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Keeping traditions alive
By Connie Grosch / October 30, 2014 /   Loading Disqus...

The Expansion Arts Program (EAP) is a grant program that focuses on small and emerging arts and humanities organizations run by and serving communities of color. A joint effort between the Rhode Island Foundation, the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, the program offers financial and technical assistance to develop and grow these community-based organizations. EAP is an important part of the Foundation’s strategy to foster diverse participation in the arts among Rhode Island residents. 

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In 1984, the Rhode Island Foundation submitted a grant proposal to the National Endowment for the Arts for an initiative designed to secure private dollars for small and medium sized arts organizations. Upon selection by the NEA, the Foundation created an endowed fund to support small minority arts organizations; it was dedicated to encouraging production of indigenous ethnic art, providing opportunities for culturally diverse artists, and helping them build a broader base of financial support.

The structure of EAP has varied over the years.  Currently, four organizations participate in a three-year cycle, and each recipient receives $10,000 per year for the three years. In addition, consultants work with the groups throughout the three years to help them build knowledge and expertise in the areas of financial management, marketing and audience development, leadership development and strategic collaborations.

EAP hosted a closing awards ceremony to recognize the graduating cohort of the four 2011-2014 recipients: the Cambodian Society of Rhode Island, the Center for the Arts and Culture of the Americas, Eastern Medicine Singers, and RPM Voices of Rhode Island.

Speaking at the celebration, Daniel Kertzner noted that “thirty years later, we at the Foundation continue to recognize the importance of representing artistic and cultural traditions of communities of color. I thank you for your accomplishments, your artistry, and for the traditions that you keep alive in our communities.”

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