WASHINGTON, DC - In an effort to promote community arts programs and arts education throughout Rhode Island, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) today announced that Rhode Island arts organizations will receive $762,800 in federal grants through the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).  These federal matching grants will help support both new and established art projects, including workshops, performances, exhibitions, and arts education programs.

“Rhode Island is home to a vibrant arts community and this federal funding will support both artists and our arts economy,” said Reed, the Chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees NEA’s budget.  “By combining federal grants with state and local funds and private donations, we can ensure that more Rhode Islanders have access to free and affordable concerts, performances, and opportunities for cultural enrichment.”

Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Executive Director Randall Rosenbaum expressed his gratitude to Senator Reed for his leadership in securing public funding for the arts, stressing the economic benefits of this support.  “The arts are an important part of the Rhode Island economy,” Rosenbaum said.  “Each grant dollar we receive and distribute here in Rhode Island helps to employ an artist, support local businesses and provide cultural programs in our communities. The arts are important to education and the quality of life we enjoy, but they are also an integral part of our state's economic recovery.”

According to the NEA, each dollar invested directly through the NEA is matched by an average of $8 of additional investment and generates $26 of economic activity in the community.

Over 25,000 Rhode Islanders are employed in our state’s creative sector, according to the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.

To ensure that Rhode arts organizations continue to receive federal support, Senator Reed is working with the Obama Administration to increase NEA’s funding.  This year, President Obama included an additional $8 million for NEA in the coming fiscal year, which would bring the agency’s budget up to about $154 million. 

Earlier this month, Reed brought the top arts official in the Obama Administration, Rocco Landesman, up to Rhode Island to get a firsthand look at how the state and local communities are using the arts as a tool for job development, education, and urban renewal.

Among the Rhode Island projects receiving funding are: $712,800 for the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts to support partnership agreement activities; $20,000 for Community Musicworks to support free music education and performance programs targeted to reach at-risk children and youth; and $15,000 for FirstWorks to support the production of FirstWorks Festival 2012.

Reed’s predecessor, the late Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI) helped create the National Endowment for the Arts, a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education.

“Senator Pell helped broaden public access to the arts and nurtured and supported countless American artists.  These federal grants continue to remind us of the valuable contribution he made to our state and the nation,” stated Reed.