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CCRI teams with city of Providence to host the 2024 Pell Lecture Series

CCRI teams with city of Providence to host the 2024 Pell Lecture Series

The Community College of Rhode Island is teaming with Providence Mayor Brett P. Smiley and the Providence Department of Art, Culture and Tourism to host the 2024 Pell Lecture Series, set to take place Thursday, March 7 at the Liston Auditorium in Providence.

This year's theme, "From Renaissance City to Creative Capital: Making Good on a Promise," delves into the rich tapestry of Providence's historical and evolving relationship with the arts, while touching on lessons learned by civic leaders regionally and nationally.  

Now in its 28th year, the lecture series, named in honor of the late Senator Claiborne Pell, seeks to explore the transformative journey of Providence from its days as the Renaissance City to its current status as a burgeoning Creative Capital. The event promises an engaging exploration of how the city's artistic and cultural landscape has shaped its identity, economy, and community life, while also looking ahead to the future potential of Providence's creative scene. This year marks the first time the event will be hosted by and co-produced with CCRI.  

“The Community College of Rhode Island is excited to host and partner with the City of Providence’s Department of Art, Culture and Tourism for this year’s Pell Lecture," said CCRI Interim President Rosemary Costigan. "Our Liston Campus plays an integral role in shaping Providence’s culture, and we share Senator Pell’s vision for strengthening our community while facilitating important conversations on how we can continue to integrate arts and culture into our everyday work. This is a tremendous opportunity for our Performing Arts Department – from our talented student artists to our faculty and staff – to collaborate with the city and promote our shared values of inclusivity, creativity, and culture.” 

The evening will feature a panel of distinguished speakers, including current and past directors of the City of Providence’s Department of Arts, Culture and Tourism, Joe Wilson Jr. and Lynne McCormack, who now leads the  Rhode Island State Council on the Arts; Harold Steward of the New England Foundation for the Arts; and Scott Hutcheson, a former official with the City of New Orleans’ Office of Cultural Economy who now leads E Pluribus Unum. Their conversation will focus on how art and culture become embedded in civic life and how leaders can ensure cities are places where artists can thrive.  

"The Pell Lecture Series is an important conduit for fostering dialogue and collective action between our department and the creative communities we serve," said ACT Director Joe Wilson Jr. "As we mark the 20th anniversary of ACT, we are eager to advance our cultural blueprint, PVD X 2031, ensuring that Providence not only wears the title of 'Creative Capital,' but fully embodies its promise and potential. By championing Providence as a cultural beacon and nurturing the creative spirit of all who find community here, we celebrate Providence as an attractive destination while supporting those who call her home."  

"We are honored that ACT will hold the Pell Lecture at CCRI's Liston Campus Auditorium on March 7 in cooperation with the Performing Arts Department, said department chair Dr. Joseph Almante y Zapata. “ACT is known for creating a space for critical conversations, exploring our shared histories, addressing artists’ needs and dismantling barriers for arts businesses and organizations. This cultural plan lines up perfectly with the college's own mission statement and efforts." 

The lecture is free and open to the public, reaffirming the co-producers’ commitment to fostering community engagement and dialogue. Doors open at 5:30 pm, with the lecture beginning promptly at 6 pm. Registration is required, as seating is limited. For more information about the Pell Lecture Series and to reserve tickets, please visit the registration website.  

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