Meet Alice Gebhart and DownCity Design

Twice a year, RISCA awards grants in a number of categories. Over the next 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 ProcessProject Grants for Individuals
Artist: Alice Benvie Gebhart
Project: Images and Memories: Creating and Healing with Glass will help people effected by grief memorialize their loss by creating a personal glass panel with layers of photography, symbolism, and reflections.
Led by artist Alice Benvie Gebhart and Art Therapist Rachel Busch, each participant will design and create a personal glass panel memorializing a lost loved one. The group will learn and create together, while supporting each other as they grieve the loss and cherish memories. Following the workshops, a gathering of participants, family, friends, and community will be planned to view the glass memorial pieces completed during each workshop. These pieces, in conjunction with the work created by primary artist and teacher, Alice Benvie Gebhart, will be exhibited at Heritage Art Gallery and Glass Studio in East Greenwich, RI as well as Friends Way in Warwick, RI. The panelists responded to using art as a tool in the grieving process, and appreciated the inclusion of an art therapist and the creation of connections between people dealing with a loss.
Artist Bio: Alice Benvie Gebhart is a professional glass artist and teacher at Heritage Alice Pic FinalGallery in East Greenwich, RI. Gebhart is a life certified art educator and has worked in the arts education field for over 30 years.  As an art educator at Cranston High School East, she was awarded an Arts in Education grant from RISCA in 1997 and was awarded Art Educator of the Year in 1999. She is currently on the RISCA roster of artist/teachers.
Alice Benvie-Gebhart earned her bachelor and master’s degrees in art education with concentrations in painting and printmaking. She worked as a teacher and painter for many years before discovering kiln-fired glass. She now works exclusively as a full time professional fused glass artist. Gebhart is represented by galleries in Chicago, Ill, Sante Fe, NM, and Dallas, Tx. She teaches her glass techniques in studios around the country as well as her own studio in East Greenwich.

20170811_110505Project Grants in Education
Applicant Organization: DownCity Design
Project Coordinator: Melita Morales
Participating Artists: Max Dehne, Nakeia Medcalf, Simcha Davis, Jeremy Bass, Anthony Azanon, Yasmine , Sohum Chokshi
Project: The DownCity Design Summer Design Studio, now in its fifth year, offers a design-based, STEAM-intensive summer arts learning experience for 44 Rhode Island high school students. In this unique collaborative summer program, DCD Design Educators and staff work together with Providence Public School teachers to create and deliver a six-week experience that gets students excited about design, provides concrete math and literacy skills to prevent summer learning loss, and empowers youth to make an impact on their community. Students explore design careers and design and build two new amenities for public spaces or community groups. This year, the team of young designers created a 20170803_102012shaded shed for Southside Community Land Trust’s Somerset Hayward Youth Farm, and a new nautical-inspired play structure for the Greater Providence YMCA Mount Hope Child Care Center.
About the Organization: D​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ownCity Design is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the people of Rhode Island design solutions for their communities. We help youth become change-makers by inviting them to design and build structures that respond creatively to challenges and opportunities. Our free youth programs engage and empower students, while making the core cities of RI better places to live, work, and learn.

Meet Newport Gallery Organization and Richard Goulis & Sheryl Kopel

Twice a year, RISCA awards grants in a number of categories. Over the next few months, we will be profiling the amazing artists and organizations that received grants at our April 1, 2017 deadline, two at a time.

pic 1- Jonathan McPhillips

Jonathan McPhillips demonstrating at Spring Bull Gallery

Arts Access Grants
Applicant Organization: Newport Gallery Organization
Project: Do you love learning about the art and culture of Newport? Join us for Newport Gallery Night! On the second Thursday of every month February-December from 5pm-8pm, you can explore Newport’s vibrant arts scene which includes 25 participating galleries, museums and cultural institutions. During the warmer months you could also get a free walking tour hosted by an artist/guide participant of Newport Gallery Organization. These nighttime walking tours are at 5:00 pm, 6:00 pm, and 7:00 pm, showcasing three different arts neighborhoods in Newport. Not only will you get to see the beautiful artwork featured in these galleries, but Gallery Night also includes gallery talks, artist demonstrations, opening receptions and other special events throughout the year. During many Newport Gallery Nights, the Newport Art Museum hosts Art After Dark events. Bailey Art Gallery, Spring Bull Gallery and DeBlois Gallery

William Vareika Fine Arts

William Vareika Fine Arts

host informal receptions and artist demonstrations with their featured artists as well.

