Designing for Deep Space | News | About | RISD

RISD’s artists and designers are attempting to answer a question that’s had NASA engineers scratching their heads for decades: how do you make a glove tough enough to withstand the moon’s harsh atmosphere while allowing the hand to move freely? In the Wintersession course Designing Space Gloves for NASA – a studio offered by RISD’s Apparel and Industrial Design departments – students are pairing up to create functional prototypes that can weather the unearthly elements of deep space.

Read more…

The Vagina Monologues 2013 at HERE Arts Center

One Billion RisingThe Vagina Monologues 2013 at HERE

“The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.” -Sarah Ban Breathnach

This February marks the 15th anniversary of V-Day, the global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. On February 18th and 19th, 2013, at 7pm, a V-Day benefit production of Eve Ensler’s award winning play The Vagina Monologues will be directed by Andrea Bertola at HERE in New York City, where The Vagina Monologues was first produced in 1996.

This V-Day production at HERE will benefit viBe Theater Experience, a non-profit performing arts/ education organization that produces original, free theater, music and videos about real-life issues written and performed by under-served teen girls. Each year community members and artists such as Andrea Bertola, join the V-Day Campaign to produce annual benefit performances of “The Vagina Monologues” and other artistic works by Eve Ensler to raise awareness and funds for anti-violence groups within their own communities.

This production joins activists around the world for ONE BILLION RISING, the largest call of action in the history of V-Day. ONE BILLION RISING began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS. This coming February, V-Day’s 15th anniversary, we will join activists, writers, thinkers, celebrities, and women and men across the world as we express their outrage, demand change, strike, dance, and RISE in defiance of the injustices women suffer, demanding an end at last to violence against women.

“When we started V-Day 14 years ago, we had the outrageous idea that we could end violence against women,” said Ensler. “Now, we are both stunned and thrilled to see that this global action is truly escalating and gaining force, with union workers, parliament members, celebrities, and women of all backgrounds coming forward to join the campaign. When we come together to demand an end to violence against women and girls it will be a truly global voice that will rise up.”

Why Donate?

We are inspired daily by viBe girls’ brave voices. We look forward to engaging generations of girls in healthy, self-esteem building activities that encourage them to prepare for the future by engaging in academics and providing them with creative outlets for addressing the issues that impact them most. With your support, we hope to increase our capacity for freeing, shaping and celebrating their voices. By becoming involved with viBe and V-DAY, you become part of a rich and viBrant tapestry that we hope will continue to grow for years to come.

Your donation will directly impact the continued existence of viBe programs, performances, publications, recordings and workshops.

Your donation of:

$4 puts a binder, pen and blank paper in the hands of a viBe Girl—her palette to share her words with the world.

$14 covers an hour of rehearsal where viBe Girls shape their performances while building self respect and confidence.

$44 gives a viBe Girl a field-trip ticket where she can learn about theater by seeing a professional production.

$74 provides a transportation scholarship for viBe Girls who need extra funding to come to their viBe rehearsals and performances.

$104 buys costumes and props for one viBe Girl performing her one-girl-show.

$244 puts 100 “Girls Life Adventure” books in the hands of girls across NYC where they can learn information about important girl issues including sexuality health and justice through shared writing and experiences of other teenage girls.

$400 rents a theater space for an afternoon remount of a viBe Production where a new audience of teenagers can hear the voices of their peers and re-imagine their potential!

$1,400 funds production of 500 viBe CDs where viBe Girls write and compose their own unique melodies that TimeOut New York describes as “sending small waves of uncommon jubilation through the seen-it-all local set!”

The Vagina Monologues at HERE

2/18/13 and 2/19/13 at 7pm.

2/19 at 9:30pm.

HERE is located at 145 6th Ave. (Enter on Dominick, 1 Block South of Spring).

For Tickets & Information, visit or call 212-352-3101.

