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 2017

    The company came to Providence as part of FirstWorks’ Artistic Icons Series, performing a suite of eight works collectively entitled Nuttin’ But A Word at The Veterans Memorial Auditorium and participating, in collaboration with Brown University, at the Rhythm of Change Festival, an annual festival that celebrates African diasporic dance.

  • April 2016

    In addition to performing her latest album, The River & The Thread legendary singer and songwriter Rosanne Cash will participate in a Creative Conversation, sharing her cultural legacy and what led to her kaleidoscopic examination of the geographic, emotional, musical, and historic landscape of the American South with FirstWorks Arts Learning students from across Rhode Island (April 11, 2016).

  • February 2016

    FirstWorks and partners presented a multi-month project to bring together a new audience and engage them with dance through portals of jazz, social dance, humanities, community dialogue and social activism. Three residencies with the Urban Bush Women were capped by the New England premiere of Walking with ‘Trane, inspired by the life of John Coltrane and his seminal jazz suite A Love Supreme. The residencies included a series of master classes, lecture demonstrations, performances, and seminars by FirstWorks, American Dance Legacy Initiative, and Rites and Reason Theatre in collaboration with Artists and Scientists as Partners, Rhythm of Change Festival, Brown University, and Urban Bush Women. RISD, Providence College, and a host of community partners also participated.


  • 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