About the Organization: The mission of the Newport Gallery Organization is to make the art community and the fine arts more accessible and visible to both area residents and out-of-town visitors. Our goals are simple: we want to heighten awareness and have the general public come and view art, to become more educated about the history of art, to become more aware that art is currently being created, and aware that there are nationally recognized and emerging artists working in their midst.

Sheryl & RichardProject Grants to Individuals
Artist: Richard Goulis and Sheryl Kopel
Project: Unjuried/Uncensored: Making AS220 is a feature-length documentary that will chart the history of Providence-based art space AS220, highlight its impact on individuals within and beyond RI, and explore its role in rejuvenating downtown Providence. The project is currently in pre-production; RISCA funds will support archival research, public outreach, preliminary interviews and storyboard planning.
The documentary will chart the history of AS220, with emphasis on the organization as an example of successful creative placemaking. The fruition of such efforts represents the successful navigation of myriad challenges, including the need to garner support from community leaders, secure and maintain funding, meet zoning and safety requirements, and curb tides of gentrification. Recognition of AS220’s success reached a new pitch in 2015, with a huge 30th anniversary celebration, national recognition of the youth program, instant success of the Practice//Practice consulting program, and the conferring of 2 honorary doctorates and a White House nod to founder Umberto Crenca. Clearly the time is ripe to document the extraordinary arc of AS220 and to contemplate its future. The documentary will explore the factors that have contributed to its success and longevity as well as the challenges, missteps, and lessons learned.  It will also consider the place AS220 occupies in the state’s cultural heritage.
They will be holding an event at the downtown Providence Public Library on September 13th, learn about the project, see a teaser, and hear from librarians about archiving all the AS220 materials! For more information, click here.
Artist Bio:
Richard Goulis is a video artist, filmmaker, performer and visual artist. He came to production3Providence in 1980 to attend the Rhode Island School of Design. During his studies in the Film/Animation/Video department he discovered the regional artistic community during his frequent forays into the mysterious city and his development of various artistic projects outside of RISD. His earliest performance art pieces have become part of the lexicon within and beyond the RI and RISD communities.  He continues to explore work in performance and was the proud recipient of the 2016 RISCA Merit Fellowship for New Genres.  His performance work has been seen at festivals around the world, and his video pieces are in the collection of The Museum of Art, RISD, Corning Museum of Glass, and many private collections.

A Providence native, Sheryl Kopel has worked since 1997 as a research project director at RI Hospital and is a Research Associate at Brown Medical School, during which time she has overseen the implementation of nearly two dozen federally funded scientific research studies. Since 2014 Ms. Kopel has been applying her professional skills and passion for the arts to promoting and producing the work of RI artists.

Meet Nicole Copobianco and Seven Hills!

Twice a year, RISCA awards grants in a number of categories. Over the next few months, we will be profiling the amazing artists and organizations that received grants at our April 1, 2017 deadline, two at a time.

bio picTeaching Artist Roster
Artist: Nicole Copobianco
Discipline: Photographer
Artist Bio: Nicole Capobianco is a published photographer, designer, theorist, and mixed media artist who was born and raised in Rhode Island. She attended the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY where she received her Bachelor of the Fine Arts in Photography with a minor in Art History.
She created many works of art and writing in her time in academia, attending cultural events and taking inspiration from public spaces. After completing her degree on the President’s List, Nicole continued to build her aesthetic brand and fine art portfolio, collaborating with professionals in New York and New England.

