who combines music, storytelling, comedy, visual art, and improvisation. He began the Empire Revue in 2006 after talking with the founding Artistic Director, Burt Crenca, about ways that he could become more involved with the organization. Burt identified a cabaret-style variety show as programming that would benefit the community, and Keith took that suggestion and ran with it. As of this writing, the Revue has produced 128 shows since its inception; many times over the years, the show has been sold out as its popularity has grown.
In addition to the Revue, Keith performs hundreds of shows annually, for children and adults at festivals, concerts, schools and libraries throughout New England and beyond. His music for children has earned him three Parents Choice Awards, an American Library Association Notable Recordings Award, and a NAPPA Award, and can be heard on Sirius XM Kidsplace Live. He is a founding member of The Providence Improv Guild, for whom he currently teaches musical improv, and leads the house musical improv team. He also performs with the New Orleans-flavored blues band, Superchief Trio, and in a duo show with musician/storyteller Bill Harley. He recently released “Big Buncha Buddies,” his eighth album of music for children and families, with fellow songwriter Bridget Brewer. Keith has composed music for Perishable Theatre, Manton Avenue Project, and Elemental Theatre, and created an original score and libretto for an adaptation of Lysistrada at Providence College. A dedicated teaching artist, he currently teaches theatre arts at Moses Brown School, and is the Artist-In-Residence at Paul Cuffee School.
Teaching Artist Roster
Artist: Mandy Howe
Discipline: Visual Art
Artist Bio: Mandy Howe is an artist and art teacher from Rhode Island. Her paintings reflect her connection to the natural world and her concerns for the environment. She uses both natural and man made objects to describe the landscapes and shorelines of Aquidneck Island, exploring the influence of the environment on the art of different cultures.
Students will explore their own environment and make art about where they live. Art projects will be inspired by Navajo sand art, Tlingit button blankets, Kente cloth patterns and El Anatsui sculptures; as well as Australian Aborigine song lines, Marshall Island stick maps and navigational charts of local waters. The curriculum is designed to meet the needs of any age and can be integrated with any subject: Social Studies, World Cultures, Literacy, Natural History, Science, etc. Visiting artists and field trips will be included. Collaborations will generate a culminating project such as scrapbooks, an exhibition, a mural or a site-specific installation.