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2013 Sandra Olson Award Winners

Holly Ewald, board member and former artist-in-residence
Holly has worked tirelessly with New Urban Arts’ students, staff and board since 2002, first as an artist-in-residence and currently as a board member. As artist-in-residence, she initiated our annual mail art exchange. Holly is a studio and community artist who works in a variety of media, including artist books, collage, monoprints, mail art and installation. Originally from Michigan, she lived in Brooklyn for 15 years before moving to Pawtuxet Village so her twin boys could dig in the dirt. She is founder of the Urban Pond Procession, which celebrates and promotes stewardship of Providence ponds. Holly has also worked with folklorist Michael Bell to develop Voices and Visions, a hands-on community arts and humanities projects that creatively document the history, folk life, and oral traditions of Pawtuxet Village.

The Risica Family, founders of the Jeanne Risica Fund for Art Education
The Risicas founded the Jeanne Risica Fund for Art Education, which exclusively benefits New Urban Arts, in memory of Jeanne Risica, who died in December 2010, shortly after her first solo show in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. The Risica family generously seeded this fund, and pledged that all proceeds from future sales of her paintings would benefit New Urban Arts. Her brother, John Risica, notes, “To Jeanne, art was a driving force and a reason to be. She sacrificed material comfort in the pursuit of her work.” Jeanne was one of the original artists in residence at AS220 in Providence, and worked for the Art Students League of New York. A 1983 graduate of Marlboro College, she studied classical portraiture with painter Frank Stout and studied abroad in Italy, where she began exhibiting paintings of landscapes, figures and portraits as well as more abstract work. For many years, Jeanne collaborated with poet Ron Ottaviano, and by 1995 was represented at the Dillon Gallery in SoHo. Her paintings have been shown in Korea, Venezuela, Italy, Belgium, and New York. She was a recipient of several grants from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, including a travel grant that brought her to Savannah, Georgia, where she created a mural at the Savannah College of Art and Design. She also created a mural for Riverside Mills in Providence. To view paintings available for sale, please visit or contact

Daniel Schleifer, development director and founder, Studio Study Buddy Program
Dan first came to New Urban Arts in 2007 to pilot our Studio Study Buddy tutoring program and now serves as our Development Director, a role in which he helped successfully shepherd New Urban Arts’ capital campaign and has grown the annual campaign fund to record levels. Dan received his BA in Ethnic Studies from Brown University in 2004 and is a founding member, Sousaphonist, and composer in the What Cheer? Brigade, an 18-member brass band that tours internationally while remaining a local institution. In 2011, he received the prestigious MacColl Johnson fellowship in music composition from the Rhode Island Foundation. In 2006, he served as field director of the Rhode Island Right to Vote Campaign, a successful effort to amend the Rhode Island Constitution by referendum to extend voting rights to individuals on probation and parole.

Caitlin Cali, alumni artist mentor and volunteer
Caitlin served as an artist-mentor from 2008-2012, and went above and beyond to support students, particularly as a mentor to the Studio Team Advisory Board. She has chaperoned trips, installed art shows and been an indispensable source of support to our program staff. She received her BFA in Printmaking from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and completed a year of graduate courses in Art Education at the University of Massachusetts. She has taught or worked at the Providence Comics Consortium, the Avatar Central Day Program, Nantucket Island School of Design and Art, Pyramid Atlantic, Zea Mays, and the Edward Gorey House Museum. Currently, she serves as the visuals director at AS220 Youth Studios.

Adrienne Adeyemi, artist mentor and alumni student
Adrienne first came to New Urban Arts as a student in 2002. Since then, she has been a committed volunteer and now serves as a photography artist mentor. She has also served as an intern and interim operations manager. She received her BA in Film Studies and Photography in 2010 and her MPA in 2011, both from Clark University in Worcester, MA. While at Clark she was awarded the Steinbrecher Fellowship, a research grant that sent her to Nigeria for the first time to visit her family and photograph her travels through the country, culminating with an exhibition and publication. Adrienne worked at the Rhode Island School of Design last year as an Americorps Vista supporting the Public Engagement Network. She currently serves as the Business Manager at the Manton Avenue Project.