IVAP pic this oneArts in Healthcare
Applicant Organization: Seven Hills Rhode Island
Project Coordinator: Jonathan D’Amico, Child and Family Services Treatment Coordinator
Participating Artists: Jordan Butterfield, Trinity Rep; Mary Ann Mayer, Festival Ballet; John Norgian, pianist
Project: Under the supervision of Jonathan D’Amico, children and adults supported by SHRI will participate in two, 15-week Performing and Visual Arts Programs in collaboration with Trinity Rep, Festival Ballet Providence, and Bishop Hendricken High School in Warwick, RI. Taught by a teaching artist from Trinity Rep, children and adults will be engaged in improvisational activities focusing on social interaction and personal expression, culminating in the performance of two stage performances including one musical and one commissioned play, written by a Rhode Island playwright. Children and adults are accompanied by direct support workers throughout the various program activities including rehearsals and performances.
Also under the supervision of Jonathan D’Amico, along with the support of several self advocating adult participants and agency clinical professionals, children and adultsart group pic participate in a weekly art session at Seven Hills RI.  “Art Group” is attended by children and adults supported by the agency, along with their respective support workers and family members.  It offers a friendly, supportive, inclusive, and safe environment for staff to work on behavioral goals with their assigned participants while engaging in creative projects.”
About the Organization: Seven Hills Rhode Island is a health and human services organization that supports children and adults with developmental disabilities. The mission of Seven Hills Rhode Island is to promote and encourage the empowerment of people with significant challenges so that each may pursue their highest possible degree of personal well-being and independence.

Meet Connecting for Children and Families and Michelle Kaminsky

Twice a year, RISCA awards grants in a number of categories. Over the next few months, we will be profiling the amazing artists and organizations that received grants at our April 1, 2017 deadline, two at a time.

ccf1.pngProject Grants in Education
Applicant Organization: Connecting for Children and Families
Project Coordinator: Charlotte Bourdreau
Participating Artists: Brittni Laquidara of Fusionworks Dance Company, Daddy Long Legs, Kate Hanson of The Gamm Theater, Sharon Cole-Cox, Jamie Beaudry, Beth Starring, Vicenta Partridge
Project: Woonsocket High School Afterschool Arts, taught by RISCA roster artists and other qualified instructors, will increase access to high-quality, curriculum-based arts learning, open new possibilities, and improve related fine arts proficiencies for up to 100 at-risk students in the 2017-2018 academic year.
CCF is in its eighth year of operating the 21st CCLC Initiative at WHS; we continue to make significant contributions to the overall academic and social success of WHS students.
CCF’s WHS afterschool arts programming consists of three artistic disciplines: dance, theater arts, and visual arts/design. All programming is aligned with the RIDE Grade Span Expectations in the respective disciplines. All programs will provide between 16 toCCF2 48 hours of instruction depending on the program, during three eight week sessions throughout the school year. The programs provided will be Modern Dance, Breakdancing/Urban Dance, Theater, Art Club, Jewelry Making and Knitting, Fashion Design, Graphic Design and Videography.
About the Organization: ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Established in 1995 with funding from the Rhode Island Foundation, Connecting for Children and Families (CCF) is a community-based, non-profit organization located in Woonsocket, one of Rhode Island’s core urban cities. Our mission, to transform the lives of Woonsocket children through high quality educational opportunities and family support, is accomplished through strong community partnerships and advocacy.

Michelle KaminskyFolk Arts Apprenticeship
Project: New England Fiddling
Master: Michelle Kaminsky
Apprentice: Meveline Sans-souci
Artist Bio: Michelle Kaminsky, having played fiddle since childhood, is a spirited performer and patient teacher. Since her teens, she has been fascinated by a variety of American folk music & dance traditions including New England, Cajun, French Canadian, and Appalachian. She has been teaching music for over thirty years, She plays fiddle with contra dance bands: French Roast and Smurf Truck,; and Cajun bands: Magnolia, The Cajun Hobos, and The Saints. Michelle is one of the fiddlers-in-residence at the Rhode Island Fiddle Project, as well as teaching private students in other communities. She is an active member of the RISCA teaching artist roster, and a Master Artist, and has had been a Master/Apprenticeship teacher 9 times, as well as doing artist-in residences, and teacher training workshops. Michelle has directed and taught at the Cajun Music Camp at the Rhythm and Roots Festival for the last twelve years. During the early part of the day, Michelle teaches early-child music at preschools.

