The Street PHD Program, an afterschool hip hop arts program started in Spring 2018, has been awarded a Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) grant to continue in the Fall. Created by Gregory Waksmulski, a Friend of the Rochambeau Library, the Street PHD Program focuses on poetry, music, and performance, connecting professional artists from the area with high school aged public school students. The program meets at Vincent Brown Recreation Center in collaboration with Rochambeau library, the Providence Public School District, and Everett Company School & Stage.
The award brings the Rochambeau area neighborhoods of Hope, Mount Hope, Summit, and Blackstone a boost to afterschool arts education programming. Core teaching artists Isaiah Hector and Sean Hopkins will join Gregory to share their commitment and talents with more youth as the original pilot expands its scope. The RISCA grant is made possible through an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Friends of Rochambeau Library, along with Library Manager Judanne Hamidzada, are supportive of the collaborative project, which partners with several organizations in the area. The rec center, a City Parks Department mission, provides the instruction space, while Everett provides performance space for the program’s culminating event. Recruitment for the program is provided in the library and the local high school. The Friends of Rochambeau raises and donates $3,000 annually for programming to the library, which is spent on a variety of age groups at the discretion of the library manager with input from the Friends. Waksmulski has been a member of the Friends since 2014.
We wish Gregory and the teaching artists all the best as the program grows to support more children in their pursuit of spoken word poetry, music, and all of the hip hop arts. For more information, contact Gregory at .
Isaiah "Keez" Hector (teaching artist), Durin "Vitamin D" Stahl (student), Sean "Trip G" Hopkins (teaching artist)