elorza providence

Annual Sen. Claiborne Pell Lecture on Arts & Humanities Featuring Nina Sanchez to be held December 11

Annual Sen. Claiborne Pell Lecture on Arts & Humanities Featuring Nina Sanchez to be held December 11

Lecture will explore diverse perspective on collective leadership as the city’s creative sector prepares to take on bold revisions


PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza and the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism today announced this year’s Senator Claiborne Pell Lecture on Arts and Humanities titled Planning is Not Enough: Collective Action and Accountability in the Creative Sector.” The lecture will be held on Tuesday, December 11 at 5:00pm in the Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island, located at 393 Broad Street.  The event is free and open to the public, but seating will be limited.

“The Pell Lecture is our annual opportunity to highlight big questions that are shaping our creative workforce and our identity as the Creative Capital,” said Mayor Elorza. “It is a fantastic opportunity to acknowledge the enormous impact the NEH and NEA have had on our City, while bringing national thought leaders into conversations with our local cultural institutions.”

Honoring Rhode Island’s late United States Senator Claiborne Pell, who was instrumental in the development of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), this year’s Pell Lecture will offer diverse perspectives on collective leadership as the City’s creative sector prepares to take on bold revisions.

Enrich Chicago Executive Director Nina Sanchez will be providing this year’s keynote address followed by a panel discussion with Steel Yard Executive Director Howie Sneider; New Urban Arts Executive Director Daniel Schliefer; and RISCA Director of Community Arts Program Elena Patiño; moderated by Rhode Island Black Storytellers Creative Director Valerie Tutson.

The lecture honors the late Claiborne Pell (1918-2009), who represented Rhode Island in the United States Senate from 1961 to 1997. Established in 2009, the event localizes Senator Pell’s vision for the nation and invites the community to come together to celebrate the role of art, culture and creativity in the capital city’s development. He is remembered for being a champion of education, the arts and humanities and was the main sponsor of the Pell Grant, a financial aid program for college students.

Pell Lectures are intended to 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 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 placemaking nationally and in Providence; and looked at how other cities are nurturing arts education to develop a creative, 21st century ready workforce.

The 2018 Senator Pell Lecture «Planning is Not Enough: Collective Action and Accountability in the Creative Sector» is presented by the City of Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, sponsored by  The Dean HotelRhode Island State Council on the ArtsThe John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities + Cultural Heritagewith promotional support from Rhode Island Council for the Humanities.


Nina D. Sánchez | Director of Enrich Chicago

Nina D. Sánchez, Director of Enrich Chicago, collaborates with a collective of 23 arts and philanthropic institutions working to end systemic racism in the arts. She has served in a variety of capacities within multicultural leadership initiatives, direct-service, and education sectors, building anti-racism frameworks, disrupting systemic inequity at its core, and mobilizing strategic plans into meaningful programs, opportunities, and institutional/individual actions. She leverages her strengths of strategy, ideation, and assessment to be an active voice for effective policies and systemic interventions that support increased racial equity her hometown of Chicago.


Daniel Schleifer | New Urban Arts, Providence Youth Arts Collaborative

Daniel Schleifer received his B.A. in Ethnic Studies from Brown University in 2004. He joined the New Urban Arts community in the fall of 2007 as a volunteer in the afterschool program and joined the staff in 2010, initially as a development associate and then as director of development. He began as executive director in 2015. Daniel is also a founding member of the What Cheer? Brigade, an 18-member brass band that tours internationally while remaining a local institution. In 2011, he received the MacColl Johnson fellowship in music composition from the Rhode Island Foundation.

Elena Calderón Patiño | Expansion Arts, RISCA, NALAC

For many years, Elena Calderón Patiño has been dedicated to the promotion and advancement of collective leadership in the cultural sector. In her current role as Director of the Community Arts Program at Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA), she oversees the Expansion Arts Program, a collaboration with the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and the Rhode Island Foundation that offers funding and technical assistance to community-based arts and humanities organizations in the form of consultation time, administrative support, and peer group work. Calderón Patiño serves on the Executive Board of the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) and is an alumni of the NALAC Advocacy Institute and the NALAC Leadership Institute. She also acts as an adviser for the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) New England States Touring (NEST) grant. Calderón Patiño is also a mixed media artist and designer interested in the intersection of theology, mathematics, and science. She has participated in over 30 local, regional national and international exhibitions and holds an MA in Art & Design with a focus in Museum Education from RISD as well as a BFA in Metals, with a Concentration in Jewelry Design, from Rhode Island College.

Howie Sneider | The Steel Yard, Olneyville Collaborative

Howie Sneider is the Executive Director of the Steel Yard, where he has been an active community and staff member since 2005. The Steel Yard is an award-winning industrial arts center, a manufacturer of custom and functional public-art, a craft school, shared studio, and Providence’s most unique private outdoor venue. He was born in Syracuse, NY and moved to Providence in 1998 to attend RISD. Howie has been an active participant in neighborhood planning for the Valley Neighborhood informing the Valley Vision Plan and as a member of the Olneyville Collaborative. His work has led to collaborations with hundreds of artists and dozens of organizations and communities across the state.

Valerie Tutson | Rhode Island Black Storytellers, Moderator

Valerie Tutson graduated from Brown University with a self-designed major, Storytelling As a Communications Art, and a Masters in Theatre. Valerie travels the country and world teaching storytelling and gathering and sharing stories and songs. In addition to telling stories herself, Valerie is committed to providing opportunities for others tell their stories. For 12 years she hosted Cultural Tapestry, an award winning show for COX Television and is a founding member and Executive Director of the Rhode Island Black Storytellers, and director of FUNDA FEST: An Annual Celebration of Black Storytelling. In 2017 Valerie received the Public Humanities Scholar Award from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities for her work to promote storytelling. This past year, Valerie served as a Grand Marshal for the 2018 PVDFest Parade.


The Department of Art, Culture + Tourism (AC+T) ensures the continued development of a vibrant and creative city by integrating arts and culture into community life, while showcasing Providence as an international cultural destination. The Department works to support, engage, and encourage the creative sector’s participation in civic life.

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