Meet Andrew Grover and Friends of the Rhody Center

Twice a year, RISCA awards grants in a number of categories. Over the next few months, we will be profiling the amazing artists and organizations that received grants at our April 1, 2017 deadline, two at a time.

andrew-pic.jpgProject Grants for Individuals
Artist: Andrew Grover
Project: Andrew Grover plans to construct LEGO models of Aldrich and Gorton Junior High Schools (recently closed Warwick schools) to call attention to the often overlooked aesthetic and cultural value of Rhode Island’s historic school buildings as shared sites of community memory and identity.  These models will be on display at public libraries in Rhode Island in 2018. Rhode Island’s old public schools are remarkablyaldrich.jpg beautiful, but unlike many of the state’s other architectural gems such as the Newport mansions, they were not built for or by the important and wealthy.  They were built and used by blue-collar citizens.
Artist Bio: Andrew Grover is a multi-generation Rhode Islander who attended Cranston Public Schools and has been a public school teacher for 16 years.  He lives with his partner, Sam, in Warwick.

steel pan kids june 2016Arts Access Grants
Applicant Organization: Friends of the Rhody Center, Inc.
Project: Friends of the Rhody Center will continue to offer community steel pan ensembles for both youth and adults, and a West African drumming ensemble for ages 13 and up. The ensembles will rehearse weekly, and we will seek out performance opportunities in the community. Rehearsals will be free for youth, and will be offered on a sliding scale donation structure for adults. Adult donations will help cover the costs of the kids’ instruction. We are offering two steel pan ensembles and on West African ensemble. We offer a steel pan ensemble for youth aged 9-16, as well as an adult ensemble.
The benefits to playing music as a group are of course well-documented. Unfortunately, steel pan kids early 2017many schools in Rhode Island have had to reduce or even eliminate their music budgets. We wish to provide a positive after school activity that enriches students’ lives and gives them a musical outlet, while also teaching about the history and culture of Trinidad and Tobago/the Caribbean, and Mali/West Africa.
About the Organization: The mission of the Friends of Rhody Center is to promote music and dance by providing student scholarships and artist stipends and engaging in community outreach.

Meet The Autism Project and Rose Weaver

Twice a year, RISCA awards grants in a number of categories. Over the next 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 in Healthcare
Applicant Organization: The Autism Project
Project Coordinator: Caren Skurka, Program Coordinator,
Participating Artists: Kristi Rood and Crystal King, from The Rode Island Philharmonic Music School


RI Philharmonic music therapists bring drumming to The Autism Project’s Camp WANNAGOAGAIN! each summer

Project: In Harmony uses music and music education as a medium to promote receptive and expressive communication, understanding of emotions, body regulation, and social interactions of children and teens with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or related social communication challenges. This social skills group is co-facilitated by The Autism Project and The Rhode Island Philharmonic School. In Harmony fills a critical gap and provides essential therapies and social skill-building time to participants in a safe, structured, and supportive environment.
About the Organization: The Autism Project (TAP) is a unique collaboration of parents, professionals and community members who provide quality support, training, and programming – accessible to all – for children and youth with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, their families, and those who work with them. TAP’s vision is a world where individuals with an ASD are valued, actively participating members of their communities.

rose 2Project Grants for Individuals
Artist: Rose Weaver
Project: Rose Weaver, Writer/Actor/Singer plans to present one public 60 minute performance and one lecture/demo (several monologues) with talkback of Menopause Mama, a one-woman show about body changes in girls, women and men. Menopause Mama: Who Knew It Had Something To Do With Me, A Solo Play with Music will take place during September/October, Menopause Awareness Month and World Menopause Day. Menopause Mama is a compelling, cutting edge and often hilarious interdisciplinary solo performance that features characters who depict puberty, menopause & andropause. Based on four main female archetypes of Maiden/Virgin, Mother, Wild Woman and Crone/Wise Woman, as well as the virile male stereotype. Rose Weaver’s characters, like herself, explore their individual aging struggles as they tire of concealing the emotional disequilibrium changing hormones dictate. The play uses monologues, song, and rap to dramatize public opinion from the time of Aristotle to the present day. You can check out a clip of the show here.
Artist Bio: Rose (Ella) Weaver, MFA Brown University 2000 (her 50th birthday gift torose performance shot herself), Wheaton College 1973, received an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from Marymount Manhattan College 2002 and also from Providence College in 2016. Among her other awards and honors, Rose won the 2000 Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts, is winner of the 2017 RISCA Fellowship in Playwriting/Screenwriting for her Solo Play, Menopause Mama, and is a 2017 YWCA Woman of Achievement Award winner. Ms. Weaver, one of six children born into a poor sharecropping family in rural Georgia, has called Rhode Island home since arriving in Providence in 1968. She worked with Trinity Rep for a total of 22 seasons, including starring in the hit Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grille. She produced and hosted over 350 public affairs talk shows with WJAR-NBC-TV10. The station received five New England Emmy nominations as a result of her original script and production called Another Christmas Miracle, including an Emmy Nomination for her acting. Commuting between Hollywood and Rhode Island, film and TV roles included The Brotherhood, In the Heat of the Night, The Young & the Restless, The Accused, and Poetic Justice. Publications of dramatic writings include Chips on My Shoulder and Momma’s Little Helper in Monologues for Women by Women, Edited by Tori Haring-Smith, Heinemann; Well Water Blues, Weaver in NuMuse: An Anthology of Plays from Brown University, Aishah Rahman, Editor; and Skips in the Record, a play about Alzheimer’s Disease & memory. Rose taught at Wheaton College, RI College, and Moses Brown School.

