R.I. Council for the Humanities announces 2019 award recipients

PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities will honor the White family, Silaphone Nhongvongsouthy, Edible Schoolyard at Green Animals Topiary Garden, and Joe Wilson Jr. at the 2019 Celebration of the Humanities in October.

The White family, including John Hazen White Jr., Liz White, and their sons, John III and Ben, will receive the Honorary Chairs’ Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Humanities.

Silaphone Nhongvongsouthy, an intercultural program developer and leader of the Laotian Community Center, will be awarded the Tom Roberts Prize for Creative Achievement in the Humanities.

The Innovation in the Humanities Award will be presented to the Edible Schoolyard at Green Animals Topiary Garden, a historic house and landscape in Portsmouth, managed by the Preservation Society of Newport County.

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Joe Wilson Jr., an educator, advocate and actor, will receive the Public Humanities Scholar Award for integrating scholarship, education and advocacy with his acting practice, highlighting the importance of civic life and amplifying the voices and stories of underrepresented communities in the public sphere, according to the Council for the Humanities..

“These inspired leaders exemplify this year’s Celebration theme of IMAGINE at a time when our society is yearning for positive pathways to the future,” said Elizabeth Francis, council executive director. “Their philanthropic legacy, recognition of the value of cultural heritage, imaginative uses of historic spaces, collaborative spirit and engaged scholarship showcase how the humanities can be used to imagine new paths.”

The awards ceremony will take place on Oct. 17 at the Renaissance Providence Hotel.

As an independent, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the council has provided more than $8 million in grants to support more than 650 organizations throughout the state of Rhode Island, as well as independent researchers and filmmakers since its founding in 1973.