Who We Are
The Cranston Arts Commission is a group of artistically driven Cranston, Rhode Island residents, appointed by the mayor. Our main focuses surround community engagement, education through the arts, and promoting artistic achievement in our neighborhoods.
Members of the CAC pose for a photo with Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and Artist Amy Bartlett Wright during a ribbon cutting ceremony for a CAC-funded community mural, completed summer 2019.
Danielle Izzi-St. Pierre, Chair
Leah Thovmasian Hill, Vice Chair
Shannon Casey, Secretary
Shannon Casey of Cranston, RI, is an avid ceramicist and fiber artist whose focus is on creating harmonious relationships between the seemingly incongruous mediums. After graduating with a BA in art education from Moravian College, Bethlehem, PA, Shannon began teaching at Artists' Exchange, a non-profit community arts collaborative. 12 years later, Shannon is now the director and oversees the many programs she helped implement. Most notably, and the program of which she is most proud, is the sustainable fiber program and collaboration with Revive the Roots, a non-profit organization with the focus on sustainability and permaculture. The fiber program at Artists' Exchange was created as a means to educate students on not just the fiber arts but animal husbandry and sustainable sourcing for art materials. As director, Shannon remains a teacher, sharing not only a love for her craft, but mentoring young educators to lead and inspire the next generation of artists.
Jay Bombardier Jr.
Len Cabral is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning storyteller and author who has been engaging and entertaining audiences with his storytelling performances at schools and festivals for over 40 years. He is the recipient of the National Storytelling Network 2001 Circle of Excellence Oracle Award and most recently the recipient of the 2016 Pell Award. He lives in Cranston, Rhode Island, with his wife Judy.
The artistic world of Nilton Cárdenas (Peru 1972) stands before us as an evolving process which is constantly achieved. His paintings, drawings and murals offer us a pictorial language polarized by the feelings, memories and nostalgia of an identity: The passion for his country and its original (aesthetic, folkloric, mythological ...) traditions typical of the Inca civilization. That ancestral history is reborn in his paintings under a sort of veiled Andean mysticism which coexists within his present world; his own world; the stage where he lives (the United States). From this symbiosis a constant self-questioning emerges and it is pictorially projected and extended with originality and strength. A work that from his creative crucible radiates intensity, color and life, and it is characterized by a style not subject to limits or fixations, but rather to a form of free expression and aesthetic –realistic, surreal, abstract, contemporary, etc. –plurality. An expression that, in this artist, investigates and risks in search for self-identity, for an original vision, for a feel of the dynamics that produces synergy in the rich universe of form and color: Inspiration and creativity, tradition and present; ´a whole´ that invites us to reflect through the spatial framework of his paintings.
Salvatore Mancini is a award winning, Rhode Island based photographer and filmmaker. He was born in Itri, Italy in 1947 and with his family immigrated to Cranston, Rhode Island in 1952. His photographic career of forty years has been highlighted by extensive photographic travels around the world and a profound interest in varied subject matters: social issues, ancient cultures, nature and architecture. Salvatore Mancini has received numerous artistic awards, fellowships and grants. Some of the projects he has successfully completed are “Rock Art of the American Southwest”, “The Industrial Revolution of the Blackstone River Valley”, “Narragansett Bay”, “The Deinstitutionalization of Rhode Island’s Institute of Mental Health and Retardation”, “The Forest of Southern New England” and “Rest in Peace”, youth killings in Rhode Island. He was the recipient Rhode Island’s Pell Award for Artistic Excellence in 1998 and the Bolaffi Prize in 1978, Italy’s highest national prize for photography. He received a photography fellowship from Rhode Island Council for the Arts and numerous grants from Rhode Island Council for the Humanities to support the realization of several projects throughout the years. His film “The Americanization of Itri” was broadcast on the PBS network in 1979. His recent film, “Divine Providence: The Rebirth of an American City” will be broadcasted on Rhode Island PBS this Fall.Salvatore’s photographs are represented in over twenty museums, university libraries and corporate collections around the United States and Europe. His works has been exhibited and published throughout America and Europe and China.
Nancy Vitulli is a high school theater teacher and director at Cranston High School West since 1995. A native of Cranston, Rhode Island, Nancy studied acting at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute and received her B.F.A. in Undergraduate Drama from New York University. With a Masters in Education from Adelphi University, Nancy implemented a dance program and directed plays at Grover Cleveland High School, Queens, NY. Returning to Cranston in 1990, she soon thereafter co-founded the Cranston Community Theater, a multi generational group, which brought live theater to our city for over ten years. Under Nancy’s direction at Cranston High School West, numerous productions have been selected to represent Rhode Island at New England Drama Festivals while earning students recognition for their outstanding work in acting and theatrical design. In 2019, Nancy was recognized by the Kennedy Center as one of ten recipients nationwide for a Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award.