Meet Adam Anderson and Davisville Middle School!

Twice a year, RISCA awards grants in a number of categories. Over the next few months, we will be profiling the amazing artists and organizations that received grants at our April 1, 2017 deadline, two at a time.

adam & friend

Project Grants for Individuals
Artist: Adam E. Anderson
Project: Ten Thousand Suns is a summer-long botanical performance, founded in 2016, in which over 10,000 sunflower seeds are planted and nurtured over the course of the summer months. It is located on land that, until recently, sat under a highway with high compaction, low-organic material, and embedded with toxicity. A portion of the performance is simply the presence of those who care for the field to develop a garden/park for everyone to enjoy and transform the site into a bio-diverse and artfully constructed wildlife habitat. The panelists really responded to the description of how people engage with the space and the work, and how this project activates a space in an area that doesn’t get a lot of attention.
Artist Bio: Adam E. Anderson is a registered landscape architect and Founder/Director of sunflowers & chairDesign Under Sky.  Projects vary in a range of scales that include but are not excluded to a hospital healing gardens, residential gardens, masterplanning, campus plazas, rooftop gardens, and urban parks, as well as commissioned public art works.
He received his Masters in Landscape Architecture (MLA II) from the Rhode Island School of Design where he was an Olmsted Scholar and Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from The Ohio State University. He has taught at RISD since 2014 and has been a visiting critic at Harvard Graduate School of Design, The Ohio State University, Northeastern University, and the Boston Architectural College. You can see more of his work at

File_002Project Grants in Education
Applicant Organization: Davisville Middle School
Lead Teacher: Sandra Makielski
Participating Artists: Beth Berry, Isa Coulibaly, Jiyoung Chung, Charles Kalajian, Stuart Paton, Jayshree Rajamani
Project: Ninety seventh grade students from DMS will enhance their understanding of Asian and African cultures by “travelling” down the Silk Road in 4-D:  Dance, Drama, Drumming, and Design.  Students will create a 10 stall Silk Road Market where community members will barter with canned goods turning the entire event into a service learning project.
Students will spend six months learning about the geography of Asia and Africa through hands-on activities.  In each region the students “visit” and study, they will learn a skill or technique unique to that region and be exposed to an art form from highly trained guest artists.  In turn, students will practice the art forms (puppetry, dance, drumming, joomchi) and they will create authentic items to trade during their Silk Road Market to be hosted in June.  Students will make enough items for 10 different tents to trade with approximately 300 guests.
The DMS Silk Road Market will be comprised of 4 parts located in the courtyard of File_003Davisville Middle School:  shopping for authentic handcrafted artifacts made by seventh-graders, traditional stories told through shadow puppets, dancing and drumming as a way for the seventh grade students to share their experiences and new-found knowledge of the Silk Road.  Over 200 students and over 100 community members will come together to celebrate, learn, and experience cultures from Asia and Africa.
About the School: ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Davisville Middle School is committed to providing our students with pathways for academic and personal success through challenging and diverse educational opportunities.