Award winning workshops and programs

One of our most successful efforts is when we bring together artists to get inspiration from each other, create new works, and share their art. These artists become part of RILA's Artists Network and join our efforts to build community connections.

Through the years, RILA and its Executive Director have been recognized by the
National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities (RICH), and the Oral History Association (OHA) for our efforts to empower artists, uplift Latino arts and cultures, and create future generation of Latinx cultural advocates.

Here are some of the programs we are especially proud of, and which have received recognition awards.
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  • ¡Hay Santos! Wooden Carvings from Puerto Rico | 2014 - 2015

    Master Carver Carlos Santiago Arroyo first introduction to Rhode Island was through a program sponsored by RILA. Carlos spent three months with students at the Providence Career & Technical Academy (PCTA) and their art teacher, Carolyne Kellner. The program was funded in part by the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) and the Providence Dept. of Art, Culture & Tourism (AC+T).

  • These are Carlo's personal carving tools.

  • Three times a week for the Spring semester, Carlos traveled from Lawrence, MA to work with the students, and they became a tightly-knit family.

  • Students also received individual attention as they learned the traditional art-form of Santos carving.

  • The last day we invited families, peers, and teachers for an exhibition to see the students' final works of art.

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  • Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program

    In 2016, we received a grant from the Connecticut Cultural Heritage Arts Program at the Connecticut Historical Society for our first apprenticeship program. The grant was specifically for excellent traditional and occupational artists who actively practice their art forms, and we invited Carlos back to RILA to share the tradition of Santos carving with a local apprentice. Lydia Pérez and her daughter, Yidell came forward to work with Carlos at the RILA offices in South Providence.

  • Yidell and Lydia spent six (6) weeks with Carlos carving and absorbing this beautiful tradition. The relationships they developed from this apprenticship turned out to be long-lasting and eventually developed into a professional partnership.

    Yidell's final work was this lovely nativity scene.

  • At the end of the apprenticeship, Carlos and Lydia shared their work at an event co-hosted by RILA and the Dept. of Art, Culture + Tourism at the Southside Cultural Center.

    The following year, RILA received a community award from NEFA for both this program and the previous workshop with the students at PCTA.

  • Marta in New London, CT after receiving her award from NEFA.

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  • Inca Son workshops at the Leviton Dual Language Elementary School | 2016

    From 2015 to 2017, the Leviton Dual Language Elementary School became our "Sister School." Our first program there was called A Trip to the Andes. Inca Son, an Andean Cultural Group, spent two weeks with Bolivian native, Perla McGinnes and her 5th-grade students as they became engrossed in the South American Andean culture.

  • On the first day, the students learn about the Andean culture -- Bolivia & Perú and how similar are the two cultures.

  • Slide Title

    The students got to wear some of the the traditional Andean dress.

  • Marianne Ruggiero, RILA Program Coordinator, demonstrates how to blow into the flute.

  • After rehearsing the dance, the girls perform in front of their peers.

  • The entire school joins in.

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  • Plena Carnaval Workshops on Bomba & Plena of Puerto Rico | 2016

    We brought a workshop called Plena Carnaval to the 2nd grade students at the Leviton Dual Language Elementray School. For four weeks, the students learned about traditional Caribbean culture from Lydia Pérez, Puerto Rican arts performer and teaching artist. She taught students the different forms of rhythms from the Caribbean using traditional instruments while incorporating other traditions, like dance, mask making, traditional dress attire, and written and spoken word.

  • Lydia distributes traditional skirts for the girls to wear before they begin learning the traditional dances.

  • And then they line up, ready to perform.

  • The boys were given traditional straw hats as part of the traditional attire.

  • The girls learn steps, rythmn and movement.

  • In the classroom nextdoor, some students begin learning percussion rythmn from Lydia's daughter.

  • Students line up in front of their school mates during the final performance.

  • Slide Title

    Vejigantes are an important cultural symbols in the Puerto Rican culture.

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  • Oral History Workshop: Celebrating Día de Los Muertos | Fall 2016

    Working with three MA students from the Brown University Public Humanities Program, Marta V. Martínez, RILA's Executive Director, spent the Fall semester with Perla McGuinnes and her 5th grade class at the Leviton Dual Language Elementary School. They learned the basics of interviewing for oral history and their assignments were to sit with a family member at home and ask them to talk about a deceased family member. The students learned about relatives they knew nothing about, and brought their memory to life by building small altars for Día de Los Muertos.

  • Martínez shared a photograph and pair of glasses of her abuela so the students could learn about her own family story.

  • Eduardo records a student sharing what she learned about a long-lost uncle, while wearing a hat that belonged to him.

  • Te Amo

  • Remembering Crescenia Ortiz Matz of Guatemala.

  • The students spent two days building their altars in class.

  • At the end of five weeks, 5th graders set up ofrendas in the school hallway during a school Family Night.

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