NASAA Notes: September 2010

September
2010

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September 2, 2010

Rhode Island: Mashapaug Pond Project

The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) has demonstrated how the arts can help a community raise public awareness about local environmental issues and health hazards. RISCA commissioned artist Holly Ewald in 2008 to collaborate with the community to help residents of the Mashapaug Pond area learn about the dangers of swimming or fishing in the pond, which contains unsafe levels of dioxins and PCBs. Because the community is culturally diverse with several different languages commonly spoken, the arts were an ideal way to communicate issues of importance to all residents. Kick-started with a long-term residency, this project engaged local school students in the design of posters and education materials. It also catalyzed what has become an annual Urban Pond Procession that raises public awareness about the condition of local waterways and includes workshops in which artists help educate the public about environmental issues. In addition to community arts collaborations, four state agencies were engaged in the project: RISCA funded the artist; The Rhode Island departments of Health and Environmental Management developed and approved warning information incorporating the children’s artwork; and the Department of Transportation installed new signage around the pond to help protect the health of residents and visitors. For additional information, contact RISCA Executive Director Randall Rosenbaum.

In this Issue

Executive Director's Column

State to State

Legislative Update

Research on Demand

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