Rhode Island
Profile Type: Cultural Nonprofit
NEFA Grant Recipient
Cultural Nonprofit

FirstWorks, a nonprofit arts organization based in Providence, Rhode Island, builds the cultural, educational, and economic vitality of our community by engaging audiences through world-class performing arts and education programs. 

Launched in 2004 as a turnaround of First Night Providence, FirstWorks’ programming provides “firsts” to the community—artists’ first appearances in Rhode Island, children’s first experiences in arts learning, first theatre experiences for under-resourced audiences and new work presented for the first time.

Engaging Rhode Islanders with some of the most significant creative forces of our time, FirstWorks places public performances at the center of weeks and months of interaction with artists such as Paul Taylor Dance Company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Rosanne Cash, Phillip Glass, Yo-Yo Ma and Wynton Marsalis’ Jazz at Lincoln Center.

FirstWorks Arts Learning Program reaches students from over 40 public, private and charter schools across Rhode Island with transformative arts-based learning experiences. Arts Learning matinees in professional performance venues; artist-led, in-school workshops and curricula-guides aligned to core standards ensure access for full classes and schools of children, rather than just those who opt-in to afterschool programs. 

"I had the privilege of working with inspirational artists from around the world. They each brought forth the same message that by making art - whether it be with music, dance, theatre - you create happiness that can be shared. I am grateful to FirstWorks for the opportunities." - Alex Santiago, four-year student participant in the FirstWorks Arts Learning program




Additional Links: 
FirstWorks (www.first-works.org) connects art with audiences year-round through arts presentation, arts learning and arts creation. We seek out, cultivate, and present a range of world-class regional, national, and international arts programming.
FirstWorks YouTube Channel: Subscribe for Updates and Featured Videos

I Have Worked With

  • February 2020

    FirstWorks has worked with DBR since 2008 and is celebrating our more than a decade-long history by featuring Daniel as FirstWorks' inaugural Artistic Ambassador. Over the 2019-20 season, DBR will be embedded in the Rhode Island community for performances, collaborations with local artists and educational opportunities for K-12 students statewide. 

  • September 2019

    FirstWorks co-presented a four-day residency featuring artist Taylor Mac, with the Brown Arts Initiative at Brown University, from September 12-15, 2019. The residency featured an evening performance of A 24-Decade History of Popular Music [Abridged], Mac’s award-winning and Pulitzer prize nominated musical odyssey; a keynote talk by Mac and talk by Mac’s long-time collaborator, costume designer Machine Dazzle, and a “Morning After” panel and brunch featuring Taylor Mac with scholars Kareem Khubchandani, Sean Edgecomb and David Román.

  • April 2019

    Presented in celebration of FirstWorks 15th Anniversary Season at the Providence Performing Arts Center, Complexions performed From Bach to Bowie.


  • NEFA Grantee
  • Cultural Nonprofit

Contact Information

First Name: 
Job Title/Position: 
Executive Artistic Director
Physical Address: 
275 Westminster Street Suite 501
Providence, RI 02903
Last Name: 


Profile Type: 
Cultural Nonprofit
Primary Discipline: 
Additional Disciplines: 
Dance - General
Dance - Ballet
Dance - Ethnic
Dance - Jazz
Dance - Modern / Contemporary
Dance - Traditional
Humanities - General
Literary Arts - Spoken Word
Media - Film
Music - General
Music - Chamber
Music - Children's
Music - Choral
Music - Ethnic / World
Music - Jazz
Music - Opera
Music - Orchestral
Music - Pop / Rock
Music - R&B / Soul
Music - Rap / Hip-Hop
Music - Solo / Recital
Music - Traditional
Theater - General
Theater - Children's
Theater - Mime
Theater - Musical
Theater - Puppet
Theater - Storytelling
Year Founded: 
Populations Served: 
General Public
Immigrant Populations
People with Disabilities
School Groups
Institution/Business Type: 
Arts Service Organizations
Activities and Services: 
Arts for Social Change / Creative Activism
Creation of a Work of Art (Including Commissions)
Performance / Concert / Reading
Residency - Community
Residency - In School
Workshops / Demonstrations / Master Class
Events Per Year: 
Seasons Active: 
Geographic Reach: 
Town / City
Multi-County Region

Affiliations and Accomplishments

Professional Associations: 
Americans for the Arts, Association of Performing Arts Presenters
New England Presenters Association
Member of APNNE or NEP presenters consortium
Recipient - 2017 Art Works - National Endowment for the Arts
Recipient - 2018 Art Works - National Endowment for the Arts
Recipient - 2019 Art Works - National Endowment for the Arts
Recipient - 2020 Art Works - National Endowment for the Arts
I am a NEFA Grant Recipient

Accessibility of Services

Access accommodations for people who use a wheelchair and have limited mobility
Access accommodations for people who are blind, partially sighted, and have low vision
Access accommodations for people who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing