2015 Senator Claiborne Pell Lecture on Arts and Humanities

2015 Senator Claiborne Pell Lecture on Arts and Humanities

Providence, RI - City of Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza and the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism were pleased to present the Annual Senator Claiborne Pell Lecture on Arts and Humanities titled "Looking Back, Moving Forward: Advancing Cultural Equity" on Thursday, October 15th, 2015 in the Providence Biltmore's Grand Ballroom. The event was free and open to the public.

Honoring Rhode Island's late United States Senator Claiborne Pell - who was instrumental in the development of the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities - the 2015 Pell Lecture challenged us to develop a more equitable arts ecosystem. PATRICE WALKER POWELL, retired Deputy Chairman for Grants and Awards at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), was joined by JEFFREEN HAYES, bridge/arts; CLYDE VALENTIN, Meadows School of the Arts; and RAYMOND TWO HAWKS WATSON, Eastern Medicine Singers.

The lecture celebrated the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the 30th Anniversary of Rhode Island's Expansion Arts program while being part of the Alliance of Artists Communities' 2015 Annual Conference which brought together arts leaders, funders, policy-makers, board members, educators and artists from across the globe for three days of performances, trainings, tours and talks in Providence, RI. A recap and video of the event can be viewwed on the Rhode Island Foundation's website located here.

The 2015 Senator Pell Lecture "Looking Back, Moving Forward: Advancing Cultural Equity" was presented by the City of Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, in partnership with Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, The Rhode Island Foundation , The Alliance of Artists Communities and Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.


Patrice Walker Powell | Retired, Cultural Worker + Public Servant
From 2010 - 2014 Patrice Walker Powell served as deputy chairman for programs and partnerships at the National Endowment for the Arts, overseeing the agency's nearly $100 million in grants and special projects for a national network of governmental and nonprofit partners, as well as for grant awards to cultural organizations in all disciplines and fields. Before joining the NEA in 1991, she served as deputy director for the Texas Commission on the Arts and program staff for the Connecticut Commission on the Arts.

Jeffreen Hayes, Ph.D. | Principal + Artistic Producer, bridge/arts
Jeffreen M. Hayes, Ph.D. is an art professional with a curatorial practice. She has organized curatorial projects with a community-engagement focus, helping art museum and arts non-profits develop meaningful relationships with marginalized communities. Hayes is also the founder of bridge/arts, an organization providing visioning and arts management support for artists developing socially- and community-engaged projects.

Clyde Valentín | Director, Ignite Arts Dallas
Brooklyn, NY native Clyde Valentín is the co-founding Producer and Executive Director of Hi-ARTS (formerly known as the Hip-Hop Theater Festival) and recently he became the inaugural Director of Ignite/Arts Dallas: A Center for People, Purpose + Place at Southern Methodist University's Meadows School of the Arts. Valentín has served as a consultant and panelist for Creative Capital, has worked with Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) and was a Senior Advisor for the New England Foundation for the Arts, National Touring Project (NTP). He has presented at numerous conferences including the National Association of Latino Arts & Culture (NALAC), APAP, and the National Performance Network's (NPN) Annual Meeting.

Raymond Two Hawks Watson | Executive Member, Eastern Medicine Singers
Providence, RI native Raymond Two Hawks Watson grew up in the city's Mt. Hope and Fox Point neighborhoods, graduating from Classical High School in 1997 before obtaining a BA in Political Science from Union College in NY and Master's Degree in Community Planning from the University of Rhode Island. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Mount Hope Neighborhood Association in Providence and as the Acting Chair of the Providence Human Relations Commission. Watson is also an Executive/Founding Member of the Eastern Medicine Singers Native American Drum Group and serves as Pomham Sachem of the Historic Mashapaug Nahaganset Tribe, based in Providence, RI.

About | Senator Claiborne Pell Lecture on Arts & Humanities
The City of Providence's annual Senator Claiborne Pell Lecture on Arts & Humanities honors the late Claiborne Pell (1918-2009), who represented Rhode Island in the United States Senate from 1961-1997. He is best remembered for being a champion of education, the arts and humanities. Senator Pell was the main sponsor of the Pell Grant, a financial aid program for U.S. college students, and he played a major role in the establishment of both the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities. Established in 2009, the event localizes Senator Pell's vision for our nation and invites the community to come together to celebrate the role of art, culture and creativity in the capital city's development.
Pell Lecture topics spotlight key aspects of the six community-wide goals outlined in Creative Providence: A cultural plan for the creative sector. Past lectures have honed in on the social and economic benefits associated with making space for arts and culture in real estate development, presented ideas and creative solutions for complex urban issues, focused on diversifying cultural participation, explored creative place-making nationally and in Providence and looked at how other cities are nurturing arts education to develop a creative, 21st century ready workforce.

About | Pell Humanities Initiative
This event was part of the Pell Humanities Initiative in Rhode Island to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Pell Humanities Initiative was organized by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina University, and the University of Rhode Island Libraries with the goals of honoring Rhode Island's late Senator Claiborne Pell -- who sponsored legislation that led to the founding of the National Endowment for the Humanities -- and of showcasing the vital contributions of the humanities in our society today.

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