Island Moving Company announces that community philanthropist and lifelong arts supporter Ellen Barnes will be honored with the first annual IMC Encore Award on Sunday April 8 in Newport. The award is being presented as a symbol of Island Moving Company’s grateful recognition of Ellen’s exceptional commitment to dance and the arts.

“Ellen has been instrumental in the success of the ballet over the years. She brings a sophisticated artistic perspective and irreplaceable experience and energy to any organization she supports,” said artistic director Miki Ohlsen. Ellen currently serves as an officer on the Board of Directors of the Providence Performing Arts Center, and served multiple terms on the board of the Island Moving Company, including as Chair. Ellen was a founding board member of Waterfire Providence, president of the Emerson College Alumni Club, president of The Players at Barker Playhouse, vice president of Looking Glass Theatre, and has served as board member of Opera Providence, the Gamm Theatre, the Women’s Resource Center, the Mental Health Association of Rhode Island, and Rhode Island State Ballet. Ellen has hosted numerous private and public soirees and galas to the benefit of causes that she supports, including co-chairing the American Cancer Society Ball with Mary Lou Riker.

The IMC Encore Award ceremony will feature opening remarks by Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Director Randy Rosenbaum, and Newport’s Mayor Harry Winthrop will deliver a proclamation recognizing Island Moving Company Day. The first annual IMC Encore Award will be presented to Ellen Barnes by IMC artistic director Miki Ohlsen. The event will conclude with a special announcement by IMC executive director Edward McPherson.

“The arts rely on people with vision. Ellen Barnes has dedicated her life to building a community that is stronger because of the arts. She makes art, she supports art, and she shares art. Ellen is known as a dear friend to many, and is an example to all,” said Edward McPherson, executive director of Island Moving Company. The 2018 IMC Encore Awards are chaired by Monique Burgess, Pamela Chapman, George Furbish, John La Rocca, Bill Martin, and Martha Parker.

The event is being presented free of charge at The Old Colony House on Washington Square in Newport from 4:45 to 5:30 on Sunday April 8. The public is encouraged to attend to show their support of the arts. Immediately following the award ceremony, the event will move to Stoneacre Brasserie for Island Moving Company’s annual Paris Raffle drawing at 5:30pm.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Miki Ohlsen for 36 years, Island Moving Company has produced and presented dances by a diverse group of choreographers, working with musicians, poets, and visual artists. IMC is known for its creative use of unusual venues, creating site specific work at Rosecliff Mansion, Belcourt Castle, the Tall Ship Oliver Hazard Perry, the Great Friends Meeting Hall, Fort Adams, and other notable sites across Newport County.

IMC also works extensively in area schools interacting with students K-12 in curriculum based movement residencies throughout R.I. and Massachusetts impacting over 5,000 children annually. Additionally, IMC operates the Newport Academy of Ballet which provides students from Rhode Island with pre-professional afterschool dance training.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

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In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
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