check presentation of the funds in the State Room of the RI Capital with (from left to right) Dr. Robert Naparstek; Jay Sweet, Executive Producer of Newport Folk & Newport Jazz Festivals; Neil Steinberg, President & CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation; Lisa Bisaccia, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer of CVS; Michael McDonald, United Theatre board member; Governor Gina Raimondo; Dan King, United Theatre board member; Randy Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts; Dan Riordan, Gnarly Bay Productions; Vince Burks, Communications Director at Amica Insurance; Lisa Utman Randall, Executive Director of The United Theatre; David Beauchesne, Executive Director of the RI Philharmonic and Music School; and Tony Nunes, Artistic Director of The United Theatre.

On Thursday afternoon, staff and board members from Westerly’s The United Theatre joined Governor Gina Raimondo, representatives from the Newport Festivals Foundation, the Rhode Island Philharmonic, the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, and sponsors to present $80,000 in COVID-19 artist relief funds raised as part of last month’s UNITED FOR GRADS program. United for Grads is a virtual concert produced by The United Theatre in partnership with Governor Raimondo to celebrate Rhode Island’s Class of 2020.

As part of its commitment to the arts and arts education in our region, The United Theatre produced the United for Grads program with generous support from Amica, Bank of America, Lisa Bisaccia and Robert Naparstek, Citizens Bank, CVS Health, and the Rhode Island Foundation. One hundred percent of funds raised will directly benefit artists financially affected by COVID-19. Funds have been evenly distributed between the Newport Festivals Musicians Relief Fund; the Rhode Island Philharmonic Musician Relief Fund; and the Rhode Island Artist Relief Fund.

“Rhode Island’s vibrant arts community has been hit especially hard by this pandemic,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “I’m incredibly grateful to The United Theatre and the many generous sponsors of UNITED FOR GRADS who are providing critical relief to Rhode Island artists during this difficult time.”

“It is always wonderful to be able to give back to the artists in our community who continually inspire, entertain, and uplift us with their work, but it is especially important now when galleries, museums, and other venues are closed and concert tours have been canceled,” said Lisa Utman Randall, Executive Director of The United Theatre. “We are honored to have played our part in raising funds to support artists during this especially difficult time, and we’re extremely grateful for the tremendous generosity of the United for Grads sponsors. Working with Governor Raimondo and her incredible staff to celebrate our amazing 2020 RI Grads and provide much needed relief to artists in need has been an honor for all of us at The United.”

UNITED FOR GRADS aired on RI PBS and across The United’s social media platforms on June 15th and is now viewable online. The program includes musical performances from Grammy-nominated musician Jon Batiste, bandleader of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert; Boston folk, rock, and soul band The Ballroom Thieves; Lake Street Dive singer Rachael Price with singer/songwriter Taylor Ashton; multi-platinum hitmakers Walk the Moon; and Rhode Island’s own rock legends – Deer Tick. Shout-outs from celebrities include Stephen ColbertKeri RussellMatthew RhysShepard FaireyRichard Jenkins; and others.

Source: The United Theatre