RITAC 6x6: "The Power of Play: Youth Development & Educational Advancement"

 6x6 "The Power of Play" panelists pose for a group photo after their 6-minute presentations about the value of play in their creative process and work with youth in Ashamu Dance Theater at Brown University. From left to right: Anjel Newmann, Aneudy Alba, Pierre Arreola, Matthew Garza, Michele Baer, and Javier Nunez.

6x6 "The Power of Play" panelists pose for a group photo after their 6-minute presentations about the value of play in their creative process and work with youth in Ashamu Dance Theater at Brown University. From left to right: Anjel Newmann, Aneudy Alba, Pierre Arreola, Matthew Garza, Michele Baer, and Javier Nunez.

Brown University's Department of Theatre Arts & Performing Arts Studies kicked off RITAC's first 6x6 of 2018, "The Power of Play: Youth Development & Educational Advancement". Speakers were Anjel Newmann (Director of AS220 Youth in Providence), Aneudy Alba (Youth Engagement Associate of New Urban Arts), Pierre Arreola (Executive Director of the GR818ERS), Matthew Garza (Dance Artist in Residence at Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts), Michele Baer (New York Community Trust), and Javier Nunez (Teaching Artist for Providence CityArts).  Click here to read The Providence Journal's review of this event. Thanks to Brown U and RISCA for bringing New Urban Arts, AS220 Youth, Providence CityArts, and TAPA, together with Brown alumni who are doing youth development work in the arts! #RITAC

Professional Development at Providence CityArts For Youth

 Oliver "Syde-Sho" Arias of Pushed Learning & Media demonstrates dance moves to emerging teaching artists in an interactive professional development workshop at CityArts. 

Oliver "Syde-Sho" Arias of Pushed Learning & Media demonstrates dance moves to emerging teaching artists in an interactive professional development workshop at CityArts. 

We had a great start to our professional development series in 2017 with guest speakers Taliq Tillman (co-founder of Diversity Talks) and Pushed Learning & Media.  Tillman's workshop, "When Students Lead the Conversations" guided teaching artists and educators through discussions relating to student-voice, race, and vulnerability. Pushed Learning & Media's interactive performance grounded in hip hop music and dance jump-started conversations on modern civil rights and social justice. Thank you to those who attended. Your feedback is extremely valuable in the planning of future workshops! Make sure you stay updated on upcoming professional development opportunities by subscribing to the RITAC newsletter!

 Workshop participants during a break-out session in Taliq Tillman's "When Students Lead the Conversations" professional development workshop at CityArts. 

Workshop participants during a break-out session in Taliq Tillman's "When Students Lead the Conversations" professional development workshop at CityArts. 

Arts & Health Update


The statewide Arts and Health initiative grew directly from the strategic planning for the RI Teaching Artists Center.  Teaching artists overwhelmingly supported the focus of RITAC on  both education and health and healing.  For over a year, RITAC has been involved with the RI State Council on the Arts, the RI Department of Health, and the Brown University School of Public Health on examining how the arts and artists have an impact in the healthcare sector nationally, and increasing that impact in Rhode Island.  The research model used was based on the National Endowment for the Arts Community-Engaged Research in Arts and Health.  

One of the project outcomes will be an online “evidence map”, looking at  research that already exists.  Over 6000 research studies were analyzed for potential inclusion in the map.  Another outcome of the Arts and Health project will be a state plan for Arts and Health, with recommendations in the areas of Policy, Practice, and Research.  The state plan is currently being drafted with the assistance of a 30-member advisory group of both arts and healthcare practitioners who have been instrumental to the planning process, and is expected to be completed by the end of February 2018.

If you are interested in giving feedback on the draft plan, contact Sherilyn Brown at Sherilyn.brown@arts.ri.gov

State Arts Council Announces New Education Director

Maggie Anderson.jpg

Providence, RI – The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) announced on December 12, 2017 the appointment of Maggie Anderson as its new Education Director. Anderson, an experienced educator and resident of Providence, will manage the Arts Council's education-based programs and services, with a particular emphasis on working with state and community based partners to ensure that all kids have access to arts education in their schools and communities. She will replace Sherilyn Brown, who will retire from RISCA after thirty-one years of service to the Rhode Island arts and education community.

In announcing the appointment, Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, said, "We are delighted to have someone with Maggie’s skill and dedication to artists and arts education to lead this important effort." He went on to say that, "the State Arts Council is committed to ensuring that all Rhode Islanders have access to quality arts education, wherever they might live. Maggie has the background and experience to help us in this effort."

