By Rhode Island State Council on the Arts

Governor McKee announced that the Rhode Island Senate has confirmed the following appointments to the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Board: Suzanne Augenstein, Providence, Marisa Brown, Providence, David Kim, Providence, Bethany Lardaro, Hopkinton, and Silvermoon LaRose, Charlestown. Loren Spears, Jason Pamental, Katherine Quinn and Libby Slader, who served as Chair of the Council, have stepped down from their role on the Council after serving multiple terms.

“On behalf of Rhode Island, I thank Loren, Jason, Katherine and Libby for their tenure on the Council and longtime commitment to this important economic sector for Rhode Island. I welcome Suzanne, Marisa, David, Bethany and Slivermoon. I am looking forward to their service to the people of our state,” Governor McKee said. “The commitment of these individuals on our volunteer Arts Council is an important role for the arts and culture sector, which adds not only to the state’s economy but to the health of Rhode Island.”

“On behalf of RISCA, I am pleased to welcome Suzanne, Marisa, David, Bethany and Silvermoon to our board. Their leadership and experience will provide our agency with fresh perspectives on how we approach our work,” said RISCA’s Executive Director, Lynne McCormack.  “And will assist us in advancing the R.I. arts and cultural sector, that represents almost 4 percent of the state’s economy.  Additionally, these new members have incredible track records in the education, public art, community development and financial sectors.”

Kate Blacklock, RISCA Chair, said: “The Council is grateful to the Governor for these nominations and to the R.I. Senate for confirming them. I want to reiterate my thanks to Loren, Jason, Katherine and Libby for their service to the state’s Arts Council and welcome our new Council members. These individuals bring expertise and resources integral to the Council continuing to work to its mission that arts and culture play a role in the well-being of Rhode Islanders.”

About the new Council members:

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Suzanne Augenstein, Providence, has worked in federal and state government, for a Fortune 500 company and previously served on the Council in the early 2000s. She recently retired from the Office of the Governor where she worked as the Director of Executive Operations. She is currently a contractor for the Rhode Island Department of Housing under Secretary Stefan Pryor. Her other previous roles included service with R.I. Secretary of Commerce, R.I. Supreme Court and U.S. Congressman James Langevin. She holds an undergraduate degree in Arts Management and a graduate degree in Public Administration. Augenstein’s community service includes Tockwotton on the Waterfront, R.I. Supreme Court Disciplinary Board, Chief Justice Appointment, Providence Performing Arts Center – Scholarship Committee, Arts and Business Council of R.I. (Formerly Business Volunteers for the Arts, R.I.) and Rhode Island College Alumni Association, Board Member.

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Marisa Angell Brown is the Associate Director of the Center for Complexity at Rhode Island School of Design. She is a historian, educator and curator whose work focuses on the intersections between art, design, community and justice, with a special interest in preservation, public memory, public art and spatial practice. Her writing has appeared in the Journal of Architectural Education, Places Journal, Perspecta, Manual, Buildings and Landscapes, and the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, and her curatorial projects have been featured in Metropolis, Architectural Record, the Associated Press, the Providence Journal and the Public’s Radio. Brown teaches college-credit courses at the women’s prison in Rhode Island with College Unbound and teaches a graduate seminar at Rhode Island School of Design titled Art and Design as Community Practice.  Before joining the Center for Complexity, she was an Assistant Director at the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage at Brown University, where she taught graduate seminars in preservation and the public humanities and directed community partnerships, public programs and research initiatives on placekeeping, public art, museum practice, and public history.  Brown received her Ph.D. in the History of Art and Architecture from Yale University and has a Master of Arts from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor’s from Princeton University.  She serves on the Executive Committee of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies and on the board of the Rhode Island State House Restoration Society.  She is Korean American and grew up in Dubai and New York City.  She lives in Fox Point, Providence with her spouse, two teen-aged children and their beloved family dog, Molly.

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David Kim is an artist, scientist and educator with a deep commitment to making the arts more inclusive and accessible to local communities. His creative practice centers on cultivating digital, biological and social systems for catharsis and community empowerment and has been featured in Wired, Smithsonian, The Providence Journal, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, Art in America and the 2013 Venice Biennale. Kim currently serves on the boards of Providence-based nonprofit arts organizations Queer.Archive.Work [] and The Steel Yard. Formerly a cancer and genetics research biochemist, Kim returned to school for Interdisciplinary Computing in the Arts at University of California, San Diego, and the Digital+Media MFA program at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). In 2014, he launched RISD’s Co-Works Research Lab where he continues to serve as director and supports experimentation with emerging technologies. Kim is RISD Sculpture faculty and has also taught at institutions including Brown University, Brandeis University and the School of Visual Arts NYC.

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Bethany Lardaro lives in Hopkinton and holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Communications from Rhode Island College. She has worked in banking since 2004 and started with her current employer, Washington Trust, in 2009. Participating and giving back to the community has been a lifelong value held by Lardaro.  Joining Washington Trust, known for its culture of service; both to customers and to the communities it serve, is a decision that she is proud of.  Lardaro started her career as a branch manager and now works as a Private Client Advisor specializing in wealth planning.  Through her tenure, she has participated in programs to promote financial literacy such as understanding credit, retirement planning seminars and succession planning for business owners.  She has worked with people at all phases of their financial journey. Lardaro was drawn to the RISCA council because she has deep respect and admiration for those who create. She believes that art feeds the soul and enhances our lives in every way.  Community service has been a part of her life for as long as she can remember. Lardaro earned her Gold Award through Girl Scouts, which is the equivalent to the Eagle Scout. She is a lifetime member of Girl Scouts and most recently worked on the Camp Hoffman Centennial Committee. She has served as a mentor for an elementary aged child for three years through an organization called South Kingstown CARES and served on its board.  She also served on the board of directors for the Narragansett Chamber of Commerce for 13 years. She has been the co-chair of the Rhode Island Calamari Festival since its inception in 2014. 

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Silvermoon Mars LaRose, a member of the Narragansett Tribe, is the Assistant Director of the Tomaquag Museum. She assists the Executive Director with managing the museum’s collections and archives, cultural education and the Indigenous Empowerment projects. Silvermoon has worked in tribal communities for over 20 years, serving in the areas of health and human services and education. Throughout her career, she has had the opportunity to travel extensively, learning from Indigenous communities throughout the United States. Silvermoon is also a member of the Rhode Island Foundation’s inaugural cohort of the Equity Leadership Initiative. As a public servant, Silvermoon serves as the Secretary for the Charlestown Conservation Commission. As an artist and educator, she hopes to foster Indigenous empowerment through education, community building, and the sharing of cultural knowledge and traditional arts. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, a minor in Justice Law and Society from the University of Rhode Island, and a partially completed Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling from Western Washington University.

Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) is a state agency supported by appropriations from the Rhode Island General Assembly and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. RISCA provides grants, technical assistance and staff support to arts organizations and artists, schools, community centers, social service organizations and local governments to bring the arts into the lives of Rhode Islanders. Visit for more information about RISCA,  and to read more about the Council.

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