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Teaching Artist Grant Jurors

As the Creative Capital, the City of Providence is invested in the continued development of a vibrant local arts culture. Post-pandemic, however, many local artists continued to struggle with the deep economic impacts of COVID-19. With funding support from the City, Interlace  partnered with AS220 to protect the City’s beloved and renowned arts culture by supporting artists disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

 

The Teaching Artist Grant (TAG) program provides financial support to artists who were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically teaching artists of African heritage and those whose Indigeneity is local to Rhode Island.

This program is supported by the City of Providence’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, which has provided over $3 million to the Providence arts economy in an effort to support local artists and organizations as they work to rebound from the deep economic impacts of the pandemic. 

 

This grant fund is co-administered by The Interlace Grant Fund and AS220, with funding support provided by City of Providence Department of Art, Culture, and Tourism.

Round 1&2 TAG Grant Jurors

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April Brown

April Brown is an entrepreneur, artist, Director of the Racial & Environmental Justice Committee and co-director of the annual Langston Hughes Community Poetry Reading Committee in Providence. Brown’s experience includes being an ordained minister and former teacher, education administrator, artist programmer and college counselor. More specifically here in Rhode Island, she has worked with Rhode Island Black Storytellers and the National Association of Black Storytellers as the African Marketplace director; and with Turnaround Arts: Providence as its local program director. She is a published poet, acclaimed singer and actress who has performed in the United States, Japan and Israel. Brown holds a Bachelors of Arts (BA) degree from the American University, in Washington, DC, and a Master’s in Education from the University of Rhode Island. It's no wonder that when asked, she served in several community-at-large leadership positions for arts and civics organizations. She has also served as a board member of Community Music Works and is a member of the Special Committee for Commemorative Works for Providence and other boards throughout the State.

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Charlotte Abotsi

Charlotte Abotsi is a poet raised in Providence, Rhode Island. As a spoken word poet, she has competed in several international poetry slams. Her work has been written about in HuffPost and Mic.com, and her poems can be read in Wax Nine journal and The Chicago Reader. She has received fellowships from the Pink Door Writing Retreat, the Incubator for Community-Engaged Poets, Tin House, DreamYard’s Rad(ical) Poetry Consortium, AIR Serenbe, Define American, and Undocupoets. She co-curated season two of the poetry-based web series Ours Poetica for The Poetry Foundation.

Photo credit: Jonathan Pitts-Wiley

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Kai Cameron

Upon retirement from the Providence Public School District as an Administrator for twenty-plus years, S. Kai Cameron has served for the past seven (7) years as the Co-Director/Coordinator for the Langston Hughes Community Poetry Reading Committee (LHPRC), which in 2019 was the recipient of the distinguished RISCA Expansion Arts program. Notably, prior to her involvement with LHCPR, Kai has been an advocate for Rhode Island’s high-risk youth and their families as a classroom teacher, program developer, project manager and community engagement activist primarily in the City of Providence. Her ‘body of work’ started with the well-known community-based organizations of the Opportunities Industrialization Center of RI (OIC)(now-defunct), Providence Housing Authority and Urban League of RI, where she functioned as an Education Specialist/Supervisor to develop youth and families to combat lack of education, low self-esteem, school suspension and joblessness. In the late 1990’s, as Project Director, Kai implemented a nationally funded city-wide five-year substance-abuse prevention program for youth and adults under the leadership of the Mayor’s Council for Drug and Alcohol Abuse. In 2000, she served as the Interim Director of Student Relations for the Providence School Department and advanced there until her retirement to lead a number of projects designed to enhance the education of children and to empower their families to be valuable partners within the education system.  

 

Kai has received a number of local, state and national awards including the US Housing and Development (HUD) Minority Fellowship, a ‘Join Together’ Fellowship sponsored by Boston University School of Public Health/Robert Woods Johnson Foundation (1992-1997) and the Student of the Year Award (1997) from the RI Chapter of the American Planning Association. Additionally, she has participated as a community volunteer and/or board member in numerous associations, such as Violet’s Village, Neighbors 4 Revitalization, The Steelyard, YouthBuild and the RI Coalition of Black Women. For the past year, she has worked as ‘Community Researcher’ for the Racial Environment for Justice Committee’s Breathe Providence Project associated with Brown University. 


A native Rhode Islander, Kai received her BA in Elementary Education from Rhode Island College and holds a MA in Community Planning for social policy development from the University of Rhode Island. She is also sole proprietor of an entrepreneurial fashion design business, called “Kai’s Kloset”. Deliberately created as a social enterprise, her business was developed to provide one-of-a-kind  eco-friendly clothing that is  fashionable to the community at-large, but in particular to BIPOC womxn. However, as a result of the impact caused by the Covid-epidemic, in 2020,  Kai’s Kloset is currently in the process of rebranding as Kai’s Kloset Kustom Kreations to focus not only on fashion but creative collaboration among BIPOC womxn.

Photo credit: Stephanie Ewens Photography

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Silvermoon Mars LaRose

Silvermoon Mars LaRose is a citizen of the Narragansett Tribe and the Assistant Director of the Tomaquag Museum. She has worked in tribal communities for over 20 years, serving in the areas of health and human services, education, and humanities. As a public servant, Silvermoon serves on the Rhode Island State Council for the Arts, State of Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission, and as the secretary for the Charlestown Conservation Commission. Additionally, she is the vice chair for the Avenue Concept supporting local public art ecosystems. As an artist and educator, she hopes to foster Indigenous empowerment through education, community building, and the sharing of cultural knowledge and traditional arts. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, a minor in Justice Law and Society from the University of Rhode Island and continued her studies Western Washington University in Rehabilitation Counseling.

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