Anderson is scheduled to begin her new position on January 22nd, 2018.

We’re On the Move!


Providence CityArts for Youth serves as new RITAC Managing Partner

The administrative office for RITAC is now located at Providence ¡CityArts! for Youth, and our new part-time administrator is teaching artist, Michelle Nugent.  Many of you knew Arik Beatty from the Gamm Theatre who was our administrator as RITAC went through its original planning and early implementation years. He is now in Chicago, and we are pleased to welcome Michelle. Michelle is an interdisciplinary Core Teaching Artist at Providence CityArts. She received her BFA in Fine Arts from The College of New Jersey in 2009 and her MFA in Community Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in 2013.  She is passionate about developing social justice based arts programming and has been creating community art projects with youth at CityArts and The RISD Museum, exploring themes in cultural identity, self-love, and community building.

Many thanks to the Gamm Theatre as our original managing partner, and we thank Susie, Kate and Oliver who stepped in last to help last year when Arik left for life in the Midwest.   

As RITAC continues to evolve, we are moving to a network structure. The goal of the new network structure is to support the continued growth of the RI teaching artist field by connecting Teaching Artist Hiring Organizations (TAHO).  (We learned this term from our colleagues at the Teaching Artist Guild in California.)  This will allow arts organizations who carry out a significant part of their mission through teaching artists to share professional development opportunities and information with each other and the larger community in a more structured way.  We will be able to co-market opportunities for teaching artists statewide through the RITAC newsletter and each organization’s own communications. RITAC will be piloting this new network structure from November 2017-August 2018.  

Moving to CityArts will allow RITAC to offer a wide array of professional development opportunities in conjunction with CityArts. See RITAC events page for more details!

JOIN US, SEPTEMBER 16 National Core Arts Standards and You!

A great opportunity for Teaching Artists to learn how to design your programs based on the National Core Arts Standards (NCAS).  Spend a morning with arts education colleagues from around the state learning about the practical applications of the National Core Arts Standards (NCAS). The RI Department of Education has officially endorsed the NCAS as Rhode Island's new arts standards. NCAS replaces the current Rhode Island Fine Arts Grade Span Expectations. Local education agencies should begin now to align curriculum to these standards and plan to fully implement NCAS aligned curriculum beginning in the 2019-2020 school year. 


Event sponsored by the RI Arts Learning Network. Free, but REGISTRATION REQUIRED.
8:30 Check in and refreshments
9:00 Introductory remarks, Carol Blanchette, Chief for Teaching and Learning, RI Department of Education
9:30 Participatory Workshops by arts discipline (facilitated by the RI professional arts educator associations)
11:30 Panel discussion w Q and A
Special guest panelists:
Dennis Inhulsen, Chief Learning Officer, National Art Education Association
David Neves, Eastern Division Past President, National Association for Music Education
Susan McGreevy Nichols, CEO, National Dance Education Organization


3rd Annual Healing Arts Conference at Butler Hospital September 29, 2017

This one-day conference focuses on applying arts interventions to promote well-being within specific populations andour communities.

Learn specific arts-based protocols to address therapeutic needs through break-out sessions.

Explore meaningful interventions to empower clients through self-expression.

Acquire real-life skills that can be implemented immediately in your work setting.

Continuing Education Credits offered for Nursing, LMHC and Social Work. All participants will receive attendance
certificates for 5.5 contact hours.

Breakfast and lunch are included.

RISCA in a Neighborhood Near You Providing Assistance

RISCA staff will be "on the road" in September to talk to individuals and organizations interested in applying for grants or the Teaching Artist Roster at our October 2nd deadline. These are similar to RISCA "Office Hours" - drop in and talk grant applications with RISCA staff.
Here's the schedule. Click for more information and to register.

Wednesday, August 30 from 3pm to 7pm at the Woonsocket Public Library
Wednesday, September 6 from 3pm to 7pm at the Westerly Public Library
Wednesday, September 13 from 3pm to 7pm at the Tiverton Public Library  

RISCA staff members Mollie Flanagan (individual artists), Dan Kahn(education), and Adrienne Adeyemi (organizations) Lynne DeBeer (Teaching Artists Roster) will be there to answer your questions. Anyone interested in opportunities for folk and traditional artists can contact Elena Calderon Patinovia email.


RISCA "Office Hours" Provide Application Assistance

Have a question, or need help as you're putting together a grant application for RISCA's October 2nd deadline? Drop in to the RISCA offices during "Office Hours", times you can schedule to sit down with RISCA staff members at the RISCA office in Providence.

