It may be a surprise to some that the greater Providence, RI area has a huge talent pool in the arts. But Providence is near both New York City and Boston, MA. Mix that with New England's natural proclivity to produce talented, hard-working people from its wealth of first-rate schools and the reality comes into focus.
Rhode Island has been extremely hard hit with the financial crisis of the economy and other disasters. Flooding forced hundreds out of their homes and permanently shut down many small businesses. Even larger businesses are starting to reopen four months later.
What do people historically turn to in bad times? Entertainment – the arts. What helps students improve their studies more than anything else? The arts. And so the groundwork is set and the players are eager. The infrastructure and trained personnel pool has been growing. Local businesses know what is needed.
Steven Feinberg, Executive Director of the State of Rhode Island Film and TV office announced that the new ABC television series, "Body of Proof" is filming twelve episodes here in the greater Providence, RI area from July through December, 2010. Those episodes will start airing this fall. Previously, the state hosted the production of the Showtime Series "Brotherhood" until 2008. A number of feature films have been shot in Rhode Island as well.
"Body of Proof", a medical crime drama, stars Dana Delaney, of "Desperate Housewives", who plays a neurosurgeon who has become a medical examiner named Megan Hunt. Jeri Ryan, perhaps best known as "Seven of Nine" from "the Star Trek: Voyager" series, plays Delaney's boss. Other cast members include John Carroll Lynch, Windell Middlebrooks, Nic Bishop. Sonja Sohn and Geoffrey Arend.
The production, which has set up both a sound stage and production office in RI, is a boon to local small business such as catering, trash removal and equipment rentals. The series will also provide about 200 full-time positions and will need thousands of acting extras. For more information about the show go to www.abc.go.com.
A surprise reopening of an old favorite watering hole, "The Met Cafe", will provide not only service jobs, but a welcome venue for musicians. Although it opens officially in September (in a new location at the Hope Artiste Village), "The Met Cafe" has already announced a full slate of acts. The Ryan Montbleau Band will play September 10 – Opening Night. For a look at the full slate or for tickets go to www.lupos.com. Club owner Rich Lupo and talent booker Jack Reich have worked together to reopen the venue.
To prepare the next generation of performers, The Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts (or TAPA) will be opening as a new Charter School this fall (2010). It will be located in the Annex of the Trinity United Methodist Church on Broad Street in Providence, RI. It will start with about thirty-four 7th Graders and eventually expand to include grades 7 through 12.
Principal Steve Olsen is himself not only an educator but an artist, and is thrilled to take the post. Previously he was Principal of the Fogarty Elementary School in Providence. The right set of needs and supports came together to offer this special type of education to the youth of Providence. Students are chosen to attend by lottery. With the arts programs being axed from so many of the public schools, TAPA is a welcomed addition to the education scene.
Joyce Stevos, chair of the charter school's Board of Directors, with nearly forty years experience in education, assures that rigorous academic standards will be adhered to along with the focus on integrating the arts into the curricula. The school's mission is to immerse students in theater, dance, music, film and video by tapping the talents of local artists. The charter school will provide jobs for both teachers and artists.