In 2000, Nancy Gaucher-Thomas and Mark Simmons invited 42 known artists to become the founding members of Art League RI (ALRI). Ms. Gaucher-Thomas, President Emerita, served as president for the first six years and is one of Rhode Island’s preeminent artists, as well as an active art educator and art administrator. Based on a shared vision to encourage and foster artistic recognition and growth among Rhode Island artists, ALRI was formed to provide artists throughout the state with a platform and venues for exhibition. ALRI is now governed by a board of directors elected by the membership at the ALRI annual meeting.
The organization was incorporated with a goal to contribute, encourage and promote integrity and excellence in the arts in Rhode Island. The organization’s original mission stated that its purpose was to provide a venue for the growth and encouragement of artists, to promote high standards in the visual arts, to encourage community participation and appreciation of the greater Rhode Island arts community.
The membership is deeply committed to the value of visual art in contemporary life and embraces current approaches to curatorial programming, community-building, art education, and outreach to under-served communities. Among its founding and current members are some of Rhode Island’s most prominent artists whose work represents a wide range of media from painting to photography and ceramics to furniture making. The styles of work range from contemporary to traditional in subject and from emerging to nationally-recognized in experience. ALRI artists are represented in museums, galleries and collections across the country and abroad.
ALRI has reached a number of milestones in developing a statewide presence in the arts community of Rhode Island. A few notable highlights include:
- ALRI relocated business office and opened new gallery space in Hope Artiste Village, 1005 Main Street, Suite 8107, Pawtucket, RI – 2019
- Completion of third strategic plan in partnership with Roger Mandle, art historian, curator and academic administrator, best known as the former president of The Rhode Island School of Design – 2016
- Began ongoing collaboration with the Dept. of Neurosurgery at Rhode Island Hospital and the Alpert Medical School of Brown University to curate and produce an annual exhibition focused on the artistic interpretation of neurodegenerative disorders – 2016
- ALRI relocated business office to One Avenue of the Arts, Providence, RI – 2014
- Partnered with The VETS Foundation to bring a gallery and curated exhibits to the Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Providence, RI – 2014
- Iona Blake Dobbins Scholarship Fund for the Visual Arts was established at the Rhode Island Foundation (RIF) – 2013
- Malcolm Grear, Malcolm Grear Designers, created ALRI logo – 2011
- ALRI, fiscal agent for and joint sponsor of the RI Art Archive Project (RIAAP), produced and directed by Artist Member Holly Gaboriault – 2010
- ALRI partnered with Executive Service Corps in the development of its second strategic plan – 2006
- ALRI receives Rhode Island Foundation grant to establish and coordinate a rotating exhibit in The Rhode Island Foundation Gallery and throughout its building – 2000-2006
- Two-year community outreach Boot Project initiated by Artist Member Johanna McKenzie. Timberland Company provided the boots and art supplies. Fourteen ALRI artists engaged 80 Central Falls High School (CFHS-RI) students over the course of two years in creating marvelous designs on the boots. The project yielded $6000 for scholarships in support of under-served students – 2005
- ALRI partnered with Business Volunteers for the Arts® in its first strategic plan – 2003
- Collaborated with South County Hospital in Wakefield, on a project similar to Hall of Masters – 2003
- Three-year mural project with Hasbro Children’s Hospital Oncology Unit–Hall of Masters, Past and Present created by ten ALRI Artist Members – 2001
ALRI is an all-volunteer organization governed by a board of directors elected by the membership at the ALRI annual meeting. The business status is domestic nonprofit corporation registered in the state of RI ( 501(c)(3)).