Click here to register with Lynne DeBeer, RISCA's Education Associate to talk about Teaching Artists Roster Applications or support in marketing your practice.
Click here to register with Mollie Flanagan, RISCA's Individual Artists Program Director, to talk about Fellowship and Project Grants for Individuals.
Click here to talk with Dan Kahn, who handles RISCA's grants to schools along with our Arts in Healthcare grant program.
Click here to meet with Adrienne Adeyemi, who manages RISCA's Arts Access Grant program for organizations, along with our Open Studios Tour program.
See you soon

Attend RISCA's Social Media for Artists Workshop on September 12


Social media has evolved at a dizzying pace over the past few years. Facebook – once an online tool for a single American university, the ultimate social network is now used by one in nine people on this planet and accounts for 30 billion pieces of content shared each and every day. Twitter is adding half a million new accounts per day, Google+ has more than 25 million users and YouTube is generating a colossal 92 billion page views every month.
For artists, this represents a vast and growing audience just waiting to be tapped; alongside the additional social media sites that are specialized for promoting artists – whether performance, visual, literary and/or teaching.
Come to this workshop to learn about:

  • Evaluating the most effective social media to promote yourself as an individual artist.
  • Developing a phased plan and schedule to incorporate the social media that is right for you as a beginner, intermediate or experienced user. 
  • Targeting audiences
  • Measuring effectiveness
  • Efficiently maintaining your presence online – developing a maintenance plan that fits you and your lifestyle. 


Click here for more information and to register


Teaching Artist Roster Application Deadline October 2, 2018

The next deadline to apply for the RI Teaching Artists Roster is October 2, 2018.  RISCA's Education Roster is a list of Rhode Island teaching artists who have been reviewed by public panels both for their artistic quality and their ability to work in educational settings. Artists are listed by discipline and are recommended for participation in Project Grants in Education (PGE). The Roster is also widely used as public resource by educational sites and individuals. Artists can renew their listings annually, provided they are active professionally as teaching artists. Those working in schools are also asked to complete a yearly BCI background check in accordance with Rhode Island law.

RISCA's Education Roster is part of New England Foundation of the Arts' CreativeGround website, which provides even broader opportunities for RI Teaching Artists regionally. For more information contact Maggie Anderson at maggie.anderson@arts.ri.gov or 401-222-3880.

Get inspired! Samples of Funded RISCA Project Grants in Education

Get inspired!  Samples of Funded RISCA Project Grants in Education

Connecting for Children & Families received $6,200 for “Woonsocket High School After School Arts”. This program taught by roster teaching artists and qualified instructors, will increase access to arts learning and improve related fine arts skills for up to 100 at-risk students in the 2016-2017 academic year. Program offerings will include: Dance, Visual Art, Jewelry Design, Weaving & Theatre.
At Paul Cuffee Charter School in Providence, roster teaching artist Keith Munslow will join lower school for “Monday Morning Song” throughout the school year.  The $3,250 grant will also allow the artist to work, in collaboration with classroom teachers, on children's songs, folktales and puppets to teach them story-telling skills.
South Kingstown CARES received $5,000 for “From the Ground Up”, an original, multi-disciplinary performance at Peace Dale Elementary School.The entire learning community will explore geology, archeology, paleontology and earth science subjects through the arts. Working with GEMS-NET and GEAR Productions (with roster teaching artist Beth Berry) the school will create an exciting new show keyed to the Next Generation Science Standards. 
WHAT DO FUNDED EDUCATION PROPOSALS HAVE IN COMMON?  Artists with a proven track record of artistic quality and working in schools (either from the RISCA Education roster or strong supporting materials); Evidence of thorough planning involving the artist and many facets of the school community; Evidence of integration with the curriculum; Clear and realistic goals for the project; A preliminary timeline/schedule for the project; A process of evaluation.
Any school or educational entity may apply for these matching grants.  For more information contact Dan Kahn @ 401/222-1146 or daniel.kahn@arts.ri.gov.  For information on Folk/Community Arts and artists contact Elena Calderon Patiño @ 401/222-6996 or  Elena.Patiño@arts.ri.gov

Over 120 RI Teaching Artists Hired in Fiscal Year 2017 Reaching Over 3,250 Learners


Between July 1, 2016-June 30th, 2017 RISCA's Project Grants in Education funded 30 projects for $95,000 (matched value $190,000). Over 120 artists participated and approximately 3,250 learners were served by these collaborative programs between teaching artists and educators.  

See the following article for a sample of some of the projects that were funded.

For a complete list of all grants awarded by RISCA as of January 1, 2017 click here.  This is a great way to see what's going on , see which schools are hiring artists, and get inspiration for partnering with an organization to submit a grant.  The October 2, 2017 deadline provides funds for January 1 - June 30, 2018.  


Just a reminder that every Tuesday afternoon we are available at the RI State Council on the Arts, Providence, RI to meet with you and offer support in many areas:

  • Grantwriting
  • Roster Applications
  • Marketing Yourself to the Education & Healthcare Communities
  • Websites, Social Media and all that jazz!

Lynne DeBeer

Email me or call to make an appointment: lynne.debeer@arts.ri.gov 401-524-6504 Mobile               401-222-1794  Office


RI State Council on the Arts Grants Recipients 2017

Want to see what kinds of projects are being funded.  Here's a list of all the grants awarded to artists, arts organizations, community centers, schools, teaching artists etc.  

Rhose Island State Council on the Arts Grants Recipients FY2017





NEA Research Labs Looking for Proposals to focus on value and impact of arts

National Endowment for the Arts Research Labs seeks to support a series of transdisciplinary research partnerships, grounded in the social and behavioral sciences, to produce and report empirical insights about the arts for the benefit of arts and non-arts sectors alike. Proposals are due July 18!

Program Solicitation: National Endowment for the Arts Research Labs | NEA
In recent years, the National Endowment for the Arts’ research agenda has focused on yielding new knowledge about the value and impact of the arts. Through the…

2017 Arts Education Partnerships Annual Convening on Sept. 6-7

Registration is now open for the 2017 AEP Annual Convening on Sept. 6-7 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.! The 2017 AEP Annual Convening will explore arts-centered solutions aimed at ensuring America’s youth have access to a high-quality education in and through the arts by addressing the priority areas outlined in AEP’s Action Agenda. Register now!

New Partnership with RI Latino Arts Makes Great Connections for Teaching Artists

This 6 x6 experimented with a new addition to the format. As part of the six minute presentations,each of the 6 artist presenters created a canvas (12 x 12) that focused on the question “What is most on your mind right now?”  Artists could use the canvas however they wished—with visual, performing, or literary arts.  The themes ranged from the pain of the immigrant to the layers of culture within individuals.  The canvases will be on display at La Galleria del Pueblo.   The presenting artists made connections with educators and members of the RI healthcare community that will lead to collaborations in the schools and with the medical community. 

Presenting were:

Ana Areylis Cruz Cabrera      Poet, Author, Spoken Word Artist  & Songwriter.

Carolina Artentsen   Visual Artist/Painter

Marleny Luna            Actress, Spoken Word Poet,TV/radio Host
Evans Molina            Musician, Dancer, Visual Artist 
Pablo Youngs            Visual Artist
Sue Borhorquez        Visual Artist

For more information on each artist or to be listed on the Directory as a member, visit the Directory at RI Latino Artists.  

Our thanks to Latino Arts for being a RITAC partner for the 6 x 6. 

RISCA's new Arts in Healthcare Program Grants April 3 Deadline


Non-profit health care organizations are eligible to apply for a new RISCA Education program grant category: Arts in Healthcare. Arts in Healthcare grants are matching grants for projects that connect the arts with healthcare in hospitals and other healthcare settings. Grants must include children and youth up to the age of 21 as primary participants, but may also include adults. As with our school-based Education project grants where teaching artists partner with certified teachers to plan the project, in the Arts In Healthcare category, teaching artists need to partner with one or more licensed healthcare providers to develop the project. Professional development with a variety of staff at the healthcare facility is also strongly encouraged, with a priority placed on experiential learning and job-embedded experiences where possible. As with regular Education project grants, funds can support artists’ fees, mileage and supplies and materials.

The Arts In Healthcare grant category recognizes the new partnership among the RI State Council on the Arts, the RI Department of Health, and the RI Teaching Artists Center.

This partnership addresses the multiple benefits of the arts in health, as well as the increasing number of teaching artists’ activities taking place in hospitals and health care settings.

Click here for the Arts in Healthcare Guidelines

Providence Business News Puts a Focus on RI Teaching Artists & Healthcare

Five Questions With: Sherilyn Brown

Posted: Monday, February 13, 2017 4:55 am


Sherilyn Brown is education director at the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, which, with the R.I. Department of Health, recently partnered to create the Arts & Health Advisory Group, which grew out of Rhode Island artists’ experiences working in the fields of health and healing. Brown talked recently with Providence Business News about the Arts & Health Advisory Group and its membership, focus and goals.

