state arts action network
Lisa Carnevale has more than 11 years of experience in public relations, advocacy, and nonprofit organizational development. She is currently the executive director of Rhode Island Citizens for the Arts, a statewide advocacy organization for the creative sector.
In her advocacy role as executive director of Rhode Island Citizens for the Arts (RI CFA), she has successfully protected and increased funding for the arts through the state agency, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA); protected current arts-related legislation, including the 1% for the Arts public art program and artist tax districts; and represented the arts community at the State House, building relationships and working with lawmakers towards positive results.
Carnevale began her career working in public relations in Seattle, focusing on high tech and internet start up clients during the dot com boom of the late 90s. She relocated to Rhode Island in 2001 and founded an independent consultancy in public relations and arts advocacy, and has represented clients ranging from international manufacturing to arts galleries. In 2004, she co-founded the Partnership for Creative Industrial Space (PCIS), an organization working to strengthen the small business creative and industrial communities in Providence through access to commercial space and fair and equitable policy.
Since taking the position full time at RI CFA in 2009, Carnevale has rebranded the organization and raised the profile of the group legislatively and in the greater constituent base. Through this, the organization has seen membership grow by 200%. In February of 2010, the Governor proposed to cut all arts programs and reduce the state arts grant funds through RI State Council for the Arts by 58%. After four months of advocacy under Carnevale’s leadership, the funds and programs have been fully reinstated in the recently passed FY11 budget.
Through her advocacy work, Carnevale successfully lobbied the passage of the West Side Arts District legislation in 2005 that created a tax incentive zone for artists and creative businesses on the West Side of Providence; the passage of one time increased funding for RISCA in 2007 through a special scratch ticket for the arts, raising an addition $95K for the arts; the passage of a Providence city ordinance in 2008, creating a Mandatory Relocation stipend and 90-day notice to commercial tenants for change in use redevelopments, tackling the displacement issue; and consistently protected, advocated for and raised the profile of arts and creative business related legislative activity.
Carnevale has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations from Rhode Island College (1996). She sits on the board at The Steel Yard, a Providence-based non-profit that fosters workforce development and creative business growth through the industrial arts. She continues to be a partner at PCIS as they move to introduce new projects that provide access to affordable commercial space for creative businesses in Providence.