Pilot Episode: First Online With Fran with Angelina Fiordellisi

“I think that one of our greatest responsibilities as theater providers,” asserts Angelina Fiordellisi, “is to sensitize the tribe . . . deepening our primal connections, our primal needs, our primal impulses and what Shakespeare calls ‘holding the mirror up to society’.” This poignant insight is particularly significant since the tragic course of events this past week in Newtown, Connecticut.

On November 19th, 2012 First Online With Fran featured Artistic Director and founder of the Cherry Lane Theatre, Angelina Fiordellisi. Listen to her reflect on the work at the Cherry Lane Theatre, most notably the 2013 Mentor Project, among others, and how they contribute to cultivating an urban artist colony, honor its ground-breaking heritage, create theater that illuminates contemporary issues and transforms the human spirit.

First Online With Fran was shot and edited by The New York Film Shop, Andrea Bertola, Artistic Director.


Welcome to First Online With Fran!

This new website is a wonderful opportunity to bring serious issues directly from the trenches to the public’s attention.  As a dedicated arts advocate, K-12 English & Theater teacher, educational theater scholar/practitioner, and actor,  I am committed to raising awareness of how The Arts rejuvenate.  The Arts Restore.  The Arts are our supernatural gift.  It is the force that unites us as a single, breathing, living entity that connects every human being to be all that is good and pure.

Perceived as an amenity The Arts continue to be slashed from federal, state, and community budgets.  To offset this spiraling trend, I’ve created a blog/talk show First Online With Fran to give sustainable national attention to The Arts by inviting guests from all walks of life – ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things to make The Arts the fabric of our existence.  Through the facilitation of this site people can share their stories on how The Arts transformed their lives and why we have a responsibility to insure The Arts will continue to be a staple of our humanity.  Bring it on!!

New Engines of Growth

National Governors Association‘New Engines of Growth’ report cites Kentuckyarts and cultural initiatives

FRANKFORT, Ky. — With concerns over job creation and business growth holding a prominent position on policy agendas today, governors are increasingly finding innovative ways to support economic growth, according to the recently released report “New Engines of Growth: Five Roles for Arts, Culture, and Design.” Kentucky is cited on several occasions in the National Governors Association (NGA) report for arts marketing programs and the arts and cultural districts initiative developed by the Kentucky Arts Council. Read more…

The Arts continue to be cut from school curriculums across the nation.  Despite arts advocacy groups’ efforts to prevent the decline of arts inclusion, the budgetary solution remains to be that the arts are perceived as extra-curricular and disposable. Bill Ivey, director of the Curb Centerfor Art, Enterprise and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University said, “The arts are considered an amenity – nice to fund when you have a bit extra but hard to defend when the going gets tough.” (Robin Pogrebin, Arts Outposts Stung by Cuts in State Aid New York Times 1 August  2011: 3).  The National Endowment  has been disputing this perception by promoting the benefits of  investing in culture; for example, the $278 billion in economic activity that federal research showed was spun off by the arts in 2009. (Pogrebin, 3)

 Recently, scenarios about the USAdefaulting on its obligations if the debt ceiling was not raised caused crisis in our government; enough so, that the pressure to organize a compact was made.  Similarly, let’s consider WHAT IF… the arts were solely funded through private donations?  The impact may hardly be felt at places like the Metropolitan Opera, established regional theaters or other large organizations, but much of America’s artistic activity does not happen in major recital halls and theaters; it occurs in places like Lucas, Kansas (Pogrebin, 1).

The state of Kentuckyis to be congratulated for implementing the “New Normal.” The idea is simple — significantly leveraging arts resources to promote business and community. The arts and business connection is not a new one. What is new is states like Connecticut and Illinois’ perception about the arts, its role in branding the state, and the move to invest in this strategy in ways most are not used to. Arts leaders are grappling to adapt, especially at this high speed. It is not business as usual. With the strong emphasis on urban cities, smaller communities have questions about where do they fit in and will they be able to compete in this new environment.