PBN: When did the Arts & Health Advisory Group get established, what is its purpose and who is funding it?

BROWN: The Arts & Health Advisory Group grew out of the passion and experience that Rhode Island artists have for working in the field of health and healing. The R.I. Teaching Artists Center held a sold-out conference two years ago on the topic. Additionally, the opportunities and practices here in Rhode Island have been expanding over the last several years as part of a much larger arts and health movement nationally, through organizations such as the National Organization for Arts in Health, which is hosting its first annual conference, in conjunction with the 30th Healthcare Facilities and Design Symposium and Exposition in September 2017 in Austin, Texas, and Rhode Island School of Design.

Given the power of the arts to address needs in the health sector, the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts approached the R.I. Department of Health for a potential partnership. The conversation yielded possible areas where artists could further the initiatives of the DOH, such as Health Equity Zones or community health workers. Additionally, national research makes clear a wide variety of possible focus areas for an arts and health initiative, including such areas as patient care, healing environments and health care provider education.


The purpose of the group is to develop a statewide plan for arts and health, aligned with the state’s current health care initiatives. The planning process is being funded by a grant from the Rhode Island Foundation, and is being facilitated by Brown University’s School of Public Health. The group serves as an advisory group to DOH Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott and Elizabeth Roberts, secretary of the R.I. Office of Health and Human Services. A draft plan is due in summer 2017.

PBN: You’ve talked about the passion and experience that artists in Rhode Island have for their work in the fields of health and healing. Can you describe what kinds of experiences participating artists have had and what kinds of artists – painters, musicians, dancers or others – are involved?

BROWN: Artists across all arts disciplines work in health care settings, from hospitals to long-term care facilities to hospice. Members of the group also emphasize that artists often engage people in activities that promote physical and emotional health, and don’t just treat patients with a diagnosis.

Some examples of arts in health care work include dance for people with Parkinson’s and theater to help young people in partial hospitalization settings tell their stories. The intentional design of spaces and communities that use color and other design elements to support the well-being of people in treatment or in their daily lives is becoming more common. Singers provide bedside support to those at the end of their lives, and visual artists engage children and adults in viewing, discussing and creating paintings during their hospital stays. There are many wonderful articles about the ways that the arts can engage with health, healing and health care, including a sampling created by the National Endowment for the Arts. Anyone interested in this topic will find more information about the intersection of arts and health through an online search. Our final report will also provide detailed information on research.

PBN: Who is eligible to be a member of the Arts & Health Advisory Group? Is the group seeking additional members?

BROWN: The Arts & Health Advisory Group is comprised of a variety of people working professionally in the fields of arts and health, with experience in one or both of those sectors. The group is comprised of 30 members, from artists in all disciplines to DOH staff, nurses, physicians and other members of the community. The group is not seeking new members at this time, as it is currently a working group in process. However, it is seeking input from the larger community as part of the planning design and research protocol.

PBN: Do artists bring a different sensibility to the healing process? How can they play a unique role in furthering the goals and objectives of the DOH, such as the Health Equity Zones?

BROWN: My work in education makes me think about how the arts and teaching artists uniquely address the development of the whole child, the whole person – emotionally, physically and, it is often said, spiritually. The same can be said for the role of the arts in health. We are whole beings with individual stories, not a bundle of symptoms, diagnoses or body parts. Tapping into our creativity reminds of our humanity, our natural life-giving energy and the strength of our thoughts, feelings and ideas. The arts are empowering, whether you are a physician learning to be more observant and hear a patient’s story more fully, or you are an elder struggling with maintaining a sense of worth.

The issue of health equity is critical. So, for example, as Health Equity Zones are implementing their work plans, the inclusion and consideration of the arts can put everyone on an equal footing as creative beings who can improve the design and health of their communities. Rhode Island’s Health Equity Zone initiative is a project that is empowering people and organizations to come together and implement solutions to the unique, community-level obstacles to health that exist in their neighborhoods.

PBN: What are the group’s goals and objectives for the next 12-18 months?

BROWN: Our immediate goals are gathering research and information, listening to informants, understanding how we fit into the larger health care policy picture, and putting together a plan that helps the state innovate and improve its health and health care. We are a creative state and deserve innovative solutions that serve the community – children, adults, patients, seniors, caregivers and health care providers. Our wealth of talented artists and creative citizens positions us well for this task.