Rise Together: Building a stronger & more equitable Rhode Island - The Raimondo Administration
Rise Together: Building a stronger & more equitable Rhode Island - The Raimondo Administration

Back to Press Releases

Governor Appoints Four Members to Rhode Island State Council on the Arts

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Governor Gina M. Raimondo today announced her intent to nominate Kate Blacklock, Carmen Diaz-Jusino, Michelle Kwan and Lorén Spears to the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA). Raimondo will submit these names for consideration to the Rhode Island State Senate for confirmation.

"The arts are a big part of our tourism and economic development strategy," Raimondo said. "I am pleased to have the commitment of these diverse individuals who are dedicated to creating opportunities for Rhode Islanders through our arts culture and creative economy."

The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) was established in 1967. It provides grants, technical assistance and support to artists, arts organizations, schools, community centers, social service organizations, and local governments to bring the arts into the lives of Rhode Islanders. It employs a variety of methods to carry out its work, including grant-making, professional development, partnerships, outreach and facilitation.

"I am honored to be nominated by Governor Raimondo to the RISCA," said Michelle Kwan. "The arts influence Rhode Island's rich culture and I look forward to collaborating with members of the council on ways to promote and enhance our cultural footprint."

"I am honored and excited to join the RISCA community as a council member," said Carmen Diaz-Jusino. "As a community educator and advocate, I am passionate about their dedication to expanding the arts - through education, participation, and expression. I look forward to helping RISCA live out their mission to be a catalyst for the arts in Rhode Island."

"I am both thrilled and honored to serve on the council and look forward to advancing the cause of art in the state," said Kate Blacklock. "This is something that I feel very passionate about."

"I am very excited to serve on the RISCA as the arts are important to the fabric of our communities, celebrating cultures and supporting our state through creative economies," said Lorén Spears.

Kate Blacklock

Kate Blacklock is currently an adjunct professor at the Rhode Island School of Design. She has taught in the Industrial Design Department since 2002. Prior to this, she held various positions in well-respected higher education institutions such as Rhode Island College, University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, and The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. She was Associate Professor and ran the Ceramics program at Louisiana State University for nine years. Blacklock received her BA from University of California at Santa Cruz and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her art has been exhibited in galleries and museums across the country.

Carmen Diaz-Jusino

Carmen Diaz-Jusino is an experience organizational management professional. She is currently the Director of New Enterprise & Women Business Centers at the Center for Women & Enterprise. Prior to her time at the Center for Women & Enterprise, she worked at Goodwill Industries of Rhode Island as a Bilingual Employment Specialist. She has an Associate's Degree from CCRI, a Bachelor's Degree from the Universidad del Caribe in the Dominican Republic and a Master's of Science with a Concentration in Organizational Management and Leadership from Springfield College.

Michelle Kwan

Michelle Kwan is the most decorated figure skater in U.S. history. Currently, she serves as a Senior Advisor for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. In 2006, Michelle was appointed to the first Public Diplomacy Envoy. In this capacity, Michelle travelled the world to meet with young people to speak about leadership and to engage them in dialogue on social and educational issues. In June 2010, President Obama appointed Michelle to the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. Michelle holds a bachelor's degree in International Studies from the University of Denver and a Master's Degree in International Relations from Tufts University.

Lorén Spears

Lorén Spears is the Executive Director of the Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum, Native Cultural Education Presenter, an adjunct Professor at the University of Rhode Island and a Consultant in Native Education, Curriculum development; School development & design, Museum Exhibit Design; Program Development; Strategic Planning and Organizational development. Previously she served on the Narragansett Tribal Council and Tribal Tribunal. She hold a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Rhode Island and a Master's Degree from the University of New England.

These four members replace outgoing members Jean Rondeau, Francis Parra, James Riley, and Deming Sherman, Esq.

"I would like to thank Jean, Francis, Jim and Deming for their service to the state of Rhode Island and to promoting the mission of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts," Raimondo said. "I appreciate